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by Mike Sallee


January 05, 2005

The message in the conceptual plans presented by Ketchikan Borough planning for Gravina contains some fairly strong implications of change for life that has developed on that island since the place was covered with ice. The plans depict roads, trails, harbors, docks, subdivisions, homes, riprapped intertidal areas, industrial sites, in general a broad compendium representing all the trappings of our materialistic culture and its standardized institutions for preempting and sterilizing ecosystems.

If this plan could speak to Gravina's wildlife, large and small the message would be this.

Look all you deer, black bears, wolves, beavers, otters, mink, marten, squirrels, birds, fish, marine mammals, amphibians, and the rest of you, this is people country now. You better get to heck out.

If you stay there's an increased likelihood you ll be shot, trapped, run over, or poisoned purposely or inadvertently, at an unprecedented rate. You will be chased, maimed or killed by domestic pets, and confounded by fences and other obstructions.

Your historic access routes to food and shelter will be torn up or blocked. Your places of possible refuge from people pressure in more remote parts of the island are about to be reduced.

Those of you that require extensive home ranges, some of which change with the seasons will soon find those places truncated or eliminated.

Those of you that don't adapt well to human activity, but are forced by circumstances to stay around will have to adapt to a pretty harsh though perhaps mercifully shortened life.

Some of you, as your habitat gets eradicated probably won't have much inclination to reproduce though some may adapt better than others to the noise, the smoke, the night sky illuminated by aurora commercialis, in short all the pollutants that are part and parcel to the people country package.

And you'd better not place much stock in the few humans that act on your behalf. The default collective human condition is one in which habit trumps reason. You're at the business end of a pioneering human culture that for centuries has extirpated the indigenous in spite of protests by some people.

Further, the human's well entrenched habit of relying upon the earth's huge stores of decayed prehistoric plants and animals as well as other technologies means you non-domesticated living things have become dispensable, worthy of little more than lip service.

You see, wild animals that run around on the loose take up a lot of space. For people intent upon turning that space into people country you wild animals doing your thing are at best a luxury, but mostly an expensive nuisance. In short, this conceptual plan says to you wild stock: Good luck and good riddance .

Mike Sallee
Ketchikan, AK - USA


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