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 The Trek: The Journals

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Team: North
Stephen Braunlich
Saturday, August 10
Today has been a day that hit its highest point at the end. I was energized and enlightened in a session in which we went to the Swan Ecosystem Center. There we were able to talk with a round table of people, from a variety of places. Here were a bunch of people that have managed to intelligently, and successfully work towards the conservation of one of Montana’s most diverse ecosystems. At the same time, they stressed the necessity of, when talking about public lands, looking at the whole picture.
Our public lands are not entirely about recreation. This is only a small part of the big picture. Our lands are used for logging, mining, and exploration, and, when done intelligently, it can be done well. The other thing to remember would be that these lands affect local people on a very personal level. It is a source of pride and of work, among other things.
In the case of the Swan Lake ecosystem, for example, we talked to people who had worked with the Forest Service, a guide, a naturalist, and other citizens that lived in the area and wished to preserve the beauty. For these people, the potential sell-off of land by the timber companies pose a huge problem. Because of the checkerboard pattern of public and private lands, it becomes difficult to keep an ecosystem in tact. For example, if one of these tracts of land are sold, and developed into McMansions, this would have a devastating effect on the ecosystem surrounding it. Whereas under a logging system it is possible for the animals to still migrate across the land to the Forest Service squares, with buildings they cannot because of severe interference from roads and houses.
Ultimately, though, I found this conversation to stress the necessity of holistic geography. That is, the need to not look just at the trees, or just at the people, but rather, to look at the fusion of all these into a big picture view. It is this aspect of the American Frontiers Journey that I look forward to. Seeing not just the land, but how the land affects the people, and the people the land. Just as an aside, it is also important to realize how far reaching this relationship is. As an East Coaster, it has been a strong reminder that my natural resources often times comes from public lands. The steak I eat at home, can come from a cow that grazed on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands out West. It is this relationship that I found fascinating.
Well, thank you for reading this journal entry. I will continue to try to keep you informed on the events here on the expedition.

-Stephen Braunlich
p.s. Happy Birthday Catherine!
  Swan Ecosystem Center Homepage--
for Saturday, August 10
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Stephen Braunlich
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List of All Journal Entries
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Thursday, September 12
Stephen Braunlich
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Wednesday, September 11
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Sunday, September 8
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Wednesday, September 4
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Easy Day in Yellowstone
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Tuesday, September 3
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First Day in Yellowstone
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Monday, September 2
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Long Hard Hike
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Monday, August 26
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More of the same...
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Sunday, August 25
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Bit o' Heaven
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Saturday, August 24
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Humbug Spires
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Friday, August 23
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Thursday, August 22
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A Pockmark on Progress
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Tuesday, August 13
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Many Thanks
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Tuesday, August 13
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Bushwacking
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Monday, August 12
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Welcome to Aspen Grove
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Sunday, August 11
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Saturday, August 10
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Friday, August 9
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Thursday, August 8
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First Posting
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Thursday, August 1
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Wednesday, January 9
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Targhee Creek Continued
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