The following is a letter written to an environmental group based in the Adirondacks of Northern New York State. I have deleted the name of the organization in this reprint as its identity is irrelevant.

This organization is emblematic of most “environmental-ecology” groups which are increasingly pandering to the hunting market to the detriment of environment, ecology, and society.

People should be extremely selective about which group or groups to join. It would be wise to find out where these organizations stand on important issues such as hunting.

I, for one, find it difficult to lend my support to an environmental ecology group whose leaders lack convictions or the courage to support or to fight difficult issues.

Readers should be careful to distinguish between ecological beliefs and social and political expediency as it pertains to these groups. Let their supporters and potential supporters beware and investigate!

My letter is as follows:

I have been a loyal and enthusiastic member of your organization. It is with great sadness that I am letting my membership lapse and do not plan to renew it.

There are several reasons for my decision, and I believe that you should be aware of them.

First, I believe that you are increasingly becoming prone to compromising your original principles for the sake of gaining more “widespread support” from Adirondack residents. This has become increasingly clear in your publications as politicians, business people, and others with questionable environmental sensitivity are allotted space for their views.

You state that your purpose is to preserve and perpetuate the traditional Adirondack way of life. Maybe you have to say this to gain support from many “old time” Adirondackers.

But it is equally true that the traditional Adirondack way of life has been responsible for the rape of our environment and its wildlife. So here you have a direct contradiction, one which provides a basis for compromising your principles.

What is most needed is not social stagnation or retrogression, but a radical transformation of human consciousness which recognizes the intrinsic value of Nature and that people are part of it, not superior to it.

Third, and this is particularly disturbing, is that you are obviously trying to recruit more hunters into your ranks. This was apparent from the write-ups about some of the candidates prior to this year’s vote by your membership. It was even more apparent in the current publication where two hunters gave “testimonials.”

One, dressed in a camouflage suit, said that he would like the Adirondack environment preserved so that, among other things, he would be “able to see an eagle soar, and track a whitetail buck.”

Now, what does watching an eagle have to do with tracking, and presumably blasting the life out of a deer? Absolutely nothing to any rational person.

Regrettably, there are many questionably sane and
unquestionably irrational people. Why should your group give the appearance of promoting an activity which is biologically and ecologically destructive? An activity which infringes on the supposed constitutional rights of those people who would like to protect wildlife on their rural property, or who would simply like to experience solitude during the October and November time of mass madness.

I hate to see your organization, which started out with the noblest of intentions, become a haven for rednecks and good old boys who do not care about the intrinsic value of the Adirondack wilderness, but who simply want it “preserved” so that they may continue to engage in their destructive activities.

Now, please don’t write back and say that you simply want a diversity of environmental opinions among your membership. If you keep diluting your values where will it end? A gigantic wilderness snowmobile “ride-in” to gain funds?

It is worth noting that gaining “wider support” inevitably leads to a greater organizational bureaucracy which, in turn, results in a further dilution of original values. It also often leads to the infiltration of anti-environment people into an environmental group; people whose agenda is to actively stifle the effectiveness of the organization. It  is a vicious circle and one that is ultimately self-defeating.

It is because environmental groups which appear all too eager to compromise their original beliefs that cause many of us who really care about the earth and its life to become disenfranchised.

For these reasons I am letting my membership in your organization lapse. If and when I learn that you have reverted to your original ideals, I will consider renewing my membership.

Ron Baker is author of The American Hunting Myth. He homesteaded on 100 acres in the Adirondacks for over 27 years. Each hunting season the hunters trespassed to kill what Ron loved. Mr. Baker is Vice President of C.A.S.H. –Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting.


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561