Back to Publications

Can Recreational Conservationists Provide For a Mining Industry?

J. Michael McCloskey, Proceedings of 13th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1967)

The assigned topic suggests a serious inquiry into the relationships between the mining industry and recreational conservationists. However, as presented the title presumes too much. Recreational conservationists could as well ask the mining industry how it would provide for the nation's outdoor recreation needs. Obviously miners are expert in mining, not recreation; it would be presumptuous to ask them to provide a nationwide outdoor recreation plan. Similarly, we have no expertise that would qualify us to tell the mining industry its own business.

Clearly what is worth discussing is our mutual businessthe area where our own fields of expertise overlap. What I propose to explore is the extent of this overlap, as it appears to us. I hope this exploration will narrow the area of contention between us and put our relationships into better perspective. Before entering into this exploration, however, I think it is best, frankly, to recognize some of the semantic and conceptual barriers to effective communication.


Those involved in most enterprises have a high self-estimate of the social importance of the thing to which [66] they have chosen to devote themselves. I am sure this is true of the mining industry, and I know it is true of outdoor recreation. In our discussions with most commodity interests, we find that the self-estimate