Something of Value
Protection is a theme running through this issue: protection of wilderness (BWCAW), of cultural and spiritual life (pictographs and petroglyphs), and of species. Young Naturalists takes up the subject of parenting, by definition a protective role.
The purpose of protection is straightforward: to ensure survival of something of value. Devising a plan to accomplish that purpose is not always simple because people see different possibilities.
As citizens, we often disagree on what to protect, as well as when, where, and how to provide protection. We may also disagree on who best represents our interests. In this issue, "True Wilderness" recalls Minnesotans' legendary disputes over wilderness designation for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. And the story discusses another dilemma: how to maintain true wilderness. Resource managers today must grapple with the paradoxical task of managing the wild to preserve its untamed nature.
Protected places can embody many values. This issue's story on pictographs and petroglyphs, "Living in the Rock," tells about places that hold cultural and spiritual values of Indian people. Like a church, temple, or mosque, a circle of inscribed stone can be hallowed.
An affinity for wild things can inspire everyday work on their behalf. "Speaking for Wildlife" recounts one wildlife biologist's lifetime of working to keep game populations healthy, and to share his knowledge with others who care about critters.
Outdoor writer Michael Furtman's essay, "In the North, In the Spring," celebrates wild waters and lake trout. As an angler and a conservationist, he wonders what the future holds for this creature of cold northern lakes.
Just as wilderness travelers may paddle the same stream without seeing the same sights, so conservationists may regard the same facts and reach varied conclusions. What do you see when you consider the following facts about our national wilderness preservation system?
The nation's 677 wilderness areas range in size from a 5-acre island refuge in Florida to nearly 13 million contiguous acres in Alaska. Idaho has 2.5 million acres, the largest wilderness complex in the lower 48. Six states have no federally designated wilderness. Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, and Washington have the most.
Altogether, the wilderness system protects 106 million acres, or 4.7 percent of the entire United States. Is it enough to ensure protection of what you value?
Sometimes it seems that people place the greatest value on whatever is rare. As a salesman once told me: "Scarcity creates value." But in the case of this conservation magazine, readership-not scarcity-creates value.
Every time another Minnesotan begins to read about the state's natural resources, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer becomes more valuable.
And every time you send in a contribution, you add to the value of this magazine by helping to put it into the hands of more readers.
Today, subscriber contributions cover the entire cost of publishing, from pencils to printing to postage. With your support, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer can continue to be something of value for every Minnesotan who wants to receive it.
Kathleen Weflen, editor