Liberals concerned about conserving our scenic and wild lands as well as threats to the health of our wildlife populations and parks should take note. It's their fiscal policies which are today the dominant menace to all of these. Take the plight of California as an illustration of how government profligacy endangers the very resources it wishes to preserve:
Conservation projects in California's state parks face a bleak future, if cuts proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger go through.
To tackle a swelling state deficit that has reached $24.3 billion, the "Governator" wants to slash spending across the board - including funding for 80 per cent of the 270 sites run by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Those parks earmarked for closure (pdf) include world-famous attractions such as the giant sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Gated access roads to some parks would be closed, but many parks can be easily entered from public highways. With no rangers on hand to keep a watchful eye on visitors, that could be bad news for threatened species such as the desert tortoise.
In a recent survey, researchers led by Kristin Berry of the US Geological Survey in Moreno Valley found a worryingly high death rate among young animals in the Red Rock Canyon State Park, north of Los Angeles - some of which had gunshot wounds.
The proposed funding cuts would also eliminate conservation management activities such as the removal of invasive plants and efforts to prevent catastrophic fires. In Calaveras, this involves the removal of fir trees allowed to grow by earlier fire suppression efforts - and which now threaten a conflagration that could engulf the sequoias.
Out of control spending and deficits have forced the California state government to cut back on its expenditures on "non-essentials," and what is in line to be cut are not the wasteful projects, not the spending on the millions of aliens who are in the state illegally, but our natural heritage.
If we extrapolate this onto a national scale, we might wonder how long it will be before the White House announces that our national parks, forests and seashores are no longer affordable and that in order to pay the interest on the astronomical national debt President Obama has bequeathed us we should sell these off.
If this state of affairs ever does come to pass what an irony it'll be that the "environmental party," the party so distraught over global warming and other ecological cataclysms, will be the party responsible for the loss of our nation's most beautiful jewels. In squandering our nation's treasure the Democrats may well have squandered our national treasures.RLC