John Bush (jbush@OKWAY.OKSTATE.EDU)
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 08:05:00 -0700
Hello, Friends on SCOUTS-L,
Just yesterday I had the first chance to actually read the last few
SCOUTS-L digests. For several months, I have just been filing them so I
could catch up "when I had the time." It's been the busiest time of
year on the job that supports my Scouting habit.
It felt like I was rejoining a conversation with a group of good
friends. Sure, the list involves many topics, some of which I am not
interested in. However, sometimes I am surprised at what becomes
interesting when I give it a try. Yes, I get irritated at some replies
sent to the list that could better have been done by private e-mail.
Still, overall, the quality of the ideas I get on the "electronic
roundtable that never ends" is really good.
It's been just over a week since I got back from a trip to Sommers Canoe
Base and the Quetico Provincial Park (Ontario, Canada). I had gone on a
Sommers trip in 1970 when I was a Scout and in high school. I really
wondered if 26 years later the area would be totally ruined, polluted,
and trashed out. Instead, it was still wonderful. A few things have
changed at the Sommers base itself--some old buildings gone and new ones
to take their places. They call the guides "interpreters" now, but they
still fill about the same function. But the wilderness experience
itself is still wonderful.
We took two crews to the base, with a total of 14 Scouts and Scouters on
the trip. Our other crew included Jim Sleezer and G. E. "Woody" Hedrick
among their leaders. Both of these Scouters read and post to SCOUTS-L
regularly. Jim made his own posting about our trip three or four days
ago. I think everyone who went, youth and adult, had a good time. For
me it was a very renewing experience. I needed some time away from
computers, telephones, and job stress. Others made similar comments.
Organizing this trip was also a Wood Badge ticket item for me--the
biggest one. Now I have two ticket items left to finish by the end of
October and I will have earned my beads. I think I'll make it.
Let me get political now. Right now there is considerable controversy
over whether to open up more of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Wilderness (the American side of the area) to motorboats. I can
understand that the people who make a living outfitting in the area want
more revenue from towing fees and transporting people unable or
unwilling to actually paddle canoes into the area. However, what I
observed of the area makes me dead set against it. Motorboats are
noisy. We could hear them from miles away as we approached the area
where they are allowed. They also pollute the air and water. Even
worse, most of the people who run them act like jerks. Most blow right
on by canoes, leaving wakes three or four feet high for canoeists to
deal with. I really appreciated the few motorboat drivers who took the
trouble to slow down as they approached canoeists.
There are competing bills before Congress dealing with this issue. One
set would open up more of the wilderness to motorboats. It would also
create a policy board for the area that appeared to me to be an effort
to let the outfitters override the Forest Service. (Maybe I'm too
cynical, but this is politics.) I believe these are sponsored by
Senator Grams and Representative Vento of Minnesota. The other bill
would set tighter limits than now exist. I have forgotten who is
sponsoring it in the House, but he is another Minnesota representative.
Senator Wellstone, also of Minnesota, is sponsoring efforts to mediate
the issue among the parties.
I intend to write some letters to my own Congressman and Senators
regarding this issue. Perhaps others in this group would find that
worthwhile as well.
Next year, I'll be going on a Philmont trek. It will be my first. I'm
really looking forward to that. I will be "picking the brains" of our
local Scouters who have Philmont experience. I have already learned
some things about Philmont preparation from this list, and I expect I
will be asking for more help.
Yours in Scouting,
Troop Committee Member, Scout Roundtable Staff, and a few other hats
Troop 828, Stillwater, Oklahoma--Pawnee Bill District, Will Rogers
I used to be an Owl--SR-81
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City