This past summer my wife and I vacationed in Banf, a small town in the Banf National Forest in Alberta, Canada. As we were driving between Calgary and Banff, we drove under several overpasses that looked like any other bridge, except that the top of the bridge was forested. I presumed correctly that these were built to create a corridor across the highway for wildlife.
Last week I wrote about the Wildlands Project, an initiative whose long-range goal was to perform rural cleansing in America. It would have eventually forced small town and rural populations into urban areas, allowing their property to go back to a natural state. At completion, there would be three areas left; wildlife areas, urban areas and transportation corridors between urban areas. The wildlife areas would be made strictly off-limits for human beings, effectively separating mankind from wildlife.
This seriously flawed but nonetheless serious plan came within hours of being implemented into law in 1993, and would have passed had it not been for one citizen who brought it to the attention of Congress.
We haven’t heard much about the Wildlands Project since, but it’s an idea that hasn’t died among environmentalists. It’s just taken on a different form.
The proponents of the Wildlands Project had little regard for the property rights of citizens. Had it succeeded, people would not have been forced off their land at gunpoint, but rather by a deliberate and long-ranging set of regulations that would create the demographics needed to make them willing to give up their property. All of this, of course, was under the guise that protecting wildlife was more important than property rights.
The movement to assault property rights in America was almost two decades old when the Wildlands Project failed. The United Nations began to formulate their land development policies as early as 1976. At the 1976 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, more commonly known as Habitat I, the concept that personal property was something that must be eliminated was introduced in its preamble, which read as follows:
“Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principle instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable…”
In December of 2016, H.R. 6448, the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2016, was introduced into Congress by Democrat Representative Donald Beyer from Virginia’s 8th congressional district. It began by stating, “To establish the National Wildlife Corridors Systems to provide for the protection and restoration of native fish, wildlife, and plant species and their habitats in the United States that have been diminished by habitat loss, degradation, fragmentation, and obstructions, and for other purposes…”. It states that “scientists estimate that one in five animal and plant species in the United States is at risk of extinction…”, that “the conservation of landscape corridors and hydrologic connectivity, where native fish, wildlife, and plant species and ecological processes can transition from one habitat to another, is critical to conserving native biodiversity…” and that “climate change is a significant threat to native fish, wildlife and plants. Conserving, restoring, and establishing new ecological connections to facilitate the shift of species into more suitable habitat is a key climate change adaptation strategy.”
The responsibility for implementing the wildlife corridors (which extend for thousands of miles) would be assigned to the Secretary of the Interior, but would also involve the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense and Transportation. They would be given rulemaking authority, or the ability to enact regulations without Congress, including “mitigating or removing human-caused barriers to native fish, wildlife, and plant species movement, including, but not limited to, power lines, roads, fences, dams, bridges, culverts, and other hydrologic obstructions”. In addition, they can “acquire land and interests in land, including permanent conservation easements, from willing donors and willing sellers.”
This, had it passed, and however well-intentioned its proponents are, would have been a very dangerous law to property rights. We need to watch to make certain it is not reintroduced, and if it is, see that it is defeated.