We're hearing a lot about the failures of government and I am on that bandwagon - chronic runaway spending, the foolishness with Gibson guitars, delays for an energy project that helps poor people and lowers emissions, and I was one of only about four people critical of government bailouts but now a group of people on Wall Street have gotten downright conservative in their approach to what government should and should not be doing.  But because I like to stick a knife in all sacred cows, I have also been hard on environmentalists.  Unlike most independents who vote straight ticket for one party or another regardless of their registration, I am almost dead even (I went 66% Republican the last election rather than 50/50 but if you lived in a goofy, uber-progressive state like California, you would see its many flaws and vote for something else also on occasion too) so I don't rationalize people under a political umbrella, which has earned me a lot of enmity from science bloggers, who really only want to view things based on the way they happen to vote.

I'm an environmentalist, I am just not the anti-science hippie kind that waits obediently for whatever Sierra Club or Union of Concerned Scientists or Greenpeace tells me to believe.  I care about food, if I had my way I would grow, kill, clean and cook everything my family ate - but I puncture so-called 'organic' food for the myth it is, and resistance to GMOs is silly.

Yet sometimes we need to call out when things go right, and Spring Creek Canyon in Pennsylvania is an example.  

Spring Creek Canyon is 1,829 acres of land next to Rockview state prison and when PA Governor Ed Rendell announced it would be sold, there was a chance for a bureaucratic boondoggle.   Penn State is right there, for example, and Penn State is the kind of political bully you wouldn't think should exist when they use government money (just like it seems weird for government union employees with outstanding government health care and secure jobs to claim they are 'part of the 99%') but it certainly is - and they wanted Spring Creek Canyon to add to their 13,000 acres. 

But no one around the area wanted Penn State to have it.  To local people, one giant corporation is no different than another and Penn State's constant building did as much damage as any chemical factory.  One professor even disposed of cyanide down a drain, which killed the trout in Spring Creek and wiped out the Green Drake hatches.  

So a true grass roots effort sprung up.  Environmentalists broke ranks with their natural voting partners and took a stand against Penn State to protect the land sandwiched between two rapidly developing areas, the people spoke and government listened.  Instead of more student housing and whatever else, Penn State only got the 452 acres that were formerly prison farm fields and that can only be used for agriculture, the PA Fish and Boat Commission got Spring Creek itself, the PA Game Commission got the 1,211 acres of forests and Benner Township got 25 acres designated as a recreational area so people can bring their families , go for a nice hike and have lunch.

More people care about the environment when they are allowed to appreciate it and enjoy it.  This is a big win for hikers, fishermen, the local people, environmentalists and the government. Heck, even Penn State. In other words, it's a big win for democracy.