On the west-central part of the Olympic Peninsula is Lake Quinault. It is a
beautiful lake, surrounded by dense moss-laden old growth forest; then
beyond that are the Olympic foothills shrouded in fog much of the time; and
when the fog burns off on a summer day the blue skies and snow-capped
Olympic Mountains fill your eyes with yet more visual treasures. Quinault
Lodge is located on the lake and people go there from all over to get away
and see the "wilderness". You might see a herd of elk from the road or hear
loons on the water. Just being there you feel a sense of escaping the
hustle and bustle of the world, and it's only 1-1/2 hours from the busy I-5
corridor. But it's just a facade. Just beyond one's view are thousands of
acres of stripped forest, silted creeks and a degraded ecosystem. Out of
sight, out of mind...
A couple years ago someone clearcut the forest where the road to the lodge
turns off of Hwy 101 (the peninsula loop road). It looks terrible there and
my first thought were "Why would they do that to such an idyllic place?".
After thinking about it for a bit I was glad they did it-- people need to
open their eyes to the large scale destruction of ecosystems.
This "out of sight, out of mind" situation goes a long way to explain the
dilemma many of our native fishes are in. We in NANFA can open peoples'
eyes if we want. It seems to me that we can do a lot more than we do.
"We still argue the details, but it is
conceded almost everywhere that we are
not the masters of nature that we thought
ourselves; we are as dependent on the rest
of the system as are the leaves or midges
or fish. We are part of the system.
One way to put it is that the earth is a
loosely formed, spherical organism, with
all its working parts linked in symbiosis."
--Lewis Thomas (1974), from The Lives of a
Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
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