Why? Some answers perhaps I will never know


What satisfaction does one get in defacing something historical that was drawn hundreds of years ago?

What goes through the head of someone ignoring a “no-burn” edict and doing so anyway, only to start a fire that as of this morning, had burned 36,000 acres of some of the most beautiful forest God ever created?

I don’t understand. I don’t get it.

Earlier this year the Sanilac Petroglyphs were vandalized when someone drew three images on the rock that contains the historic petroglyphs from hundreds of years ago.

“We are all deeply saddened by this disrespectful act,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center, which interprets the petroglyphs for the public at this state park near Cass City.

“The Sanilac Petroglyphs are one of the most important connections we have to our past within the region,” said Tribal Chief Frank Cloutier of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan.

Police and Department of Natural Resources officials still are seeking leads into the vandalism.

Earlier this month Diane and I vacationed in the Pacific Northwest, an area of the country we had never visited. During the trip we experienced nature at its best, from rugged ocean beaches to high mountain deserts, from tropical rain forests to rolling valleys and hills.

While there were many favorites on the trip, certainly one of the highlights would have been time spent in the Columbia River Gorge, viewing the many waterfalls and hiking some of the trails in that area. The scenery was gorgeous, the views breathtaking.

In retrospect we were blessed to have spent that day there when we did, as just two days later a wildfire had spread out of control in the gorge threatening historic structures, closing the area to the public and forcing the evacuation of many homeowners in that area. As of Friday, the original fire remained uncontained and, in fact, had flared back up Wednesday.

While no one has yet been arrested for starting the fire, police said they have been talking with a 15-year-old youth, and his parents, about the blaze. It is believed he and a group of friends were lighting illegal fireworks, with the suspect believed to have thrown a lighted smoke bomb into a ravine, which ignited groundcover in the gully. According to a witness, allegedly the youth were filming the event and laughing about their antics.

Again, I ask why would anyone blatantly do something so wrong, especially in an area where “no burning” bans had been in effect for several weeks?

Several days after the blaze started Diane and I sat in the Portland Airport awaiting our flight home, when we met a couple who had been forced to evacuate their home because of the blaze. Unable to return home, they were on their way to Cleveland to spend time with family.

Theirs was a sad story, and a sobering reality to the consequences of a careless and thoughtless act.

I just don’t understand, and probably never will.

It’s discouraging to know where once there was beauty, today there are ashes. Where once there was history, today there is disrespect.


Bill Speer can be reached via email at bspeer@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13.