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Odds & ends

March 31, 2009 - Blaine Hyska
WE’RE ALL HAPPY that Michigan lawmakers decided to take a 10 percent pay cut. After all, they make $79,650 a year — second-highest in the U.S. — and have ruined the state. No one should be rewarded for that.

The trick is, many will be out of office by the time the pay cut takes effect. Will they be hailed as heroes for their courage?

And why does it seem that retired lawmakers are always rich? That money is coming from somewhere.

THE WILDERNESS PROPOSAL is now law. Among other things, the law restricts the use of some 11,739 acres in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Alger County.

Why do most national reports refer to wilderness as “protection?”

Who are they protecting it from? Is there some danger out there?

I haven’t been to all the wilderness areas, but the ones I did visit didn’t seem to be threatened at all. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find another person anywhere near the wilderness area.

Those restrictions must be working. It seems no one wants to go there anymore.

In fact, according to the U.S. Forest Service, visits to national forests over the last several years are down 13 percent. That’s a lot.

The Forest Service’s National Visitor Use Monitoring program found 204.8 million visitors annually in the period 2000-2003 and 178.6 million for 2003-2007 — a decline of 13 percent.

Take into account the population is rising, and the proportion of Americans using national forests is falling even faster.

More protection?

Why don’t they just fence the whole place off and post some “Keep Out” signs? That would work.

Then we could all go visit a water park.


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