The Wildlands Project debate in Arizona brings letters

I thought you'd enjoy reading this creative letter from Kim Vicariu [of the Wildlands Project].  The letter he responded to is printed below.  I expect I'll be left twisting in the wind now.  I'm the only rancher in Pima County who thinks it is worth their time to write letters to the editor, and as you can see I already had two printed.
--Cindy Coping

[Editor's Note: The Wildlands Project is making progress through every facet of government and land trust acquisition of private property buy-outs, conservation easements, road closures, and more.  See The Wildlands Project for more information and stories.]

Updated 8/25/02:

Kim Vacariu's letter of August 22 described--as "extreme misinformation", "inflammatory rhetoric", and "irresponsible"--my assertion that the Wildlands Project (WP) seeks to place 50% of US soil off limits to virtually all human use.   I merely paraphrased WP founder Reed Noss's comment on p.15, Wild Earth, 1992 special edition (75,000 copies), "The Wildlands Project". Noss, now chief peer reviewer for Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, stated,

"I suggest that at least half of the land area of the 48 conterminous states should be encompassed in core reserves... within the next few decades. Half of a region in wilderness is a reasonable guess of what it will take to restore viable populations ...assuming that most of the other 50 percent is managed intelligently as buffer zones".

An official WP website
(see defines wilderness as, "Extensive roadless areas—vast, self-regulated landscapes—free of mechanized human use and the sounds and constructions of modern civilization...". 

Since 1980, ninety percent of the US timber industry has fallen under the ax of environmental preservation, bankrupting entire counties.  According to The Center on Hunger and Poverty, the timber-rich states of Washington and Oregon now suffer the highest hunger rates in the US.

If Vacariu disagrees with Noss's goal, then he ought to brush up his own resume. Large masses of genuinely good people unwittingly support the insidious and nefarious elements of grandiose-scale environmental preservation because they do not comprehend it carries an enormous price, a price which will eventually come full circle.


Letters to the Editor - The following letter was in response to Cindy Coping's letter about the Wildlands Project.

Tucson Citizen
Aug. 17, 2002
Wildlands Project goals misstated

The letter from Cindy Coping ("Land preservation turns cancerous," Aug. 7) contained extreme misinformation about the Wildlands Project that needs to be corrected. Her comment that the stated goal of the Wildlands Project was to "place half of U.S. soil off-limits to all human uses" is completely false.

Currently, approximately 5 percent of the U.S. mainland is strictly protected for conservation under federal, state and other governmental programs. The Wildlands Project's privately proposed conservation plans would ideally increase protected lands, but under no conditions would that increase result in making any lands "off-limits to human use."

Any privately owned lands occurring within conservation plans suggested by the Wildlands Project would remain unaffected unless land owners voluntarily wish to participate through conservation easements, management changes or adoption of other conservation tools. For the writer to claim that conservation efforts in Arizona will result in "forced relocation of rural citizens by destruction of their rights and livelihoods" is irresponsible. 

Hopefully, the use of such inflammatory rhetoric will be viewed by readers for what it seems to be: an apparent indication of the lack of substantive arguments in opposition to wildlands conservation proposals.

For correct information about the Wildlands Project, please view the project's only official Web site at

- Kim Vacariu
Southwest representative
Wildlands Project

(Letter from Cindy Coping to which the Wildlands Project representative was responding:)

National Wilderness Preservation System is bloated
Trevor Hare’s rebuttal to my July 6 letter cried, “anti-environmental rhetoric."  But as we've recently seen, the radical environmental agenda has killed more than a dozen firefighters and severely harmed our forests, rivers and other natural resources, the very things the "greens" claim to protect.

In Arizona, ninety National Wilderness Areas (NWAs) encompass 4.5 million acres, almost the size of Pima County.  Hare's employer, the Sky Island Alliance, an offshoot of The Wildlands Project, is lobbying to restrict three million more acres of Arizona land, and if they succeed it is doubtful they would stop there.  The stated goal of The Wildlands Project, originated by
radical Earth First! founder Dave Foreman, is to place half of US soil off-limits to virtually all human use.  

All NWAs prohibit roads and wheels, but the 1964 Wilderness Act failed to limit how much land can be restricted.  Thanks to the radical greens, the National Wilderness Preservation System now exceeds the size of California, hundreds of new NWAs are proceeding through Congress and the Clinton Roadless Rule would lock up an additional area equivalent to the size of Utah and Vermont combined.

Environmentalists, including Hare, repeatedly suggest thriving rural economies be replaced by ecotourism--a  weak, seasonal and volatile sector compared to timber, mining, drilling, and agriculture.  Ecotourism produces no exports, no life sustaining necessities such as food, clothing, or shelter, and no resistance to political or economic adversity.  The green agenda means forced relocation of rural citizens by destruction of their rights and livelihoods.

 In a state where over 80% of the land is owned by various branches of government, additional land "preservation" has become a cancer on property rights and our economy.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]


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