The Wind River Range in Wyoming is a mountain chain 150 miles long reaching heights of over 13,000 feet. This rugged wilderness contains over two-thousand crystal clear alpine lakes in hundreds of rock basins carved out by glaciation. The incredibly diverse trout fishery of the range is unsurpassed anywhere on earth. But it wasn’t always so.
A hundred years ago very few water bodies in the Wind River Range were inhabited by fish. The vast majority of high mountain lakes were isolated by steep canyons and impassable waterfalls. In the 1930’s Wyoming legend Finis Mitchell began taking deliveries of trout fingerlings from local fish hatcheries. Mitchell packed two five gallon milk jugs full of fish on each of his six horses and headed up into the high country. In seven years, Finis Mitchell stocked 314 alpine lakes with an estimated two and a half million trout. While favoring the “native” Cutthroat, Mitchell also stocked lakes with a variety of “non-native” trout species including Rainbow, Brook, California Golden, German Brown and Arctic Grayling.
The trout successfully reproduced and expanded into 700 additional waterways creating an unparallelled fisherman’s paradise. If the rainbows aren’t biting at one lake, all one has to do is scramble a half-mile or so into the next lake basin where feisty Brookies or a stringer full of Cutthroat await. But if environmental extremists and REWILDING proponents have their way, this unique fishery may soon become extinct.
“In the wilderness man learns to have faith in his Creator.”
-Finis Mitchell (1901-1995)
The precedent for trout removal from wilderness areas was set twelve years ago when National Park biologist Harold Werner received tax-payer funding to restore alpine lakes in California’s Sierra Nevada Range to their “natural” fishless condition. You see, back in the 1930’s, while ol’ Finis was busy stocking Wind River lakes, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Park Service were doing the same thing in the High Sierra. While they did not create as diverse or expansive a fishery as Finis Mitchell created in the Winds, the high mountain lakes of the Sierra proved to be the perfect habitat for self-sustaining populations of trout. Unfortunately, according to purists of the Green Religion, the government committed the unpardonable sin by allowing fish to be planted in previously fishless lakes and streams.
In the 1990’s the radical greens began chanting that such trout stocking programs had contaminated pristine habitats with “invasive” species. Religious green zealots maintained that trout simply didn’t belong in historically fishless lakes and that all signs of such an unholy manipulation of the environment had to be erased. Every summer since 2001, dozens of environmentally challenged college students armed with antibiotics, chemical piscicides such as rotenone, and rolls of gill netting, embark on a mission to eradicate trout in Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks. These “green” missionaries out to commit trout genocide have the full blessing of environmental groups, the National Park Service, and the California Department of Fish and Game.
A 2011 National Park Service press release citing the accomplishments of retired Park biologist Harold Werner, said this:
“The aquatic restoration activities Harold initiated set the stage for protecting one of the most extensive alpine ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada during a period of unprecedented environmental change. Eleven years ago, Harold secured funding to establish an aquatic ecosystem restoration program…..as a result, from 2001 to 2010, the Parks removed nearly 42,000 fish from 18 historically fishless lakes and associated streams.”
The stated goal of Werner’s “aquatic ecosystem restoration program” is to return 150 Sierra lakes to their original fishless condition. Part of the rationale for the trout eradication program was the supposed benefits the elimination of fish would have on a particular species of amphibian, the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog. While some of the lakes where trout have been removed have seen an increase in the frog population, other amphibian populations in lakes where trout have been exterminated aren’t doing so well.
Despite being spared from the predatory effects of trout, Mountain Yellow-legged frog numbers continue to decline in many alpine lakes due to a previously unknown type of fungus. Although the trout eradication program may or may not benefit the frogs in the long run, removing fish from the alpine ecosystem has paid big dividends to a wide variety of insect species such as mayflies and mosquitoes. Those particularly bothersome pests are now flourishing out of control in all of the lakes where trout have been removed. Unfortunately, our Fish and Wildlife agencies have bought into the lies of the radical environmentalists by calling these increased insect blooms “good”. Conservationists have convinced game managers that trout in alpine lakes are harmful to insect populations that other animals depend on as a food source.
US – The impact fish stocking has on aquatic insects in mountain lakes can be rapidly reversed by removing non-native trout, according to a study completed by U.S. Forest Service and University of California, Davis, scientists.
“These highly-mobile predators [trout] don’t naturally occur in small alpine lakes so they have significant top-down effects on ecosystems,” said Karen Pope, a Forest Service scientist at the Pacific Southwest Research Station and one of the study’s authors. “They prey upon aquatic insects that are also food for other insects, amphibians, birds and bats.”
As a result of these “studies”, trout removal is now being considered as a legitimate management policy for all alpine lakes that were historically fishless from the Shasta Trinity Alps to the Wind River Range in Wyoming.
It is a fact that the introduction of trout does change the ecosystem, as does the introduction of wolves. Man also has the ability to manipulate his environment, to limit or promote one particular species over another, to grow crops, plant trees, cut timber, and build homes. Calling any change “beneficial” or “harmful” has more to do with one’s personal value system than real science. Science can be used to document the effects of changes, but it cannot make value judgments.
It is also a fact that the radical “green” environmentalists have gotten away with imposing their own particular worldview and value judgments on the rest of society. Their uncompromising earth first religion states that man is the root of all evil and has no business modifying the environment in any way, shape, or form, especially in ways that may be of benefit to himself. Radical “greens” claim that “nature always knows best” and therefore the natural “pristine” conditions that existed before man altered the environment must be restored. Such claims are the exact opposite of common sense Biblical Stewardship.
In the very first book of the Bible, mankind was instructed by God to assume dominion over the earth. We were given the mandate to work the land and be fruitful. Biblical Stewardship teaches that although man has the authority to manipulate and extract resources from our environment, we will also be held accountable for activities that are irresponsible, wasteful, or destructive. While the Bible tells us to obey authority and not partake in illegal activities, practicing responsible stewardship has become increasingly difficult because we’ve allowed our government to be taken over by a ruling elite who have mandated that everyone accept their particular religious worldview.
Much to the dismay of the “Green Police”, there are many citizens who still cherish God given common sense and do not adhere to the radical environmental religion. The boldest of these have adopted some of the “monkey wrenching” tactics first employed by the radical environmentalists themselves. Today’s new breed of environmental activists head up into the Sierra Nevada range armed with plastic buckets. Seeking to reverse the effects of the biologically unsound trout eradication program, resistors of the New World Order are scooping up bucketfuls of trout fingerlings from lakes where the fish still manage to thrive and are transporting them to lakes that have been rendered “fish-less” by the green police.
I do not advocate that individuals break the law or go out and plant their favorite species anywhere they want to based on their own desires. But neither should we roll over and allow the radical environmentalists to continue making important natural resource decisions for us. Commen sense Biblical Stewardship entails altering the planet in responsible ways that protect and enhance the natural environment for the benefit of everyone. Following the radical environmental preservation agenda in an attempt to return the planet to primeval conditions is anti-human, anti-God, and just plain evil.
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.” “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.”
Romans 1:22-25 KJV