Boy Scouts: Gays Okay. Treehuggers Not So Much.

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=2654670">Anthony Berenyi</a>/Shutterstock


The board that governs the Boy Scouts of America plans to vote on Thursday on a proposal to lift the ban on gay members.

But while the organization may soon welcome gay scouts, they are apparently not so welcoming of treehuggers. The Center for Investigative Reporting posted a story this week on the Scouts booting out Kim Kuska, a naturalist and former biology teacher who been affiliated with the Scouts for 50 years, over his “obsession” with protecting the rare Dudley’s lousewort:

Since the 1970s, the Eagle Scout and adult Scout leader-turned-whistle-blower has worked to protect the plant from extinction at Camp Pico Blanco, a Boy Scout camp nestled in the mountains along the Little Sur River south of Monterey, Calif. The camp is home to nearly 50 percent of all known specimens of Dudley’s lousewort, a flowering fern-like plant found in only three places in the world.

But over the past four decades, Scout officials and camp staff have threatened its existence repeatedly by harvesting old-growth trees it needs to survive, crushing some of the few remaining plants and introducing potentially competitive species. Under state law, it is illegal to harm a plant that is classified as rare.

The camp also cut down several trees in the old-growth forest in 2011 without a permit, a Scout official acknowledged.

Kuska’s whistleblowing reportedly got him drummed out of the Scouts earlier this month. Read the whole story here.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.