Saturation

McPhee’s Com­ing Into The Coun­try has begun to get more inter­est­ing in the sec­ond half…

On page 261* is this:

In a good fish year, two moose, two hun­dred ducks, and sev­en­ty-five quarts of king salmon will be plen­ty for one riv­er cou­ple. The upper Yukon now is con­sid­ered “full,” sat­u­rat­ed with set­tlers, all space reserved – rough­ly one per­son for every five miles.

One per­son for every five miles is con­sid­ered sat­u­ra­tion. I guess because if things get more crowd­ed a need for a wee bit of gov­ern­ment arises.

Just pri­or to the above is an account of a near­ly week long gath­er­ing of “riv­er peo­ple” for the 1976 ver­nal equinox.

It was a coun­cil of war and a par­ty, too – a time of talk and music, no booze – a way to keep con­tacts, to exchange opin­ions and information.

Then just a bit fur­ther on:

They planned a net­work of cab­ins for win­ter trav­el. They tried, with no suc­cess, to agree on a a com­mu­nal bulk food order, and on a way to admin­is­ter com­mon own­er­ship of a truck for use in Eagle. Their desire to be “trib­al” does not approach in strength their need to be self-reliant.

There always have been and always will be peo­ple who feel crowd­ed when the den­si­ty goes beyond a cou­ple of square miles per per­son. Peo­ple who want to sur­vive or fail to sur­vive on their own. Peo­ple who are unable to come to an agree­ment on a com­mu­nal bulk food order. There has always been a wilder­ness for such peo­ple to go to. Sure­ly those days are com­ing to an end. The avail­able wilder­ness is now all set aside for parks, for min­ing, for drilling, for natives.

Such a life will soon be avail­able, if not already, only to those wealthy enough to buy all the need­ed land.

*Yes, I am a slow reader.

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