Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Tomaso Files: When the Mountain Calls, Motorsports takes a Back Seat...

Mount Rainier Avalanche lilies panorama. (Image source:

Although my latest Treks to Mount Tahoma have taken on a significant change, nonetheless one can never truly spend enough time in such natural splendour...

As I'd really enjoy being at Mount Rainier right now, minus the HORRENDOUS CROWDS! Since I've been burnin' OUT my eyeballs ever since returning - furiously poondin' out riveting BLOB' stories for Y'all...

And while I'm happy that Indy Cars is rightfully once again returning to The Glen, nee Watkins Glen this weekend, as I've said before, Labour Day always makes me think of the Molson Indy Vancouver BC race instead...

Which I had thee  good fortunes of attending more than a half dozen times, beginning with the first five years consecutively and then returning for a further engagement during the final years running's.

Whilst I've also had the good fortune of attending The Glen once a long time ago, where I got to have a Chinwag' with "Wattie," aka John Watson...

And although I'm pretty sure I watched; Err listened to the British GP, my Heart really wasn't in it, especially since my Numero Uno Hoond Mad Molly had just finished her race...

Although it's funny now, that since it was so Anticlimactic, I don't even remember watching I-T! Whilst it was really good therapy to be back at the Mountain exactly one week after Molly's passing.

As ironically, Mary Ellen mentioned the proliferation of new Clear Cuts speckling the Forest on our first trek to Paradise, at Mount Rainier, which even on a Thursday was completely swamped by visitors!
The irony of this is that shortly afterwards, I began listening to a new author's  tome in CD Audiobook format titled: The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and The Fire that saved America, by Timothy Egan.

As I personally DON'T agree with Tony Horwitz's review, having found the book a joy to listen to and not disjointed at all. And am now listening to Egan's The Worst Hard Time, about the Great Dustbowl catastrophe...

Although I won't try retelling the entire book, it taught me that noted Preservationist  John Muir and Conservationist Gifford Pinchot, who became fast friends in the early 1890's and visited Mount Rainier  in 1897, were instrumental in getting Congress to finally pass legislation creating Mount Rainier National Park in 1899, only the fifth such Park at the turn of the Twentieth century.

The book's main story surrounds the nation's largest ever Forest Fire, featuring the town of Wallace, Idaho, its inhabitants and the effects of The Big Burn, the massive fire of August, 1910 which ultimately swallowed over three million acres of land, which Pinchot would later decree was enough timber to satisfy the United States insatiable lumber appetite for 15yrs!

Now I only know the opinion put forth in Messer Egan's book regarding Gifford Pinchot, who helped implement President Teddy Roosevelt's Conservationist agenda, along with becoming the first Chief of today's U.S. Forest Service which he championed, and served in this capacity from 1905-1910, when he so agitated Roosevelt's successor William Howard Taft, that Taft had no recourse but to fire him for his insubordination.

As both Roosevelt and Pinchot felt betrayed by Teddy's handpicked successor Taft and his promise to continue these Conservationist ideas. As how refreshing that a President was actually progressive, and truly believed in working for the people of his nation and not the Robber Barron's personal interests!

Yet Pinchot, and Roosevelt faced many adversary's, with Pinchot locked in a personal duel with then Secretary of Interior Richard Ballinger, a Taft appointee, who's views upon the Forest Service differed vastly with Pinchot's, who'd eventually Resign from his cabinet post.

.While Republican Senator Weldon B. Heyburn from Idaho was one of their biggest thorns, taking every opportunity available to dismantle those "Greenie's,' nee Pinchot's Forest Service. Along with disagreeing over Roosevelt's call for an eight hour Workday, Child welfare, etc.

Yet ironically, Heyburn, whom served from 1903 to 1912, catering towards the interests of mining - was struck down by illness  whilst speaking in Congress and would die that October at age 60.

Alas, who knows the real stature of Gifford Pinchot, who after all was a member of Yale University's illustrious Skull & Bones society, along with coming from family wealth, ironically gained by desecrating the forest with outlandish timber cutting.

But Gifford was pointed towards then the totally unknown profession of Forestry by his father, along with establishing a core curriculum Master's program at his Alma Mater in 1900.

whilst you've simply got to enjoy the image portrayed regarding Gifford's initial meeting with the future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, then Governor of New York, who'd had a wrestling mat installed in the Governor's mansion, and promptly challenged Pinchot to a wrasslin' and boxing match, for which Gifford would delight recalling for life over having knocked out Teddy!

While Egan, points out the conclusion I came to before finishing the book. That the Forest Service was effectively co-opted into becoming nothing more than the various Corporate entities, i.e.; Timber, Mining, Railroads, etc glorified Firefighting organization. Which naturally was totally devastating to Pinchot, since it went against his philosophy!

Which leaves me pondering how the explosion of Boardtracks across America during the Roaring Twenties further led to the unintended devastation of Pinchot and Roosevelt's perceived intentions...

"Humans should Never take More out of the Earth than They Can Put Back in..."
Gifford Pinchot

For the conclusion of this two-part Outdoors Adventure, see; The Tomaso Files: Four Left Turns later, We finally arrive at Mount Rainier...

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