Green monkeywrenching activities can take on many forms, from the very crude, like the tree spike or the Vail Lodge arson attack or the Ted Kaczynski letter bomb, to the much more polished, like a President unilaterally nixing a pipeline, a bogus bidder vying for energy leases he can’t pay for or the barrage of legal briefs that pinstriped wrenchers use to derail drilling on the Roan Plateau. But it’s rare, even in the strange and twisted annals of ecotage, that a wrencher takes action designed to encourage the destruction or desecration of the planet, which makes this case out of the Dakotas extremely interesting.
From the Rapid City Journal:
“A Black Hills environmentalist who for years has fought U.S. Forest Service timber-cutting projects is facing federal charges for changing marks on trees in a timber sale near his home so that more trees would be cut.
Brian Brademeyer, who lives on a small private acreage inside the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve southeast of Hill City, faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor citation served on Jan. 31. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica Duffy on March 15 in Rapid City.
Brademeyer admitted that he painted over marks on more than 20 pine trees on Forest Service land across the fence from his home in the summer of 2010. A Forest Service crew had marked the trees with orange paint so they would not be cut by a planned timber project. Brademeyer painted over the orange with black paint, hoping they would be cut as part of the Palmer Gulch timber sale. Despite that, he continues to oppose the Palmer Gulch sale, which is part of a larger forest management project in the Norbeck.
Cutting the additional trees near his home would have benefited a meadow that has been encroached by pine trees over the past 50 years, he said.
“I had hoped there would never be a timber sale,” Brademeyer said. “But I wanted the meadow restored.”
In that last quote you have a mirror raised to the muddled mind of the modern environmentalist.
Brademeyer opposed the timber sale, and earned headlines for himself vocally opposing it, but stealthily schemed to have more trees removed in an area adjoining his private property in order, he says, to “restore” a meadow that was being obliterated by overgrown forest. And why “restore” a meadow Mother Nature was erasing? Because clearings (including clearings created by logging) can be attractive habitat for certain animal and plant species that don’t thrive in uniformly dense stands.
It’s clear from this (if you buy his explanation) that the anti-logging crusader at least understands that selectively harvesting trees – active forest management, in other words — can be beneficial to forest health. He tried fooling loggers into taking more trees than they were supposed to because he either 1.) hoped that the over-cutting would give him something new to protest, or 2.) selfishly hoped to turn the logging to his personal advantage by creating a meadow adjoining his property. And there you get a glimpse inside the conflicted conscience of the modern environmentalist.
Most will grudgingly admit that our fire- and disease-prone forests could probably benefit from some measure of active management, and that they can be managed for beneficial ends, yet they feel compelled by the movement’s anti-logging catechism to reflexively and mindlessly oppose all actions above the bare minimum, for fear that this will resuscitate the dreaded “timber industry.” That we might create new logging and sawmill jobs, while simultaneously doing something good for forests — that we can “restore” meadows while restoring jobs – just isn’t something most extreme greens can concede or consider, lest a long history of fighting all logging, and vilifying all loggers, be exposed as the counterproductive overreaction it is and was.
That Brademeyer also believed that the ends justified the means (including illegal means) is another mental muddle he shares with most monkeywrenchers, but that’s a topic for another day.