Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?

'Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here...

- Glenn Frey/Don Henley, "The Last Resort"

By Jim Cornelius

"The small community of Camp Sherman located on the slopes of the Cascades in Central Oregon, is experiencing growth pains. Once the site of a handful of homesteads, the U.S. Forest Service estimates approximately 250,000 visitors to the Camp Sherman Store each year, with more than 200,000 vehicles going to and from Camp Sherman annually and an average daily count of more than 1,000 vehicles during the summer season."

That's from a report by Eric Belden in the July 2 edition of The Nugget... from 1980.

The anxieties of growth and change are nothing new in Sisters Country. They are, as Craig Rullman points out in The Bunkhouse Chronicle this week (page 23) part of the bigger story of the American West - indeed of frontiers everywhere. What's happening in Sisters is a phenomenon I call The Frontiersman's Paradox: We come to a wild, free, beautiful place, seeking an untrammeled life and a bit of economic prosperity - and our every action changes what we


This has been going on for a very long time, and in many places we have deemed a paradise. In the 18th century Kentucky was seen as a land of milk and honey. A backwoods preacher told his congregation: "Oh, my honeys! Heaven is a Kentucky of a place!" Settlers poured in. The Shawnee and other native peoples did not give up this fine hunting ground easily. Men and women were willing to fight for their piece of paradise - and for a good 25 years Kentucky was a bloody battleground.

Ted Franklin Belue closes his study, "The Hunters of Kentucky," with a depiction of the aged frontiersman Simon Kenton - who did as much as any single individual to wrest the land from its native inhabitants - gazing with bemusement at the civilization his work had wrought on a land he had entered when it was a kind of hunter's paradise:

"When old Kenton returned to Kentucky briefly from Ohio to visit, he hitched a wagon ride a few miles south of Limestone to take a sack of corn to a Washington gristmill. As David Hunter's team topped a rise, Hunter reined in momentarily. Kenton, musing and drawing on his pipe stem, gazed at the land before him, all clapboard cabins and barns and greening pastures and cattle and horses where once there were buffalo rattling in the canebrakes.

"'What a change. What a change' Kenton exclaimed, shaking his head in amazement.

"As the leather snapped and the wagon eased on, passing a certain spring flowing on land claimed by Hunter's father, Hunter's venerable passenger grinned and spun a few yarns about his adventures with (Daniel) Boone, but in the end, Kenton realized that the fabled island in the wilderness he once knew, explored, hunted, trapped out, and helped wrest from the Shawanoes was no more."

For decades, restless frontiersmen simply moved on when the land became - thanks to their own actions - too settled for their tastes. We no longer really have that option. "We have got to make it here."

We the people of Sisters know it's at a watershed moment (see related story, page 1). "Making it here" in the coming years is going to require balancing sometimes-competing values - vibrancy vs. peace and quiet; economic activity vs. traffic and population growth; affordability and accessibility vs. preservation and exclusivity. Sisters isn't what it used to be. It wasn't what it used to be in 1980, either. We can only determine what we're going to be - and only if we take on the work of planning, negotiating, and compromising required if we - and maybe our kids - are going to make it here.