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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