Yesterday, we discussed this massive burden Mark Rey has just dropped on Montana counties in the form of access to remote second home sites. This is an indication that Obama may be good on land use issues.

Earlier he blasted the Cline Mine and related proposals in British Columbia that threaten Montana’s Flathead River and Glacier National Park.

Obama lambastes closed-door Plum Creek land talks. By Jennifer McKee. Missoulian State Bureau

July 10 more . . . Plum  Creek — a low-hanging fruit. Obama Chimes In on Plum Creek, Forest Service Agreement. By Matthew Frank. New West.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

105 Responses to Obama lambastes closed-door Plum Creek land talks

  1. avatar Roy says:

    Obama has little if any understanding of this issue. He’s just throwing it around to score some political points, since Montana is in “play”. Just like he has abandoned the extreme left after the primary and has developed a more moderate approach for the general election. Politics is politics, and Obama is just a politician.

    This comment of Obama’s is telling……”We should be working to conserve these lands permanently so that future generations of Americans can enjoy them to hunt, fish, hike and camp.” Uh, Obama, didn’t you hear? 320,000 acres of remote access checkerboarded Plum Creek land just was. Federal and state dollars where used and the public was kept out of those close door talks as well.

    A number of these acres the Nature Concervancy plans to sell back to private interests with developement restrictions attached to the land. No problem there. But will these properties continue to be open to public hunting, fishing, hiking and camping like Obama points to, just as Plum Creek has allowed the public to do in the past? Don’t know, the whole deal has been very hush hush. Just like Rey’s negotiations with Plum Creek have been.

  2. avatar mikarooni says:

    Roy, you’re wrong. Obama is doing just exactly what he should be doing, showing support for people, including politicians, who are trying to do the right thing for the long-term future of Montana without getting swiftboated by the rightwing lunatic fringe in the process. More specific to this forum, I don’t believe your poorly hidden effort to demoralize us, baffle us with BS, and fragment our votes for November will work this time. Things have gotten too bad this time around and I am beginning to have some hope that the GOP/NRA/KKK machine will be coughed up and spit out like the ball of rancid grease that it has allowed itself to become. Take it easy and have a nice day.

  3. On most of these local issues, national politicians do not know the details. We can’t really expect them to.

    The important thing is the position they take trying to score the points.

    Now will Montana hear from McCain, and who will he support? . . . the same as Obama or Plum Creek second home subdivisions for out-of-state rich people?

    This also shows the importance of not having a one-party state. When a state a foregone conclusion for either party, that party has no electoral incentive to do anything to address that state’s issues.

    Here in Idaho, where I live, national politicians never bother.

  4. avatar Steve C says:

    It is nice to hear a national politician talk about any of these issues as they have been ignored for the past 7 years. Any reservations that I had about voting for him are slowly disappearing. It does seem a tiny bit like pandering where he is speaking for a hunting group, but I’ll take what I can get (not as blatant as Kerry going out hunting). It would be nice to have a politician stand up for land preservation for the sake of preservation without trying to please one special interest group or another.

  5. avatar JB says:

    “Here in Idaho, where I live, national politicians never bother.”

    Ralph, it was just as bad in Utah. I knew I was in a one party state when the local public radio commentators openly laughed at the chances of the one democrat running in one particular race (there were 8 Republicans).

  6. avatar Mike says:

    I think Roy has been hitting the crack pipe. The Seeley-Swan is a really special place, some of the last lynx and grizz habitat in the lower 48. Saving a few hundred thousands acres and letting another few hundred thousand become subdivisions is irresponsible. You don’t subdivide a place like that.

    Obama is right on the money,and this only proves that his adminsitration will thankfully be a complete reversal of the devestating Bush public lands policy.

  7. avatar Mike says:

    Steve- the fact that he even knows about the Plum Creek backdoor deal tells you he’s on the right track concerning public lands.

    McCain doesn’t even know the price of gas.

    Obama is the real deal.

  8. avatar Roy says:

    Truth be told Ralph, most of the rich out of state second/third trophy home buyers coming here right now are of the same stripe as your good friend Jon’s clientele. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Blaine county the only Idaho county to go blue in the last national election? Doesn’t John Kerry own a big thirdrd or fourth home there (or least his wife owns it)? How about Jackson’s Teton County in Wyoming? How did they vote? Montana is getting bluer and bluer every year with the growing migration to our state. There’s another good editorial in the 7/9 Missoulian by Swan Valley resident Melanie Parker, dealing with this land purchase. She states that she prefers a traditional Montana over the likes of a Jackson Hole, Aspen, or Big Sky. I think most Montanan’s would agree.

    Just think however. A few more trophy home subdivisions in Montana and Obama might be able to pull it off here. Part of me would like to see Obama win this fall, if nothing more than to be able to listen to you guy’s grumble about how disappointing a President he made. But that’s the selfish part.

    Blaine County, Idaho is different from the various kinds of second home buyers. You can’t generalize. Northern Idaho immigrants, many of them “equity refugees,” have tended to be strongly Republican, turning what were once working class Democratic counties into Republican strongholds. This is one of the reasons Idaho moved from being a state where Democrats could hold the governor’s office for 20 years straight to a Republican lake
    . Ralph Maughan

  9. avatar Roy says:

    Here’s a link to Melanie’s opinion piece for those who wish to read it. It’s a good one. http://missoulian.com/articles/2008/07/10/opinion/guest/guest48.txt

    Roy, Melanie’s piece isn’t about the Mark Rey part of the issue. It’s about the “great deal” the Nature Conservancy and other groups are claiming to have made
    . Ralph Maughan

  10. avatar JB says:

    “Part of me would like to see Obama win this fall, if nothing more than to be able to listen to you guy’s grumble about how disappointing a President he made. But that’s the selfish part.”

    I suspect folks here will grumble no matter who is elected; heck, I consider it part of my civic duty to make noise if I think a politician is making the wrong decision.

    Funny, I made a similar comment about Bush before the last election (i.e. I almost hope he gets elected; that’ll teach the conservatives a lesson). Apparently I was wrong. You don’t appear to have learned a thing.

  11. avatar john weis says:

    Uhh Roy, you said: … most of the rich out of state second/third trophy home buyers coming here right now are of the same stripe as your good friend Jon’s clientele. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Blaine county the only Idaho county to go blue in the last national election?”””

    Maybe Montana has a special voting system but places I have lived only let you vote in one location. Having a second or third trophy home in Montana doesn’t mean those captains of industry that you claim are liberals will actually vote in Montana. They will save their votes to keep Lieberman in office in Conn. If you are seeing a change in voting demographics that is because people are moving into Montana (and Idaho) and making it their permanent residence, and those people seem to more liberal than the past county residents. Maybe you should pass a law to keep those Obama fans out of your state.

  12. avatar vicki says:

    You can’t take one incident and decide the world’s green future. Obama may be a great leader and head the country straight to self reliance and a greener life. He may not, time will be the proof.
    However, Roy, like it or not, that was more progressive thinking than we’ve seen from a potential president/vice president for a while. (I leave Gore out because he never really had a chance.) If, that is, you have saving the environment in mind.
    You can’t expect perfection, but we should all be glad when we see concern at all.
    Unlike GHWB, Obama may see the need for change as more substaintial than the need to make oil barons happy.
    If they make plans to conserve the land at all, it is better than turning the land over to be developed with no limitations.
    Perhaps there will be less hunting, fishing, etc. Perhaps not. Wither way, if you sold it all off in 1/2 acre parcels, running power to each house and dropping roads in left and right, do you really think you’d get much hunting done with success?

  13. avatar vicki says:

    p.s. Incase you haven’t noticed Roy, a lot of those star studded Hollywood escapees are green thinkers. I see reports all the time of movie stars having homes that are far greener than their neighbors. If some one is going to build, I’d prefer a green actor over a lot of other options.

  14. avatar Roy says:

    Ralph,

    I agree with every bit of Melanie’s piece. Did you read the parts about the logging agreement signed between the conservation groups and PC? Did you read about the West’s conversion of ranching, farming, and logging communities into gated Sun Valley type communities? Did you read about the free public access Plum Creek has provided Montanan’s to their lands?

    You guy’s oppose grazing on public lands. Do you oppose timber harvests on public lands as well? This deal provides for that.

  15. avatar Roy says:

    Vicki,

    If the choice is having a green hollywood actor living in their “green” 20,000 sg ft home next door, or a simple rancher or woodsman living in their modest “ungreen” 1500 sq ft home, I think I’ll go with “ungreen”

  16. avatar Catbestland says:

    Vicki,

    I agree, there is a developement immediately next to me that is being done in as eco-healthy manner as possible. It consists of 6000 acres with about 1200 residences clustered into small acreage tracts of mulitmillion dollar homes and some condos. There is of course the token golf course. However, 3000 acres remain natural with the a few hiking trails and bridle paths. The entire local community was amazed to see that they installed a water deliver system all the way from Montrose about 30 miles away. They had to build 3 pumping stations to get that water up the mountain. The development is called Cornerstone Colorado. Check it out on the web.
    The alternative to this developement would have been that the owner would have sold all of that land off in 40 acre tracts and there would have been 150 new wells dug on the mountain. Immagine what a strain that would have put on an already delicate ecosystem. The land had once been a cattle ranch and we are still suffering the effects of that opperation. Now that the cows are gone even the old timers are saying that they have never seen as many deer and elk in the area. I think the developement is a much better alternative than the cattle opperation or the 150 individual mini-ranches

  17. avatar Roy says:

    Hey Ralph. You ever read the NewWest magazine? It’s packed full of the standard trophy home real estate advertisements. How do they square that with article you linked to?

  18. avatar Roy says:

    John, you said….

    “Maybe you should pass a law to keep those Obama fans out of your state.”

    No law needed. Couple bad winters in a row and they leave on their own.

  19. avatar Roy says:

    Thanks Cat for a qreat example of what Montana is trying to avoid.

  20. avatar Catbestland says:

    Roy,

    Yes Roy, it is clear that Montana is trying to avoid healthy wildlife populations, balanced ecosystems and prosperity for anyone or anything other than ranchers.

  21. Roy, you’re on a roll this morning . . . . !

    I link to all kinds of places. A link to an article doesn’t mean I want everyone to buy the Viagra in the ad next to it 😉

  22. Roy, on green hollywood actors versus simple ranchers:

    1. Is that a false dilemma?

    2. Isn’t a little strange to make a class war kind of argument between two groups far above the lower classes?

    However, on No. 2, I think there’s a huge issue that environmentalists ignore at their peril, and that is how a lot of environmental policies in Greater Yellowstone have had the effect of most favoring the uber rich; that hasn’t drawn the populist ire one might think it would because it often comes at the expense of other rich people or the upper middle class. However, it exists. When the rich control the view, they are all the happier (like Rockefeller long before them) to support public land ownership so long as they can control the rest.

    When I moved to Yellowstone – if I didn’t go headlong into activism – I was going to write an analogous history to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, something like A People’s History of Yellowstone. I expected not to find much of anything outside of BFC, a few employee protests in the 1890s, etc. One interesting note was that there was a protest of cattlemen against the protection of Jackson Hole – they ran a symbolic cattle drive across lands now in Grand Teton National Park. If these men had any point at all was that there was a bigger fish at work swallowing up the smaller fish, that something in the process of the supposed democracy had gone very wrong.

    If protecting wildlife is about protecting those who are being wrongly oppressed by our society, then protecting wildlife also can’t be a guise for protecting the wealthiest in society as well. We cannot perpetrate one kind of oppression just because it seems to mean well for resolving another kind. It would be like trying to plug one leak in a dam when there are many cracks.

    We have to take seriously the larger context of Greater Yellowstone, how it came to be, who is allowed to be here, and who controls it. That means a further look at class (it also means looking at race – something even less popular to consider but no less true) across the board. The ranchers have also benefited from privilege. We all have. How does protection of wildlife – the most clearly oppressed beings in this area – square with the larger context of injustice in society.

