A rural minority rules the urban majority in the West, Why?

We read that Westerners are moving to take back the federal lands, or Westerners are upset about too much environmental protection. We watch Old West  Cliven Bundy get away with stealing grass and his supporters massing to maybe gun down BLM law enforcement in a rare show of force by the BLM.

Renegade ATV riders illegally ride through Recapture Canyon in SE Utah. The event is organised from rural San Juan County, Utah.  In this link, Rocky Barker of the Idaho Statesman tells of the recent joint Blaine County/Custer County commission meeting  on a possible Sawtooth National Monument. A quick read shows the Custer County commissioners are plenty unpleasant about the whole thing. Salmon, Idaho, in nearby Lemhi County was the site of the wolf and coyote killing contest last winter and notable for its long time hostility to “outsiders” and anything green.

Scores more incidents could be added, but note that Bundy lives in a rural part of Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas). San Juan County is a rural population speck of nothing in Utah, one of the most urban of all the states in terms of where its residents live. Blaine County is large in area, but almost all its residents (21,376) live in the densely populated and well-off towns of Hailey, Ketchum, Sun Valley, and Bellevue in the county’s narrow Wood River Valley. Custer County is larger still, far less populated (4,368) and much poorer with only one real town, Challis (population 1081). Custer County has just one person per square mile.  Lemhi County has 1 1/2 persons per square mile.

Idaho politicians go to Blaine County to raise campaign funds and yet bad mouth the place in their campaign speeches. Nonetheless, they keep getting big donations out of Blaine County. The Custer County attitude of hostile backwardness, however, is the mantra of most state level Idaho politicians.

When we are directed to look at those Westerners supposedly moving to assume control of the public lands, they come from rural parts of their states. This is something the news media somehow neglects to tell us.  Rural leaders complain about job losses and often blame them on the federal government not allowing enough development on public lands. The veracity of these claims are rarely checked.  Unemployment in urban Western areas is merely noted, but the stereotype of people who would rather live a life of ease on the “overly generous” unemployment benefits is typically cited.

Why the hell doesn’t the disproportionate urban majority of the West count? The public lands belong to all Americans — certainly to all those in the West, but look who is telling us what to do and what is wrong with us, this mean-spirited rural minority.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

77 Responses to It’s always the rural counties in the West that are nasty

  1. LAbradford says:

    The people you mention are the ones who have systematically destroyed ecosystems by eliminating predators and competition species like bison and wild horses over grazing, and water rights. If it were left up to these people the landscape would be devoid of any wildlife whatsoever. They possess an incredible sense of unwarranted entitlement while living a lifestyle that sucks up natural resources and gives nothing back to the land. The irony is the land they claim as rightly theirs was stolen from the Native peoples by their ancestors.

    • Denise says:

      Our Otero County Commission chose to ‘donate’ $5,000 to the American Lands Council for 4th or 5th yr in a row. I’ve never heard it summarized as well, “The people you mention are the ones who have systematically destroyed ecosystems by eliminating predators and competition species like bison and wild horses over grazing, and water rights. If it were left up to these people the landscape would be devoid of any wildlife whatsoever. They possess an incredible sense of unwarranted entitlement while living a lifestyle that sucks up natural resources and gives nothing back to the land. The irony is the land they claim as rightly theirs was stolen from the Native peoples by their ancestors.”

  2. CodyCoyote says:

    My Park County WY commissioners did something last week that caught me off guard. They gave $ 5000 in tax money to a 501 (c) 4 organization based in South Jordan Utah dedicated to coordinating the effort to revert federal lands to the States.

    That organization is called the American Lands Council.
    American Lands Council
    10808 S. River Front Pkwy Ste 334
    South Jordan, UT 84095

    (801) ALC-6622

    I am putting this info here because I tried and tried to find out something —anything — and determine a responsible person or party for the ALC. I came up mostly empty. Whoever they are, they do not want to attach a face to their name. But thanks to a tangential glance at Glenn Beck’s website as a result of a wide Google search about ALC , it was revealed that the President of American Lands Council is Ken Ivory, a Utah state legislator from Jordan. The address given for their office is in a very swank office park. Shows up well in Google Earth / Google Maps street view as being a first class joint. These people are not working out of a steel building or a dusky motel room.

    While their website is flashy , it is almost entirely rhetorical and very conservative rhetoric at that ( you’d say far right wing if demanded to define it ). Yet it’s reach is quite extensive. The ALC has been successful in getting many counties in the rural or sub-metro West to join up and bankroll…I counted no less than 38 western Counties in Wyoming, Idaho, Utah , Nevada, Oregon , and Washington…most enrolled at the ” Silver” or ” Bronze” funding level. So these folks are definitely conscripting county governments, big time. Like my own.

