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Commentaries and editorials

Give Fish a Chance

by Steven Evans
Lewiston Tribune, November 7, 2021

Give our fighting fish a fighting chance.

Paiting at Montana Capitol Building, 'Surrender of Chief Joseph, by American frontier painter Edgar Samuel Paxson. Lately, loyal members of a group I call Dam Nation are piling on the save-salmon-and-steelhead people.

The Dam Nation likes to paint a picture that shows a world where the lights go out at night, electric cars are forced to pull to the curb and Martha cannot finish supper because the can opener failed midway through its assigned task.

If our Northwest hydro production from more than 100 dams was represented by a dollar bill, how much would be sacrificed with the loss of the four lower Snake dams? Check the box marked 1-5 cents.

Dam Nation's best point is their attention to the fact that some rivers, like the Yukon, have no dams and declining salmon. That part is way true and point to the notion that there are many problems. But that fact does not exclude reservoirs, which of course are caused by man and worshipped by Dam Nation.

The enemy is industrial civilization with its attending often unforeseen consequences. Some dams are a good thing; too many are not.

One hundred years ago, a famous Western observer and fine artist, Charles M. Russell, wrote in his journal that civilization was Mother Nature's worst enemy because whenever it showed up, nature took a beating. If you do not know what I am writing about or who I am referring to, we should hang our heads in shame.

Let us collaborate and cooperate in a way that redefines progress and civilization -- and give our fighting fish a fighting chance.

Civilzation is nature's worst enemy. All wild things vanish when she comes. Where great forests once lived nothing stands but burned stumps -- a black shroud of death. The iron heel of civilization has stamped out nations of men, but it has never been able to wipe out pictures, and Paxson was one of the men gifted to make them.

-- Charles M. Russell, "An Appreciation of Edgar S. Paxson" part of a post-mortem tribute,
"Passing of Paxson, Montana Artist," MNA distributed 1/24/19, MHS microfilm: Jordan Gazette.

Steven Evans, Lapwai
Give Fish a Chance
Lewiston Tribune, November 7, 2021

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