    And, where do we start?

    I’ll offer one thought related to the Obama question. It doesn’t start with worrying about the next Administration. Both administrations will not change any of the dynamics fundamentally. Yes, we may be a little better in this area with one president, a little worse with another, but the fundamentals are all the same. The consequences of our success due to one set of policies will produce negative ones elsewhere (as in the way Clinton was good for stopping gold mines in Yellowstone only so that another area might get the shaft). If Obama has one thing going for him isn’t in policy but in process – in allowing people to believe that people can be part of their own empowerment, can make the changes they’d like to see. The problem is they are doing that in the service of Obama and not into the social injustices that exist. However, if these people transform their energies now going to the sinkhole of a campaign into social activism, then the fundamentals shift. But, the hope then isn’t whether Obama wins or loses, but whether the movement he has created has the sense to move away from electoral politics and into the things we are talking about. Nothing helps destroy class hierarchy more than people actually working together and believing that grassroots dynamics is the true vehicle of change.

    Because, right now, all we have are rich people – some of us tell us to “go green” – some of them living on ranches and belonging to associations telling us that the buffalo and elk and wolves and bears all need to die. Some are richer than others – some don’t think they’re rich – but when you look at it compared to what you see at Pine Ridge, what you see even on the streets of Bozeman that no one dares to notice – you realize that we are getting worked up about the class jealousies of people who are way out of touch with what’s happening beneath their noses.

    We can’t let the wildlife question be solved by these groups – and if we are part of these groups – we must do everything we can to make sure that we are disowning our part in this dynamic.

  23. Jim,

    That’s a very thoughtful comment.

    I just want to make one side comment. One of the most important differences between Obama and McCain has little to do with their broad perspectives. It’s who gets appointed to the administrative positions.

    Who will replace Mark Rey, for example? During the Carter Administration this position was held by a person from the Wilderness Society, not a timber lobbyist like Rey.

    McCain will appoint people similar to Bush, although maybe a bit more honest and obedient to the rule of law. Obama will appoint or nominate Democrats.

    The assistant secretaries and the deputy assistant secretaries are one of the most critical things for anyone concerned with a policy arena.

  24. avatar mikarooni says:

    Ralph,

    Roy is really not adding anything here; in fact, his postings are looking a little like those of a paid political shill and, at best, he’s reminding me of Marion Dickinson. You might want to at least start to think about blocking him from the site.

  25. avatar Mike says:

    “It consists of 6000 acres with about 1200 residences clustered into small acreage tracts of mulitmillion dollar homes and some condos. The alternative to this developement would have been that the owner would have sold all of that land off in 40 acre tracts and there would have been 150 new wells dug on the mountain. Immagine what a strain that would have put on an already delicate ecosystem. The land had once been a cattle ranch and we are still suffering the effects of that opperation. Now that the cows are gone even the old timers are saying that they have never seen as many deer and elk in the area. I think the developement is a much better alternative than the cattle opperation or the 150 individual mini-ranches”

    I’d much rather have 150 mini ranches on 40 acres than 1200 residences with golf courses.

    What is the fascination with moving next to your favorite wilderness area? Do people relaize that when they move there and subdivide, it ruins the very thing they love about it? Greens are more guilty of this than anything. What’s wrong with a tent? You can camp anywhere you want in the national forest. These just aren’t rich Repubs going up and developing lands in and near national forests, these are greens as well.

    You want to enjoy the woods and your a conservationist?Get a ncie tent and get yourself a Toyota Yaris. Very, VERY few people put their money with their mouths are.

  26. avatar Roy says:

    Here’s another good example of the changing political landscape in Montana from this mornings LTTE section. Bill is a retired aerospace engineer who frequently shares his wisdom with us since moving here a year or two ago from California.

    Support Obama’s fix, senators

    Dear Sens. Baucus and Tester:

    People will continue to retire to Montana, as I myself did in Flathead County. It comes about because they vacationed here to view grizzly bears in Glacier and Yellowstone national parks and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and fell in love with Montana. Soon enough, they will become a very large voting bloc, and you will need to pay special attention to their needs, along with the needs of the already existing local population of retirees who cannot afford to leave Montana when they retire.

    The expectation of the “newcomers” is that Montana has a low cost of living and they can live out their lives on their Social Security benefits here. What they will ultimately discover is that Social Security benefits are falling behind the ever-increasing costs of fuel and food and they cannot make it. Being retired (old age discrimination) and being “outsiders” (non-natives of Montana) they will discover that they are unemployable if and when they ever need to supplement their benefits.

    There are not many incomes in Montana that exceed the $250,000-a-year threshold that Sen. Barack Obama wants to use to increase taxes, while giving a tax break to those below that threshold. He would also increase the Social Security contribution from wages threshold to $102,000 a year in order to increase monies for Social Security benefits, which would not affect many Montanans’ incomes either.

    Why not step up and be supportive of these tax changes in order to forestall an impending crisis here of an increasing retiree population that will be in jeopardy of home foreclosures and will develop welfare needs and reliance on food stamps? And, why not lobby among your fellow members in Congress to increase Social Security benefits to keep up with rising costs of living?

    Bill Baum, Kalispell

  27. avatar Catbestland says:

    Mike,

    My point is that the land was going to be sold anyway. I think it is better to see it developed into an environmentally sound community of part time residents than into 150 mini ranches who will drill 150 new wells to further deplete the already compromised (thanks to the former cattle opperation) water sources. Not to mention these mini-ranches would probably bring with them their own cattle opperations. No cattle are allowed in the development. There is a horse facility, but you can’t keep them at your own place.

    The development was required to build a water delivery system from the count supply. They had to build and maintain the county roads leading to the development. Also the first thing they did was remove hundreds of miles of barb wire (a major threat to wildlife especially young deer and elk) and mitigate noxious weed infestation and wildfire proned hotspots, all of these problems are a result of the formerly existing cattle opperation.

    As mentioned before wildlife is more abundant than when it was a cattle ranch. So yes, properly planned communities can be MUCH better for the environment than ranching opperations. I’ll take the environmentally conscious neighbors anyday over 150 small cattle outfits.

  28. avatar Mike says:

    ++My point is that the land was going to be sold anyway. I think it is better to see it developed into an environmentally sound community of part time residents than into 150 mini ranches who will drill 150 new wells to further deplete the already compromised (thanks to the former cattle opperation) water sources. ++

    I disagree. If you are spending less than one month a year at your cabin that you built, why did you build it? What are you trying to accomplich by developing wildlands? Why is there a road system in place?

    we are talking more garages, more ATV’s, more people leaving out garbage so bears can get shot, more energy consumption, more pollution,.

    I don’t see a 1200 lot subdivision of par time homes as an environmentally sound project. I see it as a waste.

    Trust me, these views have not made me the most popular person lately because most of the people buying these properites love nature. But it’s the truth. If you want to be close to nature, buy a Yaris and a nice tent. There’s no need for a new cabin bordering the Absaroka Beartotoh wilderness in a brand spanking new subdivision.

    ++The development was required to build a water delivery system from the count supply. They had to build and maintain the county roads leading to the development. Also the first thing they did was remove hundreds of miles of barb wire (a major threat to wildlife especially young deer and elk) and mitigate noxious weed infestation and wildfire proned hotspots, all of these problems are a result of the formerly existing cattle opperation.

    As mentioned before wildlife is more abundant than when it was a cattle ranch. So yes, properly planned communities can be MUCH better for the environment than ranching opperations. I’ll take the environmentally conscious neighbors anyday over 150 small cattle outfits.++

    To each his own. Personally, I’ll take the less light pollution, fewer ATV’s and lower population densities of the ranchers over subdivisions any day of the week. the Nature Conservancy or the USFS could buy those properites and restore them.

    Once it’s a subdivision, it’s over. Forget about it.

  29. One of the prerequisites of moving to this area was that I refuse to live in a subdivision of any kind, except the ones that originally founded the town.

    And, yet, there’s nothing to feel self righteous about – almost all of the West is an ill gotten gain; being there is the living present of a history of persecution and destruction.

    The point is that in today’s society, none of us has our hands clean. We all are victims and beneficiaries of it. What now, then? What do we all who are tainted do?

    When things are presented as a false choice between the greens and the not-so-greens, we won’t get anywhere. A pox on all our houses if we think we’re doing so great.

    I just hiked with my baby up Leverich Canyon, walked by an old miner’s cabin, up to an old logging road – not too many people. It was beautiful, and it was not. We seem hopelessly between connection and disconnection with the land – building into it, wanting to be there, as is our nature, and then feeling entitled to it all the same, so much so that we rape it and divide it up. “Private Property” “No Trespassing” signs everywhere; barbed wire fences; and yet some of the most beautiful wildflowers, canyons, and forests you have ever seen.

    That disconnect – the paradoxes and the ironies – tells me we need a radical shift in the way we view these things. Humans will go to wild places, they will manipulate wild places, and they always will. But, will they feel entitled to own those places and have them serve their will. When I look at it that way, I don’t see a damn bit of difference between a green and a rancher – who won’t disown themselves from the land they use. It’s not that they use it; it’s that they set the rules of use – it’s that it’s theirs and not someone else’s. That’s always going to leave us feeling ambivalent if we really stop and think about it – much the way I feel about Obama (a man who talks about the ground up, but is running for the most authoritarian position in the world).

    It’s not green v. non-green; it’s about us versus each other, the land, and the animals and why we set up these unnecessary fences.

    Jim

    P.S. Ralph. No doubt that the key appointments will bear different fruits depending on who is president on particular issues; I just don’t believe that amounts to more than alleviating a few of the symptoms of our distress. Politicians and governments are the last to move. Instead, we must move them; and the problem with electoral politics is the hope that they will move us. In Obama’s better moments, he actually calls on as much from society at large – no doubt influenced by his days as a community organizer – but it remains to be seen whether his followers actually are taking him at his word (perhaps, there are signs in the rebellion over the FISA legislation – but for the most part, I sense people are looking for a savior from Republican rule without recognizing the salvation is not in Obama but in the movement they might have put together.)

  30. avatar Roy says:

    Mikarooni,

    Someone challenges your limited thinking just a little bit and you want to censor them. Why? I’m thinking Ralph actually enjoys having someone up on the issues keeping him honest from time to time. I give him a little grief…..he gives it right back. It’s called a dialogue. Give it a try. You might even learn something from someone with a different point of view than yours.

  31. avatar Catbestland says:

    Mike,

    The likelihood of having more ATV’s light pollution and opopulation densities is far greater with those mini-ranches that a high end development. There are no covenants to prohibit these kinds of nuisance. Each one will have his motion detected flood lights beamed on his barn to protect his pet ponies from predators. Also there is the probability that these individual mini-ranches will be subdivided into smaller less eco-friendly subdivisions. Nature Conservancy is never going to buy semi developed mini-ranches.

    The best thing that has happened to this area is that the cattle are gone. It took a high end development that left plenty of green space for wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy, to accomplish that.

  32. avatar AJ says:

    “Once it’s a subdivision, it’s over. Forget about it.”

    unless it’s in California….then it’s toast!!

  33. avatar JB says:

    Roy,

    You began the comments on this thread by criticizing Obama for making a policy call that–as far as I can tell–you agree with. Your comments suggest you’re grasping at straws here in a desperate attempt to dissuade readers from voting Democratic. The problem is the alternative. Jon McCain may be a “maverick” but his policies are EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE. Personally, I don’t vote based on (1) who I trust, (2) who I could drink a beer with, or (3) party affiliation (Ronald Reagan is a good example of why #1 doesn’t work, and G.W. Bush is a great example of why #2 doesn’t work). I vote for a the candidate whom I agree with most. Based on this criteria, Obama wins, hands down.

    P.S. – I voted for McCain in the Michigan primary when he ran against Bush in 2000 (which he won). Obama is the better man for the job.

  34. avatar Wyo Native says:

    JB,

    John McCain is NOT an Extreme Conservative, he is a Republican. There is a VERY Big Difference. Shoot he is only a couple of policies away from being an Extreme Liberal (Iraq War, and Taxes).

    Cap and Trade, refusing to drill in ANWR, Illegal Imigration, McCain Feingold, and even the Iraq War are policies of his that I would not consider Extremely Conservative. Especially when compared to people like Ron Paul ot Bob Barr who ARE Extremely Conservative.

  35. Wyo Native,

    I think conservatives are having an identity crisis. I mean there are the neocons, the paleocons, the conservative liberatarians (Bob Barr), the religious conservatives, and more.

  36. avatar Mike says:

    ++Mike,The likelihood of having more ATV’s light pollution and opopulation densities is far greater with those mini-ranches that a high end development. There are no covenants to prohibit these kinds of nuisance. ++

    Wouldn’t the odds of illegal ATV’ers increase with 1200 homes versus 150?

    ++
    Each one will have his motion detected flood lights beamed on his barn to protect his pet ponies from predators. ++

    And the 1200 homeowners will have their lights on creating some nice light pollution where you could once see the milky way.

    ++
    Also there is the probability that these individual mini-ranches will be subdivided into smaller less eco-friendly subdivisions. Nature Conservancy is never going to buy semi developed mini-ranches. ++

    If there are enough intact pieces it’s possible.

    ++The best thing that has happened to this area is that the cattle are gone. It took a high end development that left plenty of green space for wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy, to accomplish that.++

    Well, I think we’ve found the solution. Let’s build subdivisions, displace lynx, wolverine and grizzly so we can get the cows out.

  37. avatar JB says:

    Wyo Native:

    (1) Tax breaks for the rich, (2) take money away from social programs and give it to the military, (3) supports repealing Roe v. Wade, (4) voted against MLK holiday back in ’83, (5) supports 10 commandments and prayer in schools, (6) pro death penalty and prisons… I could go on, but what’s the point. I’ll give you that John McCain is no G.W. Bush–which is why I voted for him back in 2000–but he’s still waaaay too conservative for me.

  38. avatar Mike says:

    I know it’s a tough pill to swallow folks, but driving around in an SUV or big pickup, and owning secondary cabins in our favorite scenic locations kind of makes us complete hypocrites in terms of conservation beliefs.

  39. avatar vicki says:

    Okay folks, the average retiree moving to Montana is not your usual SSI dependant person. They have more income than the average person does, and therefore more monies to make greener homes.
    If the live there one month or twelve, vthe and is just as developed. I say let the neighbor be home less, as long as how the developement is done is friendlier than the alternative. Green develoement for part timers or cow dung filled developements full time, hummmn , I’d say by cows in a second.
    I don’t know who said Montana’s cost of living was lower, but I can tell you that reports show housing is inflated and per capita income continues to be low. Yep, sounds like milk and honey to people getting by month to month on SSI, sarcasm intended.
    Even if they got a cheaper house, they pay more for food, and to drive back and forth to healthcare facilities.
    You can’t figure that people in their twilight years can , in general, hurdle through snowbanks hip high, shovel a mile long drive way, or risk being an hour away from the nearest hospital. So, the people buying in these areas are far more likely to be wealthy enough to go green.
    These people would more likely visit their house part time to commune with nature…fall in love with the elk and bears…so they will more likely put their money where their newly green hearts are!!!! Conservation.
    You can also bank on people moving there without that big bank account will be more centered around cities and urban areas, as income is low and job opportunities low, they’ll need to be closer to work and can afford only a short commute.
    Do I think we should develope the area? No, absolutely not. But if we are going to, let’s do it so that it is more eco-smart.
    My dad used to ask me, “Vicki, if you put ‘WANT’ in one hand, and ‘SH*T” in the other, which do you think will fill up faster?” Well, if one of those hands has cattle in it, i’d say the sh*t would overflow pretty fast. Toss that possibility out and you can get a lot closer to a balance.
    Cat,
    I agree!!!

  40. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Ralph,

    This election cycle I will agree with you on a lack of identity with in the Conservative faction.

    I personally (as well as many fellow Wyomingites) fall between a Teddy Roosevelt type of Conservative who believes in Natural Resource Conservation and Non-Monopolized Capitalism and a Conservative Libertarian, who believes in Small Government, Low Taxes for Everyone, Seperation of Church and State, and Freedom and Independance from the Government Bureaucracy. Obviously I will have a hard time finding the right candidate for my values this year, LOL.

    JB, I think our difference in opinion in a Conservative is based off of geographic location, LOL. IMHO McCain is borderline Liberal and Obama is border line Marxist.

    Anyway back the the topic of this thread. I think alot of you may have been fooled if you really think Obama gives a damn concerning the Plum Creek Land deal. He knows absolutely nothing concerning western issues. And the only reason he mentioned this deal was Political Expediency, because he was campaigning in Montana over the 4th and some Montana Politician told him that he may earn a few brownie points by mentioning these talks.

  41. avatar vicki says:

    p.s. If Obama pushes towards conservation, and appoints people who will too, he get’s my vote. And since it’s looking more and more like his running mate may have ovaries, I’d say he will get enough votes to win with or without Montana behind him. Especially since the “greenies” down in California have more votes to contribute.

  42. avatar Mike says:

    ++Green develoement for part timers or cow dung filled developements full time, hummmn , I’d say by cows in a second++

    I have to question where you guys live if this is your outlook. Sprawl is *the end*, wether “eco friendly” or not.

    I live in the suburbs of Chicago. There are no open spaces because of all the sprawl. I see how it stretches out and consumes everything. There’s nothing smart about it.

    Montana has always managed to maintain it’s grizzly and wolverines *with* ranchers. A grizzly can cross a ranch, but not a subdivision. Why would you be for propogating subdivisions in habitat were large predators require lots of space? You are effectively putting up a barrier. There’s nothing “eco friendly” about a 1200 residence subdivision no matter how you spin it. People would be putting out the usual bird feeders and bears would get shot. Lynx would be displaced and forests would be logged. Most garages would have ATV’s. Soon, those that didn’t visit enough to justify there new McMansion cabins will be renting them out, making sure that there is plenty of illegal ATV activity. Oh, don’t forget about poaching – especially those who like to setup a bait pile and shoot from their residence.

    And hey, this area needs a store! So lets set up a strip mall and a couple gas stations(ones that leave their bright flood lights on all night, blocking the night sky).

    Then toss in the fact that the county will have to protect these second homes from forest fires, driving up taxes for locals who live close to town to fight fires for people who “love nature” and “wanted a piece of it for themselves” only to end up destroying what they liked about the place to begin with. I’ve seen it here, and I’ve *really* seen it in Northern Wisconsin, which is a complete shame. Places that were so amazing in Northern Wisconsin are now nothing but strip malls and gas stations with cabins everywhere you look.

    So instead of actually enjoying the outdoors, these people spend their time there fixing crap on their property, mucking around with pointless projects, worrying about fires, insurance and bears being near their kids, when they could have just bought a tent and gone to any campground in the national forest with the best views of your choosing and actually enjoy nature 100% without all the B.S.

    Nothing says “game over” than wall to wall subdivsions. It’s the end of the grizzly, the end of the wolverine, and the end of the lynx. It’s a barrier.

  43. avatar Catbestland says:

    Mike,

    Illegal ATVs, nuisance light sources, dozens of small cattle opperations, etc,. In a covenanted community you will not have these problems especially if the residents are only there a few weeks out of the year. These people don’t have ATVs, they have juaguars. In this particular subdivision no house is even allowed to break the surface of the ridgeline or interfere with the next ones view of the mountains. Probably 1/3 of those 1200 residents live in condos and 3000 acres are designated wildlife preserve. Thats a lot more than the ranchers who shot the elk for eating their hay stores provided. The proof is in the pudding. We have more wildlife now than when it was a cattle ranch.

  44. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Mike, everything you describe is why I somewhat tolerate public land grazing. Don’t get me wrong I grit my teeth and shake my head everytime I run into livestock in the Wyoming and Salt Ranges, especially during hunting seasons. But I tolerate it because most of Wyoming’s ranchers are not big corporate operations and they do not own enough land to operate their ranches year round.

    I know many of you would say well if you can’t operate your ranch without PLG you should get out of the ranching buisness. Well, almost everytime a rancher in western Wyoming gets out of the buisness they sell their land, and who buys it? Developers. Star Valley, Jackson Hole are prime examples of this, and now Sublette County and even the Bridger Valley are following suit. Not only are developers ruining the land, in many cases they are very effective at limiting Public Access to both Public Land that surrounds their’s but also Public Access too much of the Private land that many ranchers offer through Wyomings Access Yes Program.

  45. avatar Mike says:

    Couldn’t agree more Wyo Native. If you are concerned for rare species and open spaces, subdivisions are by far the worst possible outcome.

  46. avatar vicki says:

    Mike,
    How many high income people who can afford part time “McMansions” sit on their porch with a gut pile and a spot light? That is a stretch.

    No one here really wants a subdivision. They want cattle less in most instances, IMHO.

    You say Montanan’s have managed bears and wolverines with cattle for years…I beg to differ. Read the earlier thread about suit being filed to protect wolverines.

    You should also read up a bit on Montana’s IBMP, take a look back at the threads about elk being targeted for brucellosis management, how can you say Montana’s ranches are anything close to eco-friendly? Come on…

    Check in with Robert Hoskins, Brian Ertz, or Ralph about how healthy it is to have cattle in the forest where animals should be wild.

    See, cows have an adverse effect, either politically or physically, on every animal in the wild. Wether the cows kill off native grasses, spread desease, tromp on stream beds and crap in the water, over graze vegetation vital to ungulates, cause policies to be put into effect that call for the mass slaughter of bison, justify the shoot on sight policies to virtually exterminate all wolves, or prompt idiotic politicians to host the idea of slaughtering elk, they(cows) cause destruction and misery.

    Hell, if ranchers need land, the real estate market is on a down slide. It is a buyers market and Montana and Wyoming have a huge number of available ranchers for sale that are PRIVATE land already. SO why would we need more in any capacity? Don’t rancher’s want to love their kind enough to buy some poor soul’s ranch so he can survive and avoid foreclosure?

    Call it having to choose the lesser of two evils or a calculated risk…but I still say hell no to cattle.

    Sprall sucks, don’t get me wrong. But better developement with a plan and regulations than with cows and desimated stream banks.

    And bears can cross ranches? Not always. Bears in subdivisions? Montana has dealt with that before too.

    Why do you assume everyone will own ATV’s?

    Yep, you are right, it would be better to camp, but if they develope, I say no cattle, ever at all, period.

  47. avatar Mike says:

    ++Illegal ATVs, nuisance light sources, dozens of small cattle opperations, etc,. In a covenanted community you will not have these problems especially if the residents are only there a few weeks out of the year. ++

    If they are there only for a few weeks out of the year, why even build to begin with? What’s the point?

    Also I should clarify that my commments about ATV’s really apply more to those who use them illegaly. Many of the models actually get much better gas mileage than cars and trucks. Many of the people you see on USFS roads driving their ATV’s are doing better than you if you are driving a V8 pickup or SUV.

    ++
    These people don’t have ATVs, they have juaguars. In this particular subdivision no house is even allowed to break the surface of the ridgeline or interfere with the next ones view of the mountains. ++

    And how does that apply to the grizzly and lynx that are displaced by these structures?

    ++Probably 1/3 of those 1200 residents live in condos and 3000 acres are designated wildlife preserve. Thats a lot more than the ranchers who shot the elk for eating their hay stores provided. The proof is in the pudding. We have more wildlife now than when it was a cattle ranch.++

    What about the golf course?

    Look, I’m not a big fan of the mentality of many ranchers but theirway is better than the subdivsion way.

    Why is it that the west managed to retain it’s wilderness and many of it’s wild predators but the east was not – when the east has less ranchers?

    Sprawl.

