Our obsession started thirty years ago, the mountains began over 300 million years ago. We were on our way to YellowStone with our children of seven and ten years old.

After a grueling drive across the lone prairie we encamped on a mountain top in the Big Horn Mountains.

At nine thousand five hundred feet the air is thin and clean, the trees strive to act as though they are not at the “tree line”.

Many trees seem smaller as we reach the peak elevations of the Big Horn Mountains.

Our kids played with their toys called “Decepticons and Transformers” under the bows of a small pine tree at our camp site.

They arranged the rocks around their vehicles to make roads and pathways.

Twenty five years later we returned to the same campsite and saw their makeshift roads, they hadn’t been disturbed. The tree was twenty five feet taller and the lower branches nearly obscured their ancient roadways.

This is the Big Horns, lots of U.S. Forest Service land, it is multi-purpose land, Four wheelers, chain saws, loggers, sheep herders, environmentalists coexist.

A space and land so big that there are not enough people to get in each others way.

After thirty years of coming to the same camp site we have seen trees grow tall, we have seen vista’s obscured.

We ponder and realize this is “wooden resource” becoming mature. Our pathways that we have hiked are becoming over grown and impassable.

A few years ago this area was auctioned for logging and I was concerned about the pristine wilderness, I also realized the maturing forest that was being crowded by all the new growth.

Our pristine playground was becoming completely overgrown.

Last year the loggers came in with other worldly machines that looked like tanks with chainsaws and decepticons. They overran the landscape on treaded vehicles, they grabbed mature trees by their midsection and cut them off at the base in 16 seconds, one tree every 30 seconds.

The landscape that I had trod looked like a war zone. We stayed for three days at the campground with the incessant cutting all around us.

When we left we witnessed the “clean up” that the loggers had done. My opinion had changed as I looked about the landscape.

They had harvested meaningful materials for our society and in their path they had cleaned up and left a rather pristine landscape.

It was not clear cutting the forest, the U.S. Forest Service marked the trees that were to be left on the landscape.

It was gratifying to see a landscape that had been “harvested” and yet anyone could easily see the effect of enhancing the growth of the remaining trees.

Heavy, industrial, privatized industry works in concert with the scientists at the U.S Forest to maintain our ecosystem.

Our kindred campsite once again has less trees and an open view of the mountains that surround us, ten , twelve, thirteen thousand foot mountains with vistas of seventy five miles, a land that is on the edge of mountain lion country.

We know the heavy traffic of destination places …..and all is good in the Big Horn Mountains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.