Can America’s West stay wild?

Bunnies, cowboys, culture, economics, demographics, the West

Can America’s West stay wild? Christian Science Monitor

Between 1970 and 2000, nonlabor jobs fueled 86 percent of this growth. Mining, timber, and agriculture (including ranching) contributed only 1 percent. Now, 93 percent of jobs in the West have no direct link to public lands, says Rasker. But wilderness areas, in conjunction with infrastructure like airports, correlated closely with areas that saw the greatest growth.

related: The Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit Is Now Genetically Extinct


  1. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    Can Americas West stay wild? I say YES, Americas west – like Alaska, Russias East, Africas South and parts of South America, still has the chance to stay wild! Most of Europe and Asia are doomed, lost, it´s too late already. But the question is, will all the lobbyists from the almighty logging, hunting, drilling, ranching, outdoor industries allow the west to stay wild? Will the politicians with their very own portfolio of interest, will the ordinary people out there, allow the west to stay wild ? Will all those accept to retreat a little bit to give the wilderness a chance? I say a definite NO, they will not! Humans are simply too arrogant – humans have been told tol be creations crowning glory and to behave like that ! That´s the challenge, a truly wild west or wild wherever has to face. Not yet speaking about the “great unconcerned”, the overwhelming mass, reading about the vanishing poor ol´ pygmy rabbit in the morning news, or reading about the snow leopard becoming extinct, or the polar bears dying out, shrugging their shoulders and saying “What a pity but: So what?”. Once and long ago on this blog a commenter answered in one of the threads: “…….sorry, but the bears have lost out, that´s it!” A plain, simple, nevertheless totally thoughtless statement! The American West has currently still a chance to remain wild, but it´s too late all too soon!

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Looking at the empty desert “boom subdivisions,” I think the days of sprawl into the desert, mountains, etc. of the West have largely passed.

    Retirement to some remote location will not be economically feasible for nearly as many. New houses won’t have to built. They are already in place, but empty or emptying.

  3. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    When humans move out of an area, suddenly there is an opportunity for wildlife and wilderness – an opportunity not to be missed! Vast areas of Eastern Germany, the territory of the infamous former GDR is such an opportunity. Due to the bad economy there, the younger generaton people are moving west , even abroad, in significant numbers, leaving back many abandoned small villages in rural country. These areas could well be left unoccupied or even renaturated (thereby even creating work). Wolve and moose move in from Poland again anyway. Nature is already taking over again. However, voices in favour of renaturation are few and I´m afraid this will be just be another opportunity missed.

  4. kt Avatar

    Saving what is left of the West – and its magnificent wildlife – can only happen if livestock grazing on public lands (BLM and Forest Service) is ended. Grazing is killing the lifeblood of western landscapes: Springs, seeps and streams continue to diminish more and more each year as livestock damage to the the entire watershed continues.

    Plus, the flammable alien grasses (cheatgrass, medusahead, red brome) are rapidly spreading because of grazing depletion of native grasses and wildflowers. Living soil crusts (microbiotic crusts) are being destroyed by livestock trampling. Weeds will take over nearly the entire western landscape unless this madness of welfare grazing for fewer than 20,000 cattle and sheep men that have a chokehold on perpetuating public lands grazing ENDS.

    We don’t have any time to waste. The weeds are winning, and lands are not able to adequately be restored when grazing disturbance continues. The sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, elk, deer, nearly all wildlife will be gone. There won’t be any water left in many places, either.

  5. Barb Avatar

    It’s not only livestock; what about drilling too? Doesn’t that also upset the wildlife or can they live “around it?”

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Brian Ertz