By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
We as a rather insular species often forget that nature tends to get along well when left to its own devices, while a human construct such as bureaucracy tends to languish and fail when permitted equal liberty. I found credible proofs to both when traveling on business recently–a former Forest Service campground, abandoned apparently due to red tape and yet showing quite clearly that nature still moves on. And it does so vibrantly.
(Click each image to enlarge)
I’ve found over the years in me a rather curious interest in nature reclaiming roads. When we see the word “reclamation” we naturally assume a public works project that takes an otherwise unsuitable tract of land and purposes it for our usage. We “reclaim” what we really never had originally. For me this is a definition having its subject erroneously identified. It should instead be nature that reclaims from us.
There is a subtle irony in the above image. Two logs cleared from the roadway beneath the leaves yet overgrown and impassable ahead, this was a main through-fare when the campground operated. I suppose it keeps management happy that the road is open.
Nature’s true colors
So how does bureaucracy fit into these pictures? I telephoned the local ranger station and asked why the campground seemed to be indefinitely closed. A helpful employee explained that a few years ago, after a forest fire scorched through the area, much of the other side of the campground lost trees that later became too hazardous for campers. A decision was made to close the park. Unfortunately for the campers, the agency was only permitted to cut down two trees per year to abate the risk. Since there were a great number of trees so damaged, there are no plans to reopen the park in the foreseeable future. (seems rather convenient if you asked me)
And that folks is bureaucracy’s true colors.
Still, Nature doesn’t care. It just moves along as it always does.
By Darren Smith
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