Former Forest Supervisor: Why I Resigned Over a Public Land Dispute
An essay by Gloria Flora tangled with this issue over 20 years ago. It was a case study in my graduate work, I met her right after she resigned, a very impressive woman of incredible intellect who gave up her retirement because of this crap.
"...The term cowboy welfare didnt materialize out of thin air. Grazing allotments on public land are privileges, not rights, subsidized by fees 93% cheaper than private pasture in the West. Many small and mid-sized ranching operations cant pencil out if they are not using subsidized grazing on public lands.
Thats an extremely stressful realization and a symptom of artificially controlled markets, corporate mergers of meat-packers (there are only four in the U.S.) and a globalized economic system that no longer rewards American values of pluck and boot-straps. Its not the fault of environmentalists, East Coast liberals or a federal agency. There are larger forces at work here. Fighting symptoms does not cure the disease.
A whole lot more at link...
It has an impressive philosophy behind it.
So much of what is presented to us for our consideration these days is extremely polarizing. You should be ALL THIS or else ALL THAT, and yet, the fact remains that usually the way that a solution will come about is by looking at the middle ground.
I also enjoyed following the links. Some very decent environmental groups were introduced to me via those links.
I hope everyone reads this, not because I posted it but because of the information and knowledge to be gained. It was brought to my attention by a close friend of Ms. Flora's.
As I said, I met her shortly after she retired, she is a petite firebrand and inspiration to anyone who has respect for civil servants.
It comports with many things I've known just by living in Oregon and having some tangential contact with the tension between public and private lands.
It's odd, though, that the author acknowledges that for many western ranchers, realizing that they're dependent on artificially controlled markets and the whims of meat packers, creates a great deal of stress for them. A lot of people who aren't ranchers are similarly situated, but there isn't a massive federal subsidy supporting them, no massive inter-agency cooperative efforts to succor them, and they're on a far more precarious financial footing than ranchers.
In addition, the same system that is keeping ranchers under such extreme stress doesn't treat others under even worse duress with the same kindly regard. When non-ranchers finally crack, they don't get the same hands-off treatment that ranchers get. Instead, they are brutally and violently put down at the first suggestion of dissatisfaction. Perhaps we'd see some progress toward a more just society if the same treatment the ranchers get was rendered to everyone on the edge? I note that the ranchers have gotten this consideration through an unrelenting program of non-cooperation, threats and violence toward government agencies and employees. I wonder if others could use these same tactics to carry their argument?
but I disagree that they made these gains through temper tantrums and threats of violence, negotiation and cooler heads solidified the actual policy.
It is wise to recall that the ranching industry came to the west largely upon invitation from the government to move west which would settle Indian country with Euro-Americans along with help ridding the landscape of predators and any other kind of "pest" identified.
Met a Gentleman who was a Forester in Southern Utah, similiar story. After thirty years and dealing with similar people,he had enough when the harassing of his family was just over whelming. He said the same about the D.C. Management,just protecting the land for the mineral extraction companies and Politically connected Ranchers.