  48. avatar vicki says:

    Wyo Native,
    I see your point, and your concern is a valid one.
    If more conservation is made a priority, and more hunting opportunities were sought, it would seem to behoove the state and feseral governments to buy the land for these purposes.
    I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions about what you say, and wouldn’t judge you harshly….at all even. I admire you for making a valid point that has the interest of the environment at it’s heart.
    Though I would not agree, I would say that you seem to be a person who has a progressive and goal oriented outlook. I appreciate that.

  49. avatar vicki says:

    Mike,
    I can see where you are coming from, but allowing ranching would be a huge mistake.
    Sprawl is not the answer. But managing the developement may be our only recourse or hope of saving any of the land.
    We may have to bend so we don’t break here.
    As for the gof course, well, it isn’t a good thing. But if you look at other areas where elk are, they thrive on golf courses ( all be it artificially), and they don’t come into contact with cattle and risk being slaughtered as a brucellosis threat. People get too gaga over seeing the elk and wouldn’t tollerate that.
    The golf course may be a stretch, but it would be no more damaging than cattle.

  50. avatar Mike says:

    ++Mike,
    How many high income people who can afford part time “McMansions” sit on their porch with a gut pile and a spot light? That is a stretch.++

    You’d be surprised. Even the friends of Hall of Fame former NFL players pull that kind of garbage(Ralph had the story on here a couple years back).

    ++
    No one here really wants a subdivision. They want cattle less in most instances, IMHO.++

    I’m not sure why anyone interested in rare predators(that require large acreage) would advocate the eradication of open space for sprawl.

    ++
    You say Montanan’s have managed bears and wolverines with cattle for years…I beg to differ. Read the earlier thread about suit being filed to protect wolverines.++

    I read that thread, but it doesn’t change the fact that Montana has an incrediby high number of ranchers, yet it’s still the best state in the lower 48 for wolverines. Why is that? It’s because open space is always superior to subdivisions.

    ++You should also read up a bit on Montana’s IBMP, take a look back at the threads about elk being targeted for brucellosis management, how can you say Montana’s ranches are anything close to eco-friendly? Come on…++

    I posted on my blog about that issue:

    http://www.wilderness-sportsman.com/wsblog/

    I’m not saying Montana’s ranchers are eco friendly. What I am saying is that open space is always superior to subdivisions, and always will be.

    ++Check in with Robert Hoskins, Brian Ertz, or Ralph about how healthy it is to have cattle in the forest where animals should be wild. ++

    There’s no doubt that cattle mess up the ecosystem. But it’s still open space. A subdivision is worse. It’s there forever.

    ++See, cows have an adverse effect, either politically or physically, on every animal in the wild. Wether the cows kill off native grasses, spread desease, tromp on stream beds and crap in the water, over graze vegetation vital to ungulates, cause policies to be put into effect that call for the mass slaughter of bison, justify the shoot on sight policies to virtually exterminate all wolves, or prompt idiotic politicians to host the idea of slaughtering elk, they(cows) cause destruction and misery.++

    You know what’s worse than that? People living where the cows did. And their buildings and roads.

    That’s the end of the wild right there. Grizzlies interact with cows al lthe time on the Rocky Mountain Front. So do wolverines and lynx.

    ++Call it having to choose the lesser of two evils or a calculated risk…but I still say hell no to cattle.++

    Replacing open space with subdivisions is not a wise choice.

    Do you live in the Rockies or east of the Miss?

    ++
    Sprall sucks, don’t get me wrong. But better developement with a plan and regulations than with cows and desimated stream banks. ++

    Stream banks can be fixed and repaired. Subdivisions will always be there. And when you bring in some people, there will be more people. and those people will want stores close by when gas goes to $7 a gallon, and people will fill that need. And those stores will bring more people. And soon these people will want natural gas for their second homes so more wells will have to go up, and then the county boards will start caving to political pressure and local business interests to sell their designated open space areas and weaken their zoning laws. And soon everything that you loved about this area will be dead.

    Dead.

    But hey, you got rid of a cow.

    ++
    Why do you assume everyone will own ATV’s? ++

    It just increases the odds of illegal riding.

    ++
    Yep, you are right, it would be better to camp, but if they develope, I say no cattle, ever at all, period++

    Don’t like the rancher mentality, but as someone who grew up in and lives in sprawl(Chicago burbs), I’ll choose ranching 100% of the time over the alternative.

  51. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Vicki,

    I agree. I also would like the ranches that are sold to be returned to the Government for Public Use. The only difference of opinion I have would be I would rather have private organizations such as Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Trout Unlimited, EarthJustice, and Defenders of Wildlife, etc, purchase the lands with private donations and return them to the public, rather than using tax dollars.

  52. avatar Mike says:

    I should add that those of you who live in the west, away from urban areas don’t get what it’s like to even drive across ranching country from here. It’s a revelation. Even the chewed up cattle lands of western North Dakota and eastern Montana are completely awe inspiring and beautiful compared to northern Illinois.

    There’s an amazing sense of awe and freedom in those open spaces that people can’t get over here. Yes the cows are bad. But subdivisions and sprawl are far worse. you would change the very thing that makes that place special – it’s wildness and open spaces.

  53. Again, I’ll reiterate more concisely this time. If these are the choices before us, then we’ll lose no matter what. Instead of choosing the poison that will kill us the most pleasantly, are we so pessimistic as to think we can’t do better than this?

    No to the livestock industry or boutique ranches or dude ranches (which are becoming the new subdivisions), no to large “eco-friendly” landholders and their subdivisions. Each side here points to a critical problem. We can’t be scared of recognizing what is logically entailed by that – even if it seems politically impossible.

  54. Mike,

    I’ve lived everywhere. I grew up in Ohio and lived in suburbs, cities, small towns, and rural areas. I’ve lived in Seattle. I lived several years in Washington, DC. In DC, especially, growth and sprawl is a huge issue, and the class gap is enormous – absolutely enormous. As the area sprawls, there is more demand for public transportation, the costs skyrocket, and the poor can often not even afford to ride the bus system regularly (and certainly can’t afford the subway system).

    We definitely risk the same thing in the West, especially in Greater Yellowstone. Look at Jackson, Wyo., where workers are often forced to live on the other side of Teton Pass to get to their jobs. Even people otherwise wealthy can’t afford to live in town. Bozeman has grown at an incredible rate – I don’t think we could afford to buy a home even in a depressed market. All it is is the new oligarchs replacing the old ones. And, yeah, it gets uglier and uglier. More box stores, more development, more people.

    But, at the same time, the cowboy hat is becoming endangered, which is not the worst thing in the world, either. The open spaces came at a great cost for indigenous peoples and for wildlife. If we replace that West with this one, don’t we end up at the same place – and we resort to having an argument over aesthetics?

    Doesn’t this point to much larger problems with society?

    So, I fully understand why people are critical of Obama – but we have become so cynical that we are only concerned with the “not McCain”, the better poison pill, the more gradual erosion of our world.

    But, we need to do more in Chicago, DC, small town Ohio, and Greater Yellowstone. It’s all very connected. I work on the buffalo here in Yellowstone; the animal that perhaps most symbolizes the oppressive forces – the rise of the frontiersman, genocide, and now big box stores, and the so called green revolution. They had to be removed for manifest destiny; now, some would simply protect them because they have romantic notions of the past they’d like to market for the future. Those who perpetrate the slaughter are anachronistic in the West; they are now on the wrong side of the advance of the craziness we call civilization.

    But, we need to stop that force; if humans could live with bison for so many thousands of years, we have to be able to do that again. And, that goes for wildlife and wild places, but we’ll never get there by getting on the newest “hybrid” that thinks it’s a better brand spanking new version of civilization.

    Change needs to be more fundamental – and that would be a conversation worth having – even just that conversation would be a revolutionary shift.

    That wasn’t so concise, but I was struck by what you said living in suburban northern Illinois (which I had to drive through many times on my way out here) – and which I agree is yucky to say the least. But, at one time, that was someone’s “nature” as well. It’s gone. Let’s just not pretend that the ranches represent a romantic ideal of what the West should be, either.

    Somewhere, there have to be some non-romantic ideals that are chaotic and messy like the Yellowstone caldera itself.

  55. avatar vicki says:

    Wyo Native,
    Right on. I agree, that would be nice , except that would leave little hope for wolves and even to some extent, bears.
    But yep, same page.

    Mike,
    I grew up in Phoenix, the sprawl capital retirement haven of the world. Yuck, poo, and more yuck.
    But what you see as a subdivision and what I do are different. When people say subdicision, I have images of track housing with houses available in two plans and two colors. Noty the acreages proposed.
    I’d say we should demand the land be used to organically ranch bison, and split proceeds from harvesting bison, and other tags (including a conservation tag for fishing in the area) be split between unemployed ranchers and conservation projects. But who will go for that? As Jim says, society has issues.
    Streams take ages to recover, and some species effected never do recover. Truly green homes are not only sustainable, but recyleable, and could be removed and reused. Ranchers however, not so much! It can sometimes feel like you’d have an easier time decomposing styrofoam.

    As far as the vast spaces and wilderness, ranching and mining are the biggest reasons we need to fight so desperately right now to save them. Ranching and mining are the cause of so much habitat loss, and so much need for policy reform. You can look at the beauty in Montana and see it without straining your eyes, that is reason enough to fight to save it. We need to save it from so much more than sprawl, and nothing more than mindless ranchers and politicians.
    We agree on what, just not how.

  56. avatar Mike says:

    Interesting reply, Jim. I can pretty much respond to this portion:

    ++That wasn’t so concise, but I was struck by what you said living in suburban northern Illinois (which I had to drive through many times on my way out here) – and which I agree is yucky to say the least. But, at one time, that was someone’s “nature” as well. It’s gone. Let’s just not pretend that the ranches represent a romantic ideal of what the West should be, either.++

    I don’t think ranches are the romantic ideal. But in reality, they are certainly more “romantic” than sprawl, which is about as ugly as it gets for the landscape(yes, even uglier than chewed up range).

    Northern Illinois is nothing but sprawl. It is good for jobs, and it is good for meeting interesting people, good schools, nightlife, art, culture, music and food. It does those things very, very well mostly because Chicago is a world class city. I live 1/2 of a mile from a grocery store that I can walk to. But what it does not do well is the natural world thing. Our forest preserve land here in Naperville gets sold to office complexes. When there is so much pressure, county boards cave and sell.

    The scenery is non-existant, and so are the elk and cougar that once existed here. You see houses and people wherever you go. The air is of poor quality except in the fall and winter.

    It’s real value is the city of Chicago. The sprawl is just a hangar-on. The problem with sprawl in Montana is you get the people and B.S., but without the pros of a world class city.

    A place like Montana does nature very well. It does open spaces very well. That is it’s strong point. Montana does this even with ranchers. And even Montana could face the same fate as Illinois, with communities sprouting up at every national forest edge and sprawl as far as you can see. That is a very real possibility.

    You may think that ranchlands are crap. But coming from northern Illinois, they are another planet in terms of beauty and scenery.

  57. avatar Mike says:

    ++Mike,
    I grew up in Phoenix, the sprawl capital retirement haven of the world. Yuck, poo, and more yuck.++

    Phoenix is just a Chicago suburb 😉

    ++But what you see as a subdivision and what I do are different. When people say subdicision, I have images of track housing with houses available in two plans and two colors. Noty the acreages proposed.++

    I see large scale development of wooded acreage for second homes as actually worse than the rows of track housing owned by sngle home owners in the city and suburbs. They may not care about the environment, but they are actually better environmentalists than those who own a home in the city and a home in a rural subdivision.

    ++As far as the vast spaces and wilderness, ranching and mining are the biggest reasons we need to fight so desperately right now to save them. Ranching and mining are the cause of so much habitat loss, and so much need for policy reform. You can look at the beauty in Montana and see it without straining your eyes, that is reason enough to fight to save it. We need to save it from so much more than sprawl, and nothing more than mindless ranchers and politicians.
    We agree on what, just not how.++

    For me, the roadless issue is the biggest. Building roads brings humans, and it’s all downhill from there. From there you get your mines, illegal ATV’s and subdivisions.

    Ranchlands are a couple notches down on the list IMHO. Priority #1 should be protecting the remaining USFS and BLM roadless areas, then worrying about restoration efforts on natonal forest land. It’s hard to repair when the dam is still leaking.

  58. avatar vicki says:

    Good points Mike, and info worth retaining. Thanks for the discussion, a few more like you, a few more like some of us here…hey, we might solve a few things!
    Let me know if you ever run for office 😉
    Good evening all.

  59. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    condos vs. cows is a false choice. when the price is right – ranchers sell as fast as anyone else. take a look at the demographic — how many young public land ranchers own base properties ? how many children are looking to pick up where pappy left off ? it’s a waning industry – time spent subsidizing, compromising away the integrity of public habitat, in justifying private “open spaces” is time wasted from holding fire to the feet of county commissions regarding zoning – an endeavor that might catch tread toward meaningful conservation value of private land.

    Bottom Line : Conservationists don’t have a stick to shake at private property – we even see open space “conservation easements” devoid of being held in perpetuity. we can hope all we want that private land remains “open space” but eventually, one by one, economic and social forces overwhelm and the family ranch sells out – and every year we are confronted with another subsidy needed to keep those ranches alive – or another conservation value that needs to be compromised/diluted away to maintain the “open space”. it’s scary to consider how fast the integrity of these localized “conservation easement” or “open space” agreements/legislation is slipping away. they’ve become just another welfare scheme. no perpetuity, no meaningful conservation/ecological standards, credits put up for market trade/sell, oversight vastly disproportionate and/or exclusive to agriculture/industry reps etc. etc. etc.

    BLM & Forest lands don’t get developed – at least not by subdividers — but they get accessed by cattle ranchers in many instances as a consequence of these private “open spaces” (base property requisite) – and the result of that access is development of these public places (water development/pipeline, fencing, roads, etc.) denuding tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of acres of publicly held land — yet, somehow that never gets tapped into the “open space” cost/benefit equation. these lands, and the strict/meaningful/ already codified standards that regulate their use in the public environmental interest – are all-too-often held up to the chopping block while framing the “open space” argument. I guess the aesthetic of wide open pasture is enough now – I suppose public lands on back-roads are less valuable as you don’t see them as much driving by.

    the “open space” advocates need to talk to their county commissioners about zoning – or gain assurances (i.e. contractual) from livestock producers that they will never sell.

  60. Brian, I agree wholeheartedly.

    “False choice.”
    “Don’t have a stick to shake at private property”
    excellent point about the worthlessness of easements (a lot has been written about how corrupt the entire practice of easements are – several years ago the Washington Post did an amazing long investigative piece exposing The Nature Conservancy.

    One wonders if we have a stick to shake at public property, either. In theory, we do … but in fact, what’s public is not public in practice.

  61. avatar Mike says:

    Thx Vicki. I definitely agree with your points as well, just in a different order.

  62. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Jim,

    One wonders if we have a stick to shake at public property, either. In theory, we do … but in fact, what’s public is not public in practice.

    this brings us back to your criticism of too much reliance on politicians – a criticism that i share.

    we DO have much leverage with regard to the administration of public lands. Leverage afforded us by the struggle of many in the past – and codified into existing law now. at some point it might be wise to put some effort into highlighting to folk the importance of these laws – the struggle behind them, the promise of them, the inspiration of them.

    in any event – enviros have been doing a hell of a job holding out amidst an onslaught of offensive attempts at dismembering the rationalization of the administration of public lands and wildlife management. This because the laws that were passed did not rely on politicians, but extended oversight to the public – and granted judicial review to the grievances of the public. So long as Obama’s appointees have some respect for this fact – as opposed to Bush/(presumably)McCain’s spite for it and efforts at employing the full weight of the Executive against it – we’ll have much ground for our movement – even and especially the movement for bison – regardless of any politician’s willingness to do the lifting for us.

    Look, full disclosure – I caucused for Kucinich – ended up a delegate in my state for Obama. I am as critical of and as worried as anyone of the false promises of politicians – or in his case – the complete lack of anything that might be construed as a stance on any issue. I am equally cynical of many of Obama’s followers – many of whom I observed are equally lacking substance – many of which were schooled in their own ambition more than in their cause (if they had any at all) – from my observation of the ones that I spoke to. But I hope to be, and we who have a stake ought be as keen to recognize the shortcoming of our own cynicism as we are the perceived shortcomings of politicians and their mobs. I met many who knew what they wanted among Obama followers as well.

    Obama has an overwhelming array of able technocrats to choose from. If he choose right – it will be easier, because all we need to do is demand the rationalization of agency and enforcement of the already existing law. The application of even a little of that already existing law combined with the prevailing economic and social forces will be enough to blow over the deck of cards these industries and their crooked politicians have been balancing for too long.

    Can you imagine ? EX: If the Forest on the Gallatin were directed to properly monitor the utilization of forage, using objectively constructed and objectively installed monitoring cages, in tandem with any number of objective ecological monitoring criteria – it would be merely a matter of a relatively short amount of time before public land and grass would be significantly liberated from the only thing preventing the expansion of bison habitat – Livestock. This is true of any number of technical protocols granted legal implication within agency, not known of by the general public, for any number of public agencies administrating millions of acres which if any number of variables were adjusted just to fairness, objective data collected and considered objectively, would add to the mound of legal leverage conservationists have in existing law and potentially turn the tide of management in favor of wildlife. That’s how fragile the ground that these industries stand on is. That’s what the unwavering resolve of the “litigious” enviros has accomplished, and continues to accomplish. That’s why it’s so important that the political actors, the appointees of the President, be willing to observe the law objectively and leverage that observation such that the legal standard of “deference to agency” works for us, rather than against us, as it has during this dark political era.

    Just pray that Obama does not appoint Schweitzer – and be willing to raise ungodly hell if he does 😉 – there are a lot of things already teed up that will mean big things in even a modestly better political environment.

  63. avatar kim kaiser says:

    in this statement previously made,

    ” I also would like the ranches that are sold to be returned to the Government for Public Use.”

    what would stop the govt from allowing additional grazing allotments on those lands, couldnt someone do that? or would that not be in the cards at this point,,

    second, i hope to gosh no one is hanging there hats on hussien obama to be some guiding light…. …..like forrest gump said,,” thats all i got to say about that” ———-for right now anyway,

  64. avatar Roy says:

    Wyo nailed it……..

    “Anyway back the the topic of this thread. I think alot of you may have been fooled if you really think Obama gives a damn concerning the Plum Creek Land deal. He knows absolutely nothing concerning western issues. And the only reason he mentioned this deal was Political Expediency, because he was campaigning in Montana over the 4th and some Montana Politician told him that he may earn a few brownie points by mentioning these talks.”

    Look at all the great dialoge Roy has started!!!!!!

  65. avatar vicki says:

    Roy,
    If your statement is true, and brownie points for mention was a factor, that leaves me hopeful that Montana’s voting population is beginning to be seen as an environmentally conscious one, as opposed to a cattle state.

    Jim and Brian
    False choice, well I agree to some extent. However, the choice is only false if you TRULY have a choice between no developement and developement. The public as a whole may have a choice, but we as individuals have our choices limited.
    Since, it would seem, the public has chosen constituents and representatives that have acted on their behalf and allowed developement to occur….we have only the choice keft to attempt to effect how that developement occurs….not when, not if, only how. It is a sad state of affairs, but it is what IS happening.
    You can choose not to like it, but short of a miracle, you will not stop it. (Maybe the miracle will come in the form of a law suit blocking developement due to the ESA. But I rather doubt it.)
    I don’t advocate people becoming complacent. I don’t advocate developement. I just know that the evidence at hand supports that we must choose, between these things we hate.
    I have seen so much developement in recent years. Colorado was a housing boom state. Now we begin to see the repercussions of that. However, I also know that when the land being used was already held by private owners, and by governments that have already zoned it as indutrial(not quite the same as residential, but hear me out) or opted to develope tha land, conservation easements have made a big impact where we would have otherwise seen wall to wall homes and businesses.
    By mandating that certain portions of lands be conserved, Colorado, (example Brighton specifically) has kept SOME land, even private, from being developed. That land might have otherwise ALL been developed. There are still habitats, however small, for animals that would have otherwise been entirely displaced.
    Private land developement was altered by zoning changes. So even those properties had to assure some habitat be saved, in order to meet zoning requirements. That would not have happened 20 years ago. You may call it an unfair compromise, and you’d be right, but it was still the lesser of two evils….and developement would have occured with OR without the easements.
    Even socialisms aren’t all that effective in eliminating developement. People prevail, and most people are more concerned with theirselves and their comforts than the environment. Times are changing though, and that seems to be also. (Ofcourse it may just be changing because people have finally been left with no choice.)
    In an ideal world, your points of view may have made a huge change, but in the world, it makes you an out voted minority.
    I’d love to close many places to any further possible developement. But, as much as it saddens me, that won’t happen entirely.
    That is why, when left with few choices (false or not), I try to advocate for the best possible outcome.
    I guess we primarily disagree with the point of capability. I just believe we are only capable of truly effecting what we can -well- really impact. We can’t effect this deal in the best way, so we are left with effecting it is the next best way.

  66. avatar vicki says:

    p.s.
    Kim, you’d have to have stipulations and legal agreements in place to assure that these folks wouldn’t do that-or if bought and used by Trout Unlimited, RMEF, NEF, etc. that zoning prohibited that. You have to pass laws specifying what the land use could be. We don’t have much control over the lands already leased out-unless by some phenominal change, we get leases revoked and grazing permits ended. But we could pass laws for use before cattle are placed on those lands.
    Brian and Jim,
    Just to restate, I do not support the presence of cattle on public lands, at all. Infact, I see little economic need, and no natural need, for private ranchers period. We have an abundance of large cattle ‘manufacturers’ who raise cattle in feedlots (that are still not good for the environment) which are contained to private land. If we did limit ranching to feedlot operations, we could more readily force conversion to greener practices. You can’t do that with private small ranches, because they are not contained.

    I guess I look at things, from a business stand point. Economic basics…opportunity cost dictates what people will vote for and against. You have to change public perception of what is desirable. That is starting to happen, but isn’t there yet. The only way to change things is to change how people think, and how they vote. That won’t happen with Plum Creek alone….but it may happen in larger strides with a president that puts the ball in motion with his cabinet and appointments.

  67. avatar Roy says:

    Vicki,

    Montanans as a whole have always been keen on the environment and the issues surrounding it. And most don’t see cattle as the big evil you and others here do. We clearly see the negative effects bad grazing practices have on the land, but also see the benefits that good practices have.

    I’m a realist. Montana and places like it such as Wyoming and Idaho are going to be under seige from retiring baby boomers in the years to come. All looking enjoy the great natural wonders that this part of the country has to offer. The time is now to work to shape the future of what the Mountain states will ultimately look like. That means working to conserve PRIVATE lands such as Plum Creeks. The government is broke. Don’t look to them for help. It is going to take money and effort from those who really care to make a difference. Not empty political rhetoric from Barrack Obama.

  68. avatar JB says:

    “A place like Montana does nature very well. It does open spaces very well. That is it’s strong point. Montana does this even with ranchers. And even Montana could face the same fate as Illinois, with communities sprouting up at every national forest edge and sprawl as far as you can see. That is a very real possibility.”

    I too grew up in the Midwest and have lived in several cities there; I can assure you that Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah stand NO CHANCE at becoming an Illinois or Ohio for two very simple reasons: (1) the vast amounts of public land and (2) natural barriers (i.e. mountains), prevent the kind of sprawl you fear. At worst, you might expect sprawl in these areas to resemble cities in California which also has lots of public lands, mountains and coastal barriers, and dense human populations. I’m not advocated that this would be a good thing, just pointing out that the worst case scenario isn’t as bad as you describe. 😉

    – – – –
    “I’m a realist. Montana and places like it such as Wyoming and Idaho are going to be under siege from retiring baby boomers in the years to come.”

