Protecting Mom

Beautiful. Fragile. Recovering slowly from years of abuse. Facing risk of further violation by powerful men.
I’m talking about our mother, the original Mom that we call Mother Earth. Well, not actually all of Mother Earth; for the moment, let’s focus on the part we call the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
How do we give our Monument time to heal and protect her from further trauma, not just from rough hands but also from too much affection?
This is not an easy question, but I believe the answer is similar to the strategy of the #MeToo movement: go public.
Time is of the essence; we know that our Monument is on a short list for extermination, or at least aggressive groping, by the rapacious Secretary of the Interior and the current federal administration. How do we put our threatened ecological treasure on the map without endangering it?
The good news is that we have a plan. It includes scientific study, environmental education, public awareness and, above all, protection. In fact, we need to go beyond protection to rewilding, a concept that includes restoration of biological deserts left behind by industrial logging and other resource extraction.
We will start by creating a Green Springs research station aimed at supporting and expanding academic work in the Monument area. Biologists, students and citizen scientists associated with Southern Oregon University, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Klamath Bird Observatory and the Friends of CSNM are already engaged in a variety of projects. We will offer them a base camp, a meeting facility, laboratory space and other necessities.
Next we will provide a classroom, simple accommodations and support services for student groups. Down the road, we will add interpretive capabilities to help visitors appreciate the biological values and cultural history of this special place.
All of these activities will be located on property currently owned by Green Springs Inn, which functions as a Monument portal. The Inn will continue to serve as a center for the local community and outpost for visitors. But it will also provide income and services to support other Monument related activities.
Yes, this is an audacious proposal. Success will require leadership, money, community buy-in, thoughtful planning and a new nonprofit ownership entity, for starters.
Each step along this path is a challenge, but the greater risks are external. The White House could strike at any moment and the collapsing climate will bring drought and fire. Timidity is not an option. Those of us who understand that we are at a turning point must band together and move forward.