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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Jessica Terrell
Wednesday, August 7
Silver City, NM


This day’s roundtable discussion not only opened my eyes to the conflicts that exist on public lands, but allowed me to get personal accounts and perspectives from individuals who are most intimately involved. The word of the day was passion, and it manifested itself in many ways, again and again throughout the morning.
Louis Perez gave the group some local history, during which I realized the importance of the Native Americans in the west. I am not the world’s biggest history fan, but Mr. Perez (an expert in the field) added a lot of color that I had not been given in my high school (Wilmington HS) or college (Hiram College) education in Ohio. I am excited about the prospect of Kay Gandy’s and Cathy Kiffe’s educational materials possibly reaching my alma mater at some point in the future.
Many of the guests mentioned Aldo Leopold. I must admit that I have not read his work, and I was impressed by the way that these people take it to heart and still use his writing as a model for land management. Recognizing Leopold’s knowledge was a recurring message that has peaked my curiosity in his work (I have heard that Sand County Almanac is a good place to start). The first designated wilderness in the U.S. was the Aldo Leopold Wilderness. This happened around 1964 with the enactment of the Wilderness Act, which made it possible for Congress to designate, on a state-by-state basis, these new areas.
I used to think of public lands as a collection of national parks and monuments where the general public went for strictly recreational purposes. Today I realized that not only are there dozens of ways to utilize these public treasures, but that each one had and still has a place in society today. It seems that as uses have both evolved and multiplied, conflicts have arisen. It seems that at times these very passionate individuals and groups think that their use is in some way better than other uses, or justified in some way. Grazing, mining, hunting and recreation appear to be the biggest user groups of public land, and even each of these has its own internal conflicts. I am most familiar with the recreation aspect of the land, as it relates to my jobs back in Missouri. I believe that there is enough public land (one third of the country) for our citizens and land management agencies to come to some sort of a compromise, even though I have been made aware of many of the obstacles that impede this. From our talk with historians, ranchers, off highway vehicle users, county officials, land management employees and many more, I see that some of the roadblocks/issues are funding, a balance between uses and the natural ecosystem, the lack of public input, and fees for land use.
I didn’t have the chance to talk to all of the individuals that attended the meeting, but since that day I have had the chance to talk to some of these public land users personally and get a feel for how they perceive this land that they use every day. I had previously thought that the people out west would fall into one of two categories, either they would take the land for granted or they would not be aware that it existed. Well, some do fit those categories, but so many other s are not that way. I talked to a rancher that described in detail to me the way he runs his ranch. I was surprised at the amount of time he took to care for the land, not only his livestock. He explained that they go hand in hand, because if the land cannot sustain the livestock, then the livestock do not survive. Make perfect sense, but I have also seen the opposite happen on a smaller scale in Missouri. If it didn’t happen, then why would the Missouri Department of Conservation even need a division for private land management? A hunter was able to offer me yet another perspective on the use of public land. This hunter was curious as to our journey and approached us at Snow Lake, a well-kept secret in New Mexico. He has had many conflicts with those who do not wish to have hunters near their property, even though it borders the public land and is completely legal. Growing up in a family where hunting was an annual food gathering time, and recently from a situation where I ate primarily venison (white-tailed deer meat) because it was a plentiful resource that I was fortunate to partake in, I can understand the plight of the hunters to a certain extent. It is always the bad apples of a group that give that group its reputation, and I have seen both extremes where I come from. At Los Burros campground (near Pinetop, AZ) on August 15, I encountered a local mountain biker named Dustin Graham, who frequently used the trails on public lands for recreational purposes. At the age of 16, he has grown up with this wonderful resource right in his backyard. I think back to my own personal experiences as a child, when I lived a stone’s throw away from a state park and thought I had seen and done it all as I explored the wooded area behind my house for the ten years I lived there. I am only now beginning to see what this country has in its own backyard and just how valuable it is. Just the other day in Flagstaff, I spoke with a couple members of the Grand Canyon Private Boaters’ Association, a group with over 600 members worldwide. Both Bob Harris and T.J. Hittle told me of their frustration with their limited use of the Colorado River (30%), as opposed to the 70% that the outfitters receive. I still would like to some research into this issue, but I was surprised at this seemingly unfair process. Of course, my naivety also extends to my ignorance of the fact that it may (and usually does) take over a decade to get onto the river if you do not use a commercial outfitter. I feel very privileged to have had these plans taken care of for me as I prepare to travel (in only a few days!!!!!) down the Colorado River to Unkar Rapids and then to Phantom Ranch (with an outfitter).
I look forward to absorbing additional personal accounts all along the trip. I never used to be a person who would take the initiative to ask a lot of questions, but I am definitely getting to be quite a “people person” now, and I love it! I am learning more about myself than anything else on this trip, and I am sure that it wouldn’t have happened if not for the experiences I am having on the land. Each time I feel weary, I take a deep breath and look around, and the beauty revitalizes my mind and spirit. When I get frustrated, I observe the battles that nature fights every day, be it wind, rain, or fire, and I am comforted. Never before have I been this in touch with myself and the land.


for Wednesday, August 7
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Jessica Terrell
LM-jessicahorse04-08.jpg

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List of All Journal Entries
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Friday, November 15
Jessica Terrell
National Trails Symposium
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Sunday, October 27
Jessica Terrell
Meeting Team North
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Saturday, October 26
Jessica Terrell
The Finals Days...
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Thursday, September 19
Jessica Terrell
An Eye-Opening Experience
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Wednesday, September 18
Jessica Terrell
Days and Days of ATV's
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Tuesday, September 17
Jessica Terrell
My "Favorite" Day
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Friday, September 6
Jessica Terrell
Tour of Glen Canyon Dam, Hatch River Expeditions, and Lee’s Ferry (Lonely Dell) and the Houseboat!!!
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Monday, September 2
Jessica Terrell
Grand Canyon, North Kaibab Trail
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Sunday, September 1
Jessica Terrell
Grand Canyon, Phantom Ranch
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Saturday, August 31
Jessica Terrell
Grand Canyon Day 2
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Friday, August 30
Jessica Terrell
South Rim, Grand Canyon
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Monday, August 26
Jessica Terrell
Grand Canyon Sunrise
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Sunday, August 11
Jessica Terrell
Snow Lake
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Wednesday, August 7
Jessica Terrell
Silver City, NM
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Saturday, August 3
Jessica Terrell
Location: Lake Valley, New Mexico
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Thursday, August 1
Jessica Terrell
   >> more...

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Wednesday, July 31
Jessica Terrell
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