    Searches also came up with isolated unrelated unattributed comments that American Lands Council is partially or maybe substantially supported by the Koch brothers’ organization(s) , a few steps removed from the letterhead.

    The largest single individual contributors to ALC funding is the team of Bert and Kathy Smith of Ogden UT who are well known as striden and financially generous supports of the ” 9 – 12 ” movement spearheaded by Glenn Beck.

    There is also an ALC public Facebook page that is interesting reading, but keep your anti-nausea meds handy.

    The Bottom Line: the American Lands Council is a primary driver of the ” take back our federal lands” campaign in the American West , and they appear to be well organized while avoiding the bright light and PR prominence. They work in the shadows, but are racking up support in state and county governments. I suspect they are using a modified ALEC model and have taken operational lessons from the Heartland Institute.

    It would be a coups to establish a hard connection to the Kochs.

    Should we be concerned about the American Lands Council 501(c) 4 group. My research says yes.

    Anecdotes from your neck of the West concerning ALC would be appreciated.

    • Mark L says:

      Only email I see for the site is someone named Becky, BTW.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Cody Coyote,

      The interesting thing about Ivory, who is clearly the land grab’s public point man in Utah is that he is not from a rural district. http://le.utah.gov/house2/detail.jsp?i=IVORYK.

      The tea party has recently swallowed the idea that the states should have this land because of their ideology. More thoughtful right wing Republicans do worry about the details of the matter, such as how could the states pay for it, especially fire fighting.

      The tea party seems to increasing rely on magical thinking because maybe God will perform a miracle. They don’t bother to think about it.

      • Jay says:

        You don’t have much need for fire fighting when you’ve cut down every marketable tree standing. Then it would be “thanks for the land U.S. Govt, but we don’t want it anymore. Except for the minerals and oil/gas–that’s still ours.”

    • Leslie says:

      Cody, I don’t get how these Park County commissioners keep spending my property tax $$ on partisan issues (that I strongly disagree with), yet my county road is in terrible condition. How do you recommend I get my voice heard?

      • CodyCoyote says:


        A: Get on the e-mailing list for the Park County Commission meeting and business agenda. The agendas are public record and will be sent to all who request them.

        Draft agendas come out on Friday afternoon . Final agendas the day before the meeting.

        Send request to : WMaslak@ParkCounty.us

        All five Commissioners can be reached with one blanket e-mail sent to: commissioners@parkcounty.us

        They are each issued County laptops and use them at work and at home, so there is no excuse for not recieving your correpondence. Even the tractor driver from Powell….

    • Marc says:

      As a general rule, I don’t like blaming everything on the Koch Brothers. Wolves would be in a better position today if the Koch Brothers had succeeded in their effort to unseat Rancher-Democratic Senator Tester of Montana.

      Having said that, I am, of course, no fan of the Koch Brothers. There may not be a way to establish a direct connection between the Koch brothers and the American Lands Council (ALC), but the ALC agenda closely follows the public land agenda of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The Koch Brothers are a major funding source for ALEC.

  3. The Wilderness Guy says:

    The GOP, especially in the rural west has become “the Party of Someones Crazy Old Uncle”.

  4. Jon Way says:

    From the outside, these people seem like the ultimate hypercrites. Live off the federal government and their lands, get more tax revenue back from the rest of America, but bitch about the mouths that feed them… They seem more welfare oriented than the typical people “these people” complain about. Great posts and passion to them, Ralph.

  5. Yvette says:

    Something else to think about is the economic responsibility of the state if they ever manage to gain control over some of the federal lands.

    Here is a situation that is a little different than federal land going to state authority. It’s from a few years back when states were facing serious budget cuts due to the great recession. Oklahoma needed to rid itself the responsibility of seven state parks. Three tribes stepped up and took over management of two of the parks. I know this isn’t the same situation since it isn’t federal land, but it is worth noting that states face different economic challenges than do the federal agencies.

    This might be a worthy argument for those that want to keep federal land from being transferred to states.



    • Larry says:

      We here all know that the first thing states would do to mitigate the funding short fall needed to manage all these lands would be to sell chunks to wealthy groups for resorts. They would call it enhancing recreation but it would only enhance the wealthy.

      • WM says:

        Some of the same folks I mention below. Probably talking about that very thing over their glasses of expensive wine, as they nod to each other, while cutting checks to the American Lands Council, and mutter softly that they hope they keep their names off donor lists of the 501(c)4 tax forms.

  6. WM says:


    ++…almost all its residents (21,376) live in the densely populated and well-off towns of Hailey, Ketchum, Sun Valley, and Bellevue in the county’s narrow Wood River Valley.++

    I often wonder about places like this, which also include Jackson, Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Palm Springs, Yellowstone Club. Many of the folks who live/vacation in these exclusive places have directly or indirectly gained fortunes from the West (whether thru direct or indirect exploitation of the West – either as extractive company owners, progeny of owners, or thru Wall St. stock investment in mining, insurance [some own logging and mining interests], or folks like advertising executives, actors or computer techies originally made their initial fortunes from other activities then subsequently invested in businesses which exploit the West). So, I would also add there are a bunch of folks who are far less pure than their public personas would suggest. I am guessing there are some who secretly wish to see some states take over lands that don’t really matter in their secure little bucolic worlds, as they sit on the deck and drink $75/bottle chardonnay, with their arugula salads, while looking up at snow covered peaks, deer munching on roses in the garden. Not, 1 percenters, but maybe 5-10 percenters.

    And then, there are those on the other end of the spectrum, trying to make a work-a-day living in these fringe ecosystems of the West, with whatever subsidies the federal government thru legislation has bestowed for over a hundred years, to settle and develop the once untamed lands. Times are changing – but will it be the way some hope, with more wilderness or national monuments protecting the land, or is the state control of federal lands a growing movement that will get traction in Congress? I think the probability of the latter is small, but nonetheless troubling.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      There’s another possility that worries me more than these two put together – that the Federal government will try to cash in also, creating more solar and wind farms, ‘mitigation’ areas, and turning the National Parks into semi-wild theme parks in order to make them profitable, and ‘accessible’ to the multitudes. Whether or not wolves, etc are sold off to hunting interests, or gawking tourists edging gradually closer and habituating them only marginally better, it’s not a pleasant view of the future either.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        And ‘the states would be worse’ is little comfort. I’m tired of having to choose between bad and worse. Where’s better?

      • The Wilderness Guy says:

        Simple. Get off the road, and go into the backcountry. You won’t see that sort of garbage.

      • Mike says:

        While one can outline many complaints concerning how federal land is managed, be very careful.

        Federal land is the only thing stopping these selfish nutbags from ruining it all.

        I spend about 90 tent nights a year across the country on public land. Rarely, very rarely is state or county land on par with ecosystems on federal land. In fact, the closer you get to a national forest, the better everything gets. Same for national parks, BLM land, and so forth.

        County and state lands are too easily corrupted by local industry. They don’t see logging or pesticide spraying as “intrusive” but rather as everyday common place maintenance. the concept of conservation is lost on them. In places like Starved Rock State Park in Illinois, you have a 2,000 acre park (pathetically one of the wildest in the state), that is 500 acres of parking lot and lodging for weddings.

        In many ways, things improved for federal land thanks to the roadless imitative. But there is still much work to be done.

        One thing I’m not fond of is the commercialization of national parks and the invasiveness of companies like Xanterra and the private campground concessionaires. If the sage-brushers ever won, they already have a vast system of private concessionaires with public land service contracts deeply rooted in the system. A complete takeover would not be difficult, especially in our most popular parks.

        Sneaky, right?

        • Ida Lupines says:

          A few years ago I would have agreed with you – but our Federal government is a little too conciliatory and to easily yields to the demands all of these groups as well – especially big energy and agriculture. The Federal government is lousy with special interests. Now they want to screw up habitat rules. I think it is terribly unrealistic to think that voluntary agreements are going to do anything at all. It’s just a giveaway. We don’t seem to be able to see our own shortcomings such as dishonesty.

          • Mike says:

            Despite considerable failings and giveaways, federal lands are still the last best.

            It all comes down to preventing commercial and private development. That’s what these lands do. They are a wall to the sprawl. They must remain intact, for as long as we live.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              They are adding to the sprawl with industrial wind and solar. They aren’t inspecting oil and fracking wells. They roll over and lay down for ranching interests, and are opening up more and more ‘refuges’ to hunting. They only care about human needs and wants, and not protecting wildlife.

              Of course it would be much worse with the states running the show themselves (as we can see with wolf delisting as an example), but the Federal government wants to continue on with delisting in the rest of the country. Now they are proposing letting ranchers and hunters write their own (voluntary) rules for wildlife conservation. Come election time, we need to get rid of them, and start all over again.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                I guess what bothers me is how naïve and clueless not only our current administration and the American public is not only about ecology, but about people doing the right thing, no matter how many times confronted with evidence to the contrary.

          • The Wilderness Guy says:

            Sorry, but I dont agree with your assessment Ida. I tend to agree with Mike. I also spend numerous nights out in the backