Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Observations From Two Of Our Nation’s First Conservationists

©Bert Gildart: Last night I read with much concern the blog posting of a friend of mine who travels extensively in his Airstream–just as we do. In his posting he said that in all of his travels he knows of but two areas in the country where one can still camp on a beach unfettered with vast directives. Specifically, he mentioned Padre Islands in Texas, and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area at Pismo Beach, California. Janie and I have also traveled extensively, and we agree: virtually everything else has been developed, and we find that tragic.

THE FLATHEAD’S TRANSFORMATION

One reason that my friend’s thoughts struck such a chord is that an urban blight is now invading the Flathead Valley, the area I call home. I moved here shortly after graduating from high school because the Flathead was such a relatively pristine area.

Once the Sky Was His Domain

Once the sky (see below) was his domain

That was back in the ‘60s. Now, forty-some years later, the valley’s transformation is not only a tragedy in itself but symptomatic of a national disease. So virulent is this problem here in the Flathead that our local newspaper informs readers that by the year 2020, ever last bit of space that can be developed in the valley will be developed. Obviously, our local paper was not referring to such local areas as the Bob Marshall Wilderness, which is not far from our home.

Much of this clutter could have been avoided. But a group of unregulated developers–many from out of state–descended, and they were flush with the bottom line. One of them is a developer from the mid-west and he is now proceeding with what will in several years be Montana’s largest mall. He doesn’t really live here; he just develops here, and then leaves. Everyone I associate with knows him as “Bucky.”

FAMOUS PILOT WAS PASSIONATE ENVIRONMENTALIST

Though I have joined others of like mind in opposing such developments, we’ve not gained much ground, and there’s not much we can do except take solace in the fact that extremely well known and much respected people who have preceded us have also taken strong stands. One of those individuals was not only an Air Force general, but also a corporation man, and so his thoughts (You know of him, but can you guess his name without looking?) might surprise you. After having flown over every single state in the nation, he wrote:

“I have seen fencing pushing westward, enclosing once open land. I have seen bird and animal life disappear. I have seen towns and cities spring up where there were none before. Forest land converted into agriculture, farm land in turn become suburban subdivisions, mountains slashed through with power lines and superhighways, rivers and lakes fouled by pollution, the skies over even small towns hazed by smog–all evidence of human thoughtlessness about their environment.”

The man who penned these words was Charles Lindbergh, and though I could not find an exact date for these expressions, I believe he wrote them in the ‘60s. He died in 1974.)

BOB MARSHALL OBSERVATION

Am I disappointed? Yes, but I’ll get over it as bitterness is self defeating–and I haven’t thrown in the towel. There’s still work that can be done… As Bob Marshall, founder of the Wilderness Society once said:

“There is just one hope of repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every niche of the whole Earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom of the wilderness.”



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