30 Jun 2010, 10:29am
Restoring cultural landscapes Saving Forests
by admin

Ancient Human Environmental Influences In Yellowstone

It turns out that Yellowstone is not a pristine, untrammeled wilderness after all.

Science Daily reported today that a 10,000-year-old hunting shaft (atlatl dart) has been discovered in the Rockies near Yellowstone.

Hunting Weapon 10,000 Years Old Found in Melting Ice Patch

ScienceDaily, June 29, 2010, [here]

To the untrained eye, University of Colorado at Boulder Research Associate Craig Lee’s recent discovery of a 10,000-year-old wooden hunting weapon might look like a small branch that blew off a tree in a windstorm.

Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Lee, a research associate with CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research who found the atlatl dart, a spear-like hunting weapon, melting out of an ice patch high in the Rocky Mountains close to Yellowstone National Park.

The US Forest Service didn’t invent Let It Burn, the National Park Service (NPS) did.

The most infamous Let It Burn fires in our National Parks were the Yellowstone Fires of 1988 when 1.2 million acres (1,875 square miles) of Greater Yellowstone were proudly incinerated by the NPS.

It is not a stretch to say “proudly” because the NPS gushes all over itself for the Yellowstone Fires [here].

Among the justifications presented by the NPS for the Yellowstone Fires was that the fires were “natural”, as if “natural” made any difference.

The natural history of fire in the park includes large-scale conflagrations sweeping across the park’s vast volcanic plateaus, hot, wind-driven fires torching up the trunks to the crowns of the pine and fir trees at several hundred-year intervals.

Such wildfires occurred across much of the ecosystem in the 1700s. But that, of course, was prior to the arrival of European explorers, to the designation of the park, and the pattern established by its early caretakers to battle all blazes in the belief that fire suppression was good stewardship.

That bit of racist nonsense fails to mention that Native Americans had been residing in and visiting the Yellowstone region for at least 11,900 years. The “early caretakers” were not the NPS!!! The actual early acretakers set frequent, seasonal, non-catastrophic fires that precluded holocausts like 1988.

The ignorant racism was readily adopted by NPS “scientists” too:

…[B]y the 1970s Yellowstone and other parks had instituted a natural fire management plan to allow the process of lightning-caused fire to continue influencing wildland succession. …

Only a miniscule portion of once vast wilderness landscapes has been preserved, and the boundaries and spatial extent of these preserved bear little relationship to the natural processes necessary for their preservation. The 1988 fires have laid bare the broad extent of our ignorance of those natural processes. — N. A. Christensen, et al.

The NPS is profoundly ignorant of the historical human influences on ecosystem development in all of our national parks. They have blinders on in that regard. NPS fires wipe out any trace of the real natural history on those landscapes. It’s more than ignorance — it’s their deliberate policy to do so. That is because the foundational conceit of the NPS is the American Creation Myth: God made the Wilderness for the Salvation of Humanity, specifically Euro immigrants as paternally cared for by NPS neo-Victorian elitists.

But Yellowstone is not wilderness. Modern (non-NPS) scientists are well-aware of the historical human environmental influences in the Yellowstone and the non-wilderness (homelands) quality of that cultural landscape.

The newly discovered atlatl dart is proof that human beings have been living in the Yellowstone area for (at least) 10,000 years. It is proof that for millennia human beings have been the key predators, the most effective and deadly hunters, armed with advanced technology capable of killing any other animal.

The dart is circumstantial evidence that human beings have controlled animal populations in the Yellowstone area for 10,000 years.

Because human beings everywhere, for our entire existence as a species, also employed landscape anthropogenic fire, the atlatl dart is circumstantial evidence that human beings have been burning Yellowstone deliberately, frequently, for survival purposes, for 10,000 years.

The Science Daily article continues:

Later this summer Lee and CU-Boulder student researchers will travel to Glacier National Park to work with the Salish, Kootenai and Blackfeet tribes and researchers from the University of Wyoming to recover and protect artifacts that may have recently melted out of similar locations.

“We will be conducting an unprecedented collaboration with our Native American partners to develop and implement protocols for culturally appropriate scientific methods to recover and protect artifacts we may discover,” he said.

Modern Native Americans, archaeologists, historians, and cultural experts recognize the continuity of human occupation of the landscape for many hundreds of generations. It wasn’t until the Euro-Victorians came along that humanity was driven off the land.

An important component of restoration is the reintroduction of humanity into the landscape, including the restoration of human-nature connections and traditional practices. Thus restoration is at odds with the American Creation Myth and with the NPS policy of denying human heritage and historical human influences on the environment.

Restoration seeks to restore the anthropogenic fire and anthropogenic wildlife management extant for the entire Holocene, save the last 150 years or so. That is why the current NPS policy of banning hunting and allowing catastrophic lightning fires to incinerate watersheds during the peak summer months is anathema to restorationists.

We look at the myth-bound, arguably racist, definitely destructive policies of the NPS and wonder how such horrific policies ever became ingrained, and how we might shake the NPS out of it’s ignorance and destructiveness.

3 Jul 2010, 10:41am
by Bob F.

Anyone who has spent his life hunting arrowheads, speartips, and obsidian tools in YNP and the Yellowstone ecosystem will tell you that hunters gravitated to this area and covered the landscape for eons.

For wolves and other predators to have sterilized this landscape by government decree is the most unnatural event to have occurred here in 12,000 years.



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