    Baby boomers are the only generation of Americans who have been able to “have their cake and eat it too.” However, I think this is about to come to an end. I don’t fear suburbanization (as so many here seem to) because I believe the rise in cost of energy we’ve seen in recent years is just the tip of the iceberg. With China and India coming online, and the world at or near peak oil production, we will only see the cost of oil, coal, and natural gas rise. This, as many scientists have pointed out, should drastically curtail exurban and suburban development and eventually lead to a urban renewal featuring smaller, more energy efficient homes, and greater population density in urban areas.

    Check out this documentary: http://www.endofsuburbia.com/

  69. avatar JB says:

    Roy said: “The government is broke.”

    Roy, It looks like you and I finally agree on something. 😉

  70. avatar vicki says:

    Roy,
    I said it looks like voters may be heading toward voting more green, not that Montanas weren’t environmentally keene. Either way though, if they have always been so inclined, their votes don’t reflect that, atleast as far as their elected officials go. Montana’s governor is far from eco-conscious.
    Could you enlighten us all on the good practices and benefits that you refer to? I am always open to new info.

  71. avatar JB says:

    Roy,

    The League of Conservation Voters (http://www.lcv.org/) maintains a “scorecard” grading the votes of members of Congress. Here’s what they have on McCain and Obama:

    Candidate Lifetime 2007
    McCain 24% 0%
    Obama 86% 67%

    Frankly, I’m not all that excited about 67%, but it’s a whole hell of a lot better than 0%.

  72. avatar mikarooni says:

    Roy, I still don’t think your tactics are going to work; I think JB’s posting of the LCV scores pretty well settles it, both explicitly with regard to the records of the candidates and implicitly in terms of where the thinking is going. In response to the predictable comeback, no, I don’t think that those LCV scores are perfectly targeted or perfectly accurate and, if the scores were close, I wouldn’t put much stock in minor differences in those scores; however, neither 86 to 24 nor 67 to 0 are close scores. In fact, scores with that much of a spread say something pretty clearly in comparative terms and scores as low as McCain’s say something very clear about him in absolute terms.

    But again, I don’t think you’re going to be too successful in spreading confusion and splitting the “green” vote in this election, although I certainly wouldn’t mind you guys bankrolling Nader again, if you think you have that much spare cash. I have a hunch that the “green” end of the spectrum now sees that we can get much more done by voting Democrat, routing the rightwing GOP/NRA/KKK machine as completely as possible, and then pulling the Democrats further “green” than we will ever get by either voting GOP/NRA/KKK or letting the GOP/NRA/KKK win because we don’t vote and then hoping that the GOP/NRA/KKK will see the light and go “green” on its own. Progressives embrace change; “conservatives” (and I use that term lightly when applied to the GOP/NRA/KKK) do everything they can to either not change or actually go backwards (as we saw over the past 8 to 14 years).

  73. avatar Wyo Native says:

    JB,

    I don’t mean to defend McCain, I absolutely can’t stand the guy, but in the LCV rating you are refering to the reason he is a zero is because he didn’t vote on any of the bills that the LCV considered in their rating because he was too busy running around the country campaigning for POTUS.

    Mikarooni, your an idot!!!! You may not thinks Roy’s thoughts should be allowed on Ralph’s blog, but your trying to connect “Conservatives” to the KKK is exactly the type of gargabe that should not be allowed in this blog.

    By the way have you checked into how the vast majority of KKK members vote especially where they are the most dominate in the Southern US? It sure as hell is not Republican or Conservative, but I guess Southern Democrats are not Marxist Liberal ACLU supporters either!

    The ONE AND ONLY reason that the vast majority of the Liberal wing of the Democratic Party has embraced the “Green” movement is SOCIALISM, plain and simple. Very few if any honestly care about our precious environment. But they have taken up the “Green” cause because they see a tool that can be used to advance their Socialistic agendas.

    Cap and Trade for carbon emmissions is a prime example. This is the biggest wealth redistribution our country will ever see without doing a DAMN thing for the environment. Since we do not have “Alternative Energy” to a point to replace Carbon Fuels and most likely won’t for many, many years to come, everytime Carbon Emmission standards are reduced under Cap and Trade the only thing that will happen is Industry will just pay more to the government to emit the SAME amount of Carbon Emmissions which is what a majority of the Dems hope for. That is a Guarantee!

    Voting straight line Democrat or even for Obama is nothing but a false hope IMHO when it comes to the environement. One thing is for sure almost every politician will change their views for Political expediency when it comes to getting elected. In fact it is happening right before our eyes concerning drilling for oil. Almost on a daily basis another Dem embraces the Republican agenda of drilling. I would be willing to bet that it will only be a matter of time before Pelosi, Reid and Obama, take up the drilling campaign and possibly even try to convince the public it was their idea!!!

    Sorry for the rant Ralph.

  74. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Kim Kaiser,

    I may be wrong about this but Organizations or individuals who turn Private over to the government for Public use can request the type of use the land may be used for. Where as land that may be purchased by the Government will be left up to our politicians and their individual agendas.

    John D Rockefeller and a vast majority of the land within Grand Teton NP is a prime example of Private Citizens donating land to the Government and requiring the use of the land as part of the deal.

  75. avatar john weis says:

    Wyo native, do you really mean this??

    “”The ONE AND ONLY reason that the vast majority of the Liberal wing of the Democratic Party has embraced the “Green” movement is SOCIALISM, plain and simple. Very few if any honestly care about our precious environment.””

    Do you actually know any liberals in the democratic party? I do, lots of them, and none of them follow the creed you claim they do. I can’t believe how out of touch a comment like this is. Maybe you should get out of Wyoming every now and then.

  76. avatar Wyo Native says:

    John,

    When it comes to the Liberal Politicians yes I do believe that many of them fall under the description I provided. Individuals though typically do not fall into this description, because I think many who have undertaken the “Green” movement are generally sincere.

    Oh and I do get out of Wyoming plenty, but you can look at many of our local issues in Wyoming and see what I describe.

    Two Examples
    1. Wyoming Range Legacy Act, and Harry Reid’s political posturing by lumping bills together when they do not pertain to the subject at handwhich most likely will end up with this bill dying. If he really cared he would get the bill passed without all the other political BS. Another thing about Harry Reid also has the vast amount of Sun in Nevada and tons of public land to exploit.

    2. Jonah Field and the Pinedale Anticline. Everyday you here on the news the Dems stating that we should drill in the 64 million acres that are currently being leased. Well guess what many of those acres are in Wyoming and continue to be exploited. Yes there is blame to lay on Bush but many of these leases were issued during the Clinton administration when he and Gore were on the HUGE Natural Gas push because it was an Enviromentaly Superior energy source. Now the price of NG is so high you have a better chance of getting elected POTUS than you do stopping the devistation.

  77. avatar mikarooni says:

    Wyo Native, you said, “Mikarooni, your an idot!!!!.” Was something along the lines of “Mikarooni, you’re an idiot!!!!” what you actually meant to say? If so, you need to slow down; think carefully; choose your words; pay a bit more attention to what you’re typing; and you’ll do a better job of presenting your beliefs. Your beliefs will still be naive and simplistic; but, you’ll do a better job of presenting them.

  78. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Wyo Native,

    if by “Socialism” you mean that liberals, as I, believe that the public does a better job of managing its public domain in the public interest than private industry does at managing our public domain ~ i’ve got no qualms with what you say.

    Regardless – ‘socialism’ is no longer a bad word – it’s a tired argument for right wingers to make – a loser – especially when witnessing the effect of outsourcing the management of public assets/values to private industry.

    Cap and trade is a bad idea – the immediate and robust taxation of carbon and carbon equivalent gases ought be pursued – and the proceeds ought be redistributed, considering due regard for egalitarian principles, to the most impoverished among us – including those who reside on public domain – wildlife and public wildlife habitat.

  79. avatar jim says:

    Not only have the Bush Administration and the nation’s largest private landowner shown contempt for public opinion by negotiating for months behind closed doors, the Administration, in doing so, is also violating a series of federal environmental laws, most notably the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Forest Roads and Trails Act. If enforced, these laws would require formal environmental review with public input and would require the mitigation of impacts to endangered and threatened species. Instead, the Bush Administration, as it exits the stage with seeming contempt for the rest of us, prefers to give a major corporate constituent a parting gift that will add hugely to the assessed value of the real estate trust’s enormous land holdings.

    Rey’s legal justification for not complying with these laws is that the Forest Service, in coming to terms with Plum Creek, is not really doing anything. Thus, the elaborate legal the document addressing Plum Creek’s access rights merely “clarifies,” and does not “change,” the terms of long-standing easements defining the respective rights and obligations of Plum Creek and the Forest Service with respect to federal roads in remote forest locations. The trouble with this characterization is that the clarified (new) language clearly gives Plum Creek the right to use federal roads as de facto year-round driveways for high-end residential subdivisions in remote forested areas with severe wildfire risks. Traditionally, Plum Creek has used these taxpayer-subsidized roads to facilitate the logging of its vast timber properties and for no other purpose. Its new business plan, however, is to shift from timber production to residential development by selling off chunks of its vast nation-wide holdings, which include some 1.3 million acres in Montana alone. This plan has been somewhat thwarted by concerns raised by property purchasers and their brokers about how “good” the existing legal right of access is for many remote properties. Many federal roads are not plowed in the winter, which is a source of inconvenience for residential owners (though an ecological benefit to nearby wildlife). These federal roads will now have to be plowed to allow wealthy new second-homeowners access to their new trophy properties.

    The potential environmental effects of these proposed easement “clarifications” can hardly be overstated. These new easement document will facilitate the subdivision and fragmentation of millions of acres of forested lands across the Northwest, including areas occupied by endangered and threatened species such as lynx and grizzly bears, as well as areas identified as actual or potential critical habitat for such species. Currently, Plum Creek is asking for enhanced residential access throughout an area within a larger area known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecoregion, which is possibly the largest block of contiguous public land and wilderness in the continental United States. This Ecoregion supports a rich biodiversity of both plants and animals, including endangered and threatened species. These “clarifications” will facilitate sprawling real estate development and subdivisions across this Ecoregion that cannot be checked by local land use regulators.

    The inability for local governments in Montana to check this sprawl reflects the fact that Plum Creek and other large landowners and special interests in Montana have persuaded the pliable Montana Legislature to give them a veto power over local zoning decisions (see Mont. Code Anno., § 76-2-01(5)), notwithstanding a state constitutional mandate requiring the Legislature to “provide for the administration and enforcement” of the duty of the state and each person in Montana to “maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations” (Mont. Const., Art. IX § 1). This state legal scheme, of which the Forest Service must take note in considering the foreseeable effects of its own actions, essentially gives Plum Creek, and not the local governments, effective control over county zoning. In other words, if the Forest Service does not function as something of a “regulator” through its compliance with various federal environmental laws, no meaningful environmental review or protection will occur. The Forest Service, then, is the public’s only potentially effective check against Plum Creek’s unbridled self-interest.

  80. avatar kim kaiser says:

    Are you suggesting that money taxed from oil comapnies, big companies in general or just capitolizm be distributed to those who dont have means? or just lazy asses who dont want to work or want follow proper social practices, and start using population control techinques until they can be contributing memebers to society, through their own tax dollar as well as the ones I already contribute. IF that is the case you have no right to call ranchers “welfare ranchers” or call grazing allotments wrong, because what you are suggesting is no different. Getting something for nothing. Are you suggesting additional welfare for those who either dont want to work but for some reason think society owes them some sort of living or standard of living. NO ONE owes ANYONE a living who is physically able make a living, not everyone will be rich, and not everyone is owed a 50k a year job or in my opininon, assistance or any payment to maintain ANY type of lifestyle through public support is simply welfare whether you call it govt run or publice domain. Its getting the lead out of ones rear and go to work. get a job!! contribute your hard earned tax dollar to roads and schools etc. not to bums who wont or whose social thinking is someone owes them something… If the definition you are purporting is the govt should take care of everyone, and no one should have more than anyone else and everyone be equal in financial standing,, you dont have to stay here, there are a lot of countries practising these government styles, and it seems our country is always either making payemnts to “subsidize” them or having to pay for them and there failed policies as well as handle our own problems.. IF that is the style you want, go there, and let the other free thinking, free enterprising rest of us continue, and let us be creative and not have the govt do the thinking for us, i for one dont what any part of hussein obamas “thinking.

    Do you really want to turn over everyting to all those idiots in the government..(when i say govt i mean congress) do you really think that is a solution?? let goventment run everything??? (think three hundred dollar hammers and toilet seats, which are products and disgust points of numerous administrations) excessive taxation is nothimg more than a inhibitor and will never foster any good, it inhibits thinking, investment for fear of more taxations.. and additional cost to consumers because those who get taxed just pass it on, like it or not.. I dont want the fruits of MY hard working labor and thinking to be further taxed so some dumbass or lazy ass who thinks someone owes them something get someting for nothing. I hope that is not what you are suggesting!

  81. avatar JB says:

    “I dont want the fruits of MY hard working labor and thinking to be further taxed so some dumbass or lazy ass who thinks someone owes them something get someting for nothing. I hope that is not what you are suggesting!”

    Wow. Is that what you really believe? I won’t attempt to convince you otherwise, nor am I inclined to publicly pick apart the many inaccuracies in your above statement. Frankly, if this is what you believe, I just feel sorry for you.

  82. avatar mikarooni says:

    Gosh, the GOP/NRA/KKK rightwingers all have at least one thing in common. They all think they are born to be so special and endowed with such special superiority, that they are so especially put-upon and hard working, and that everyone is secretly trying to steal the especially abundant fruits of their special talents and powers and drag them down to the not special level, at which God did not intend them to be. The GOP/NRA/KK folks have the ultimate entitlement mentality; they think they’re entitled by God to strut around, do less work, be incompetent when they do stoop to work, be as conniving and predatory as they can (because they’re entitled after all), and then look down on everyone else. We have picked the scab on humanity’s soul that the GOP/NRA/KKK represents and the pus has run out.

  83. avatar kim kaiser says:

    Yes it is,, no one is owed anything,, and i dont want your sorry or pity,,,,if you believe other wise, you then subsricbe to grazing alootments,,,,they say they need it,, then they must have it…

    I have now worked from april 27th through today with 4 days off..most days 10-14 hours,i work every day here in gardiner at my operation,,do i want any of the money i pay in taxes to go to someone who want get off there buts to go do work for something and have it handed to them by govt chk,,, especially when there only excuse is not enough pay, works to dirty, all the sorry lazy excuses that are used and the reason why illegals do work here..hell no,, or are you one of thsoe that gets the check!!

    I work my ass off, i am entitled only in the sense that i earn my living working.. i am not rich, i dont own a weapon, and my only relation to kkk is my initials, which i had given to me by my parents,,,that is, my father worked 8-5 for 48 years, no rich entitlement there,, so to suggest that only the rich dont want to pay is BS,,take risk to succeed..,, its people work VERY hard for the things that they have and pay there mortgages and dont want to be taxed there butts off to support the lazy. or those that think we owe them something.. youdont have to like it, and hell no i dont want your sorry, that would be taking a entitlement (remeber i dont believe in entitelments) that i really dont want or deserve. Get out, earn a living let the government take your hard earned money and give it away,, to the lazy, maybe you would feel different…but i still share the same enviromental concerns to about 80 % of what yall do,, just a different take on soicetal welfare,, sorry to dissappoint, oh, btw,, i have a portion of my proceeds at my place in gardiner to be paid to BFC,, Do You?? IT may not be much, but it is an effort to help them,,, so get off my ass about thinking society owes the lazy,,,

  84. avatar Save bears says:

    Hey Kim,

    What business do you own in Gardiner?, I will have to stop in and say Hi, next time I am down that way..probably later this summer, if not, during the fall rut for sure.

  85. avatar Catbestland says:

    Kim,

    “. . .but i still share the same enviromental concerns to about 80 % of what yall do,,. . .” You must hail from the same club that I do, the “G.R.I.T.S.” club. (Girls Raised In The South) I’m from Georgia. I’m with ya on the population control thing.

  86. avatar JB says:

    Okay, since you insist…

    “no one is owed anything,, and i dont want your sorry or pity,,,,if you believe other wise, you then subsricbe to grazing alootments”

    A society where no one is owed anything is called anarchy. Here in the U.S., much of what we owe other members of society is spelled out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The rest of what our government provides is generally what is demanded by the people.

    The biggest flaw in your thinking is that you assume that everyone who collects welfare is “lazy” and needs to “get off [their] ass”. I’m not sure where this perception comes from, but it is flat-out wrong. I’m sure there are lazy people who are “happy” to live on welfare, but if you think this provides more than a subsistence living, you’re sadly mistaken. If you think they’re living the high life, go down and stand in the welfare line, or the line to a food pantry. Better yet, lose your job to someone over seas and collect unemployment for a few months and then come back and report on your self esteem. Perhaps you could do an investigation of how great it is living the welfare life and report back to us from the other side?

    There ARE people in this country who don’t pay taxes. They’re called wealthy corporations, and they can afford the best tax attorneys. Personally, I’m happy to pay taxes for social programs that help needy people –including Social Security (which I’ll never see) and socialized medicine, if we decide (as a country) that it is the best option. I do it because I’ve seen who gets the help and they need it more than I do. I’m glad to do it because I know that if it wasn’t taken from everyone’s check, then there would be greedy freeloaders who kept everything for themselves.

    p.s. I’ve worked lots of jobs. All of them have required at least 40 hours a week. I currently work between 50 and 70. I also had the misfortune of living in the Bay Area during the dotcom bust, and was forced to collect unemployment for about 6 mos. I can assure you it was no picnic, and the amount I collected was about one-fifth of my paycheck. So yes, I’ve seen things from both sides.

    p.p.s. By the way, and this is just a guess, I assume you’re a white male? Bet it was really hard for you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

  87. avatar Wyo Native says:

    JB,

    I would really like to know what part of the Constitution and it’s first ten amendments state that the Government owes it’s citizens entitlements of any form.

    There is a substantial difference between an entitlement provided by the Government and a right which is ensured by the Constitution. As stated succinctly in the Declaration of Independence, each individual is “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights . . .” Note the word. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were considered basic rights by the founders. They didn’t say you were entitled to anything. In fact, quite the contrary. They believed you were only entitled to that which you earned through your work. And, the only thing they did in the Constitution was to craft a government guaranteeing those rights.

    But with that said, you are right; people do need help sometimes, and I absolutley have no issue helping others. I just believe that private organizations such as the United Way (which I donate thousands of dollars a year to) do a much more efficient job with donated funds than the government can do with collection of taxes. Social Security is a prime example of this. During the modern era if the government would have required your employer to invest your money in a private investment fund you and the Government’s checkbook would be much better off in the long run.

  88. avatar Mike says:

    It’s funny how many people dislike welfare until they get sick or get old.

  89. avatar Mike says:

    The U.S. should have national health care for everyone as well as free college. If you have a roof over your head and your health care paid for, your quality of life jumps dramatically. Sure, you might have less money thanks to taxes, but does it really matter when anything medical related, or school related is paid for and you own a home?

    Not really.

  90. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Mike,

    Ya it would be nice to have the things you mentioned.

    Too bad our country is based on principles of a Constitutional Republic; rather than the of lack of ecinomic classes, and common ownership of the populations products that fall under the principles of Communism.

  91. avatar kim kaiser says:

    i wont continue this further except to say again, that for the most part, 90 percnet or so, i believe and support this site and its goals of conservations, and inequity to the wild life, but the rest of the stuff, we are way apart and i will never believe in the effectiveness of what you support government/society wise.

  92. avatar mikarooni says:

    I’m sorry; but, if you don’t understand the connections between what happens “government/society wise” and what happens to those “goals of conservations… and inequity (?) to the wild life” that you probably sincerely believe you “90 percnet or so” support, then you can’t truly understand how to be of any real help. I’m sorry to be so blunt; but, I spent six years fighting one of the most intense, important, and ultimately successful fights to protect erosion of the ’64 Wilderness Act and had well-intentioned, but poorly educated, twinkies wrapped around my ankles most of the way. The fight itself, protracted admin law, wasn’t pleasant, but having well-intentioned “twinkie help” that not only wasn’t clear on the concept, but also only hung around long enough to pick their bedmates for evening, made it worse. I am now a bit raw about people giving “90 percnet or so” support, but having a different agenda “government/society wise.”

  93. avatar JB says:

    Wyo Native:

    I used the word “owe” not “entitled,” to refer to what the framers called “unalienable rights.” However, you’ll note that if you look up the word “entitle” you find its definition is “to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something…”

    Perhaps the framers used these words to mean different things? I don’t know, I’m not familiar with their etymologies. However, I assure you that I was using the word “owe” to refer to the “rights” granted all citizens by the Constitution. As we’re not in a court of law, I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse my loose use of language. 😉

    Regardless, I used the word “owe” because Kim suggested that “no one is owed anything.” I hold to my initial assertion: the Constitution spells out exactly what rights we are owed/granted/entitled to/bestowed with/accorded or whatever term you want to use. Note the framers use of term “unalienable” (which means “not [able] to be separated, given away, or taken away) to describe these rights suggests that they were attempting to spell out the minimum that the government owes to its citizens.

    From http://www.dictionary.com:

    en·ti·tle
    –verb (used with object), -tled, -tling.
    1. to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something; furnish with grounds for laying claim: His executive position entitled him to certain courtesies rarely accorded others.

  94. avatar JB says:

    Kim said… “we are way apart and i will never believe in the effectiveness of what you support government/society wise.”

    Which is why I hesitated to bring it up in the first place. All I can say is that I sincerely hope you never get sick or seriously injured.

  95. avatar Mike says:

    Kim, did you vote for GWB?

  96. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Does anyone here honestly believe that any of the Founders believed that the Constitution was meant to settle any of these questions ? Does anyone believe that if it was made explicit that the document was to settle these questions – there would be a single signature contributed to ratify ? From my interpretation / my studies to this effect, the Founders were as divided about the role of government and private industry as the nation has ever been since ratification – including during the Progressive era, when [don’t say it ! don’t say it!..] SOCIALISM had its most robust following in this country (so much so that attempts at loading the Supreme Court – via constitutional means – were made). This is why, IMO, replacing reason ~ as justification/indictment of a political ideology ~ with citation of the Constitution is less-than compelling.

    As it relates to the natural world ~ one of my favorite thinkers, Tocqueville (cited by the most fervently conservative & liberal – just like the Constitution), an outsider from France who chronicles his observations of the American experience – and his experience of the American West during its start at western influence, points out what I consider to be an extremely pertinent thought. Whether it be Locke, the Founders, or just the development/unfolding of the general unique social dynamic in America – all of these things/ideologies were inextricably informed by the condition of American abundance of land and natural resource to the west. Locke’s formulation of the right to property, the very mind that informed our Constitutional right to property/contract – a brilliant mind literally cited both by pulpit and by convention readying the minds of colonialists timid to the prospect of revolt – was constructed with the vast expansiveness/abundance of ‘property’ in the New World in mind. To mix labor with soil and have a right to that property as private – with no government’s right to influence – works well when there is limitless soil/property in the vast expanse of the west – but when we hit the limit of that then “limitless” “resource” we run into problems with a purist’s rendition of Locke’s contribution – problems with the strict idea that ‘what’s mine is mine‘.

    When we hit that scarcity – Locke, one of the central minds behind the strict constitutional private property rights advocates, takes a turn and the makings of a [don’t say it ! don’t say it!..] a so-called “SOCIALIST” is found in the very same formulation justifying the private property right.

    In a nutshell – The social contract Locke justifies alongside the private property right gives us freedom and property – but that right and the protection of law afforded our property – renders us contractually obligated to regulation – we have no private property without the protection and assurance of such property afforded by an arbiter between potentially disputing parties (‘that’s my property’ – ‘NO – that’s my property !’). That’s the law – and the administrator of the law is our government. We have no right to property or to relinquish our individual ratification of this social contract so long as we remain under the umbrella of its protection and benefit – enjoying the social services and right to arbitration of alleged wrongdoing is itself an implicit ratification of our consent to regulation. If your private property depreciates what is rightfully my private property – or our public property – then that arbiter has the obligation and the Constitutional mandate as a function of our/my private property right to regulate that ‘taking’.

    There are other “Founding” thinkers who have enunciated since before and informed the development of our Constitution as much as any other the necessity that that arbitration be robust, agile, and strong – as strong and able to properly secure our private and public property against the private “monied” interests who are able to threaten it ‘both foreign and domestic‘ [emphasis mine]. That property right necessitates a strong central government.

    To tie it back to what I consider relevant to our general conversation on this blog. Tocqueville, Locke, all of our Founders, and citizens – the ultimate sovereigns – since the beginning have been in the unique circumstance, and espoused their beliefs informed by these conditions, afforded a country which has had ample natural resources, “space”, ‘frontier’ etc. That condition is paramount to our understanding of the intentions of our political founding – and that condition of limitlessness is coming to an end – has been for quite some time.

    Many of us concern ourselves with preservation of the wild – and of wildlife – all of which exists in that pivotal space taken for granted by our founders. What will we do with that space ? Will we understand it and exploit it in the same way that some of our Founders and subsequent citizen populations understood and exploited it ? We can’t, because that particular faction of our Founders and their ideological brood’s administration of law was afforded the luxury of the panacea of the ‘limitless’. Fortunately, even among that faction, and among other factions – prescriptions to the same fundamental forces of this ongoing tension were codified into the same documents.

    Now – we have too little ‘space’ left and the private “threats” to that public and private space capable of ensuring the continuation of the wild are giant and robust – many are private organizations larger than some nations in this world. That scarcity is apparent – the consequences of that administration of private property are culminating in the rapid and pervasive ‘taking’/depreciation of our public and private property every day.

    Will we starve the only vehicle we have capable of competing with the efficiently destructive machine ~ ‘private enterprise’ ? Will we use it to compel the administration of the public domain in the public interest ? – our common ‘property right’ to clean water, clean air, the valuation of our land that recognizes the loss of diversity of life, wild, etc. as a unjust infringement of our interest/ ‘property right’ ? Or will we begin to build a better appreciation and aggregation of public sentiment toward democratic vehicles that are accountable to the principle of one person one vote ~ equality ~ justice ~ etc. (private industry/corporations are not democratic – but we have starved our social governing bodies to the point that these non-democratic vehicles govern our lives and well-being more than those beholden to democratic principles of equality, justice, etc. – in fact, our democratic/public vehicles have been co-opted by these private interests) and build this vehicle to ward off the loss of the wild.

    Wyo Native,
    call me or whomever a socialist – a ‘watermelon‘ (my favorite):

    Noun
    watermelon (plural watermelons).
    (derogatory slang) An environmentalist with socialist leanings (from the similarily to the fruit, being green on the outside, and red on the inside)

    but don’t leave it at that. Substantiate your position – nobody here has called anyone in favor of “private” governance a “fascist” and left it at that.

  97. avatar JB says:

    “Does anyone here honestly believe that any of the Founders believed that the Constitution was meant to settle any of these questions?”

    No; which is why we (as a society) continue to argue their meaning to this day. I’ve tried three or four times to type more about this subject, but I find its hard to formulate a response that isn’t laced with emotion and contempt. As I really don’t see a point in arguing (I don’t think I’ll be changing any minds, and I doubt anyone will change mine), I’m content to leave the issue be. I wish I could say its been an interesting discussion (I did enjoy the Locke lesson, and the bit about watermelon 😉 ), but unfortunately, this topic seems to bring out the same type of polarizing rhetoric each time it comes up.

    To return the to original criticism: I don’t think Obama will be the savior of the land. However, his lifetime voting record on conservation issues (87%) is a lot better than McCain’s 24%. If you liked the way G.W. Bush handled environmental issues and you enjoyed his appointments (e.g. Gale Norton, who once argued the ESA was unconstitutional, to head the agency that oversees it), then by all means, vote for McCain! After all, it is a free country…well, mostly.

  98. I just got back from a few days of hiking and camping in Yellowstone. All the talk about Locke reminds me of a series of essays I wrote last year on property rights as they pertain to Yellowstone National Park – whether we conceive of them as “private” or “public”.

    If anyone is interested, here is a link to the first of the series of essays:

    http://www.yellowstone-online.com/2007/02/part-1-john-locke-yellowstone-and-dogma.html

  99. that didn’t come out right – at least the hyperlink:

    John Locke, Yellowstone, and the Dogma of the Right to Private Property

    http://www.yellowstone-online.com/2007/02/part-1-john-locke-yellowstone-and-dogma.html

  100. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Brian,

    I like it! I am assuming you were a student of Ralph’s at one time; if so, I admit he taught you well. It has been a long time since the philosophies of Locke and Tocqueville have come up in any of my conversations. In fact I havn’t heard those two names since my American/Wyoming Government and American History classes in college during the mid ’90s.

    I actually respect your way of thinking, although I don’t agree with it.

    Public lands as a whole are a pure form of Socialism, since the collective ownership of those lands are by the public. I accept and support this fact 100%. But I do not agree with a pure form of socialism as an entire Government Philosophy.

    I believe we would fail as a society if our Government (which represents the people) was based on a socio-ecinomic system where property and wealth were distributed evenly among the people. Simply because the power will eventually be taken away form the people, or as a whole the people will no longer contribute to society becasue it is no longer neccessary. The National Socialism philosophy of the Nazi party, the modern day Hugo Chavez form of Socialism/Totalitarianism, and the continued movement of the French from the Democratic Socialsit philosophy to Capitalsim, all support my theory. IMHO

    I assume that by using “fascist” and “private” governance together you are refering to FDR’s definition of fascism; “The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism–ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”

    I beleive that Monopolized Capitalism very easily could lead to the scenario that FDR described, especially since just a few “Private” entities could easily gain control of our politicians. I believe we have a similar scenario with our oil companies today.

    But I do believe in Capitalism though, just not in the a Monopolized form. Like I stated earlier I believe in a Teddy Roosevelt form of Non-Monopolized Capitalism. I believe that this form of capitalism prevents the type of scenario that FDR was so concerned about during the strengthening of the Anti Trust Laws. In my opinion this is where the Governmnet should have a duty to regulate Capitalism. Too bad the Clinton Administration didn’t believe the same thing when the major oil Companies were allowed to merge under his watch.

    I do feal you are a little hypicritcal when you complain about private industry governing our lives when you belong to Special Interests such as WWP, DOW, etc, that are trying to force their views of Public Land usage upon the people. Even though I agree with a majority of the views of WWP, DOW and even the NRA, I don not belong to any of these organizations. I believe Special Interests not matter how good their intentions can be just as bad as Big Government and Big Buisness.

    If you truely believed that “public does a better job of managing its public domain in the public interest than private industry” you probably wouldn’t mind the public voting on increased drilling on Public Lands. Recent polls are showing a majority of people are for increased drilling on our Public Lands, and wouldn’t a majority win under your beliefs? I don’t want this too happen by the way, but it is something to think about.

    BTW, I never called you or any other poster on this blog a “Socialist”, so if I havn’t substantiated my position, feal free to call me a “Fascist”. Besides, I never was a Political Science major, but rather Electrical Engineering, LOL.

  101. Wyo Native,

    I’ve been away a few days, now back.

    My, but this has become an interesting thread!

    I just want to say that no, it would have been a pleasure to have Brian as a student, but he attended Boise State University. I taught at Idaho State University.

  102. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Ralph,

    Welcom back! I sure hope you didn’t mind my alternative view from the norm that most folks that participate on your blog adhere too.

    I am done posting on this particular subject, because like JB said nobody here will change my mind nor will I their’s concerning political agendas.

    I am sorry though, that some of you feal that you have to fit into a particular political agenda too truely care about our Public Lands and the Environment as a whole. Because you are missing out on alot of support from folks like myself, and in todays added pressure for increased development of Public Lands the more support to fight that pressure the better. At least in my opinion.

  103. avatar JB says:

    Back to the subject of the differences between Obama and McCain…

    I went to McCain’s website and looked at his energy policies; featured prominently is his plan to expand domestic oil and natural gas production through more drilling in more places: http://www.johnmccain.com//Informing/Issues/17671aa4-2fe8-4008-859f-0ef1468e96f4.htm.

    As I said before, if you want more of the Bush/Cheney machine, McCain is your man.

  104. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Wyo Native – you got it right with the definition of “fascist” :

    Boy – all this talk is getting kinda heavy ~ i could use a musical intermission…
    What’s more American than Woody Guthrie ? (It ain’t “this land is your land” – but along those same lines 😉 – with our same definition no-less ! )

  105. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Wyo Native says :

    If you truely believed that “public does a better job of managing its public domain in the public interest than private industry” you probably wouldn’t mind the public voting on increased drilling on Public Lands.

    the public has more a role in decisions pertaining to our lands and public domain than the vote – the public, given specific conditions, can also compel judicial review – that function was/is designed to be uniquely apolitical – not concerning itself with popularity – and thank god for that.

    I do feal you are a little hypicritcal when you complain about private industry governing our lives when you belong to Special Interests such as WWP, DOW, etc, that are trying to force their views of Public Land usage upon the people. Even though I agree with a majority of the views of WWP, DOW and even the NRA, I don not belong to any of these organizations. I believe Special Interests not matter how good their intentions can be just as bad as Big Government and Big Buisness.

    My affiliation with WWP is anything but political and I don’t understand the hypocritical characterization that you project onto me via the organization. The association does not ‘force its views’ on anyone – at least no more than demanding strict enforcement of the already existing rule of law – that is a uniquely apolitical position, and one that I admire, especially considering the purpose I have seen in keeping to that even when the storm of political fallout ensues – stoked by those whose conduct is demonstrated as unlawful. I think the record of judicial success is vindication in itself to that effect. I won’t speak to the conduct or intention of other orgs.

    i have no idea whether/if folk within these orgs would agree with me concerning the above. i suspect most do not, and i know that some support the administration/conservation of public lands from a strictly “free market” perspective – within the orgs mentioned – given the inherently destructive influence to free-market principles that subsidization of these private exploitations of public resource has.

    ultimately, the reason why i feel the way that i feel has little to do with the theory and ideology of political party or founders etc. i continue to learn that stuff as it may serve a better understanding of what might be done to help – (and its fun to spar about, so long as no one does something silly like take it personally). But my motivation comes from my experience of the wild, wildlife, public lands etc. it’s probably easier to debate Locke, capitalism, socialism, etc. as those things are more abstract and divorced from the deeply intimate/personal disappointment and dread that accompanies standing on an outcrop of granite overlooking an expanse of sagebrush and watching it go iridescent like the sea with the wind – all amidst the explosive colors of wildflowers – birds veering overhead, the aroma, sage grouse sign ~ and knowing that that space/experience – of which there is so little left – too little left ~ will be lost in a couple of years unless somebody does something.

    i suspect that experiences and values like these in places as diverse as ideologies, more than marx or smith, compels the staunch free-marketeer and rabid socialist – Democrat and Republican alike – to contribute to the same pursuit. if you think all greens are blindly loyal to Democrats – consider this as well.

    I would encourage you to join an association Wyo Native – even if it isn’t WWP – the one i have chosen (and would encourage everyone to join). you’ve obviously got a lot to contribute.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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