Timber Country

Since the early days of European colonization in North America, the great abundance of natural resources was apparent to settlers and their colonial sponsors alike. Timber was chief among these, as the tremendous size and unspoiled nature of the forests that spanned from Canada down through Florida provided fuel, building materiel, and a source of jobs for a great many people. As the centuries progressed, and the frontier closed on the Pacific, America started having to contend with the fact that its resources were not unlimited, and the very real consequences to the environment as well as to the communities living amongst the trees of restrictions on logging had to be weighed. Today, it is less so the forest owl that is endangered, but instead the very notion of an American small town living away from large cities, self sufficient, and able to provide a life that for many was quintessentially free and working class.







Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 228 – Timber Country

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. jabowery says:

    As I escaped from Silicon Valley’s H-1b invasion to Stevenson, WA where, despite the encroaching microbrewery/windsurfing culture on the Columbia River Gorge, they still had a bar named “The Spar Tree” and a burned out lumber mill, it might be worthwhile describing why I went that direction. It was to identify what remained of the culture described by Jill von Konen in her semi-fictional work:

    “Camp 38 — Current model of northern European lifestyle before Christianity”

    It really struck a chord with me. (And, yes, I read Sometimes a Great Notion”).

    Click to access Camp-38.pdf

    What I found there were people who were looking for what they had lost — not from the days of logging, but from the far deeper heritage that the wooded wilderness of the Pacific Northwest awakened in their genetic memories. That set me on the road of discovery I talked about in my interview with you regarding the co-domestication of man and wolf, that reawakened and an even deeper, pre-primate genetic memory of sexual Being that is now being hysterically stamped out of existence by The Great and The Good.


  2. Smokey says:

    This was probably the only Myth episode I had to turn off. The entire episode was just spouting republican tier talking points about the environment, some tidbits about American history, and lamenting about the decline of muh working class. I wish there was more effort taken to discuss ecology instead of trying to tie everything into tired, played out populism. Nick seemed to have a few decent comments when he did speak but Adam and Hans were terrible. We get it Hans. Joe six pack can’t pop out 6 kids doing a repetitive task in a factory like they could in the past. Why you feel the need to opine endlessly about this is beyond me. Most of the forestry information was not just wrong but flat out lies from regurgitated pro industrial talking points that place jobs before preserving the little nature left in the modern world. Only advice I have is to go outside more and stop living online.


    1. Darkskies says:

      Nick definitely wins by saying the least throughout this episode:

      Why can we not have both a beautiful nation and also a healthy economy? A serious nation would address both these issues to benefit its people.

      John Muir is often quoted as the father of the National Parks and was mentioned in this episode. Muir, was touched with a religious fervor in his love of nature. He spoke eloquently for the cause of preservation, and we have him to credit for locking away in permanence the many gems represented by the National Parks.

      However, I was amazed that Gifford Pinchot, the father of the National Forest Service and it’s first Chief, was not mentioned at any point in the discussion. Unfortunately, Pinchot is now largely demonized and placed in opposition to Muir. However, during the 1896 National Forest Commission, the two of them camped next to Lake MacDonald in Montana, in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and on the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Both men noted that they would regularly speak late into the night next to the campfire and it was there that both of them realized the need to establish government control of these important lands. Gifford wrote that Muir had provided him with a great deal of inspiration, without which the Forest Service might not have come into existence. But, while also a lover of nature, realized that it was nature from which all civilization is carved. His vison was to wisely manage this resource in such a way that it would never truly be exhausted.

      The NPS Organic Act states the purpose of the organization is: “….to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

      The National Forest Service Organic Act, likewise states it’s goal: “to improve and protect the forest within the reservation, … securing favorable conditions of water flows, and to furnish a continuous supply of timber for the use and necessities of citizens of the United States.”

      So both laudable goals, with different tactics. One with preservation in mind, the other with use and cautious management.

      One major issue at hand is that the radicals have won the day. After recent fires burned much of the forest, logging companies requested permits from the Forest Service to clear out an appropriate number of burned trees to salvage the wood left behind in accordance with the federal guidelines. However, they were subsequently sued by environmentalist organizations and while being tied up in court, the wood rotted. They dropped the lawsuit not long afterwards.

      As someone who has worked in public lands management the other main issue is that these agencies are terribly underfunded and desperately understaffed. The combined budgets of the NPS & NFS are roughly $10.5 Billion or about 0.15% of the 6.6 Trillion federal budget (if I did that math correctly). With those budgets both agencies must manage ~278 million acres of land with a staff of ~52,500 including seasonal employees.

      For comparison, the combined Disneyland Parks internationally had an annual budget in 2019 of ~$14 Billion with ~223,000 employees for roughly 35,000 acres.

      Not a direct apples to apples, but you catch my drift.


  3. F*CK whoever thought this boring topic was a good idea for show. Seriously, F*ck You!


  4. brien bennett says:

    You mentioned the word communitarian and Ken Kesey’s book. Could you contact me sometime? idyupdate@yahoo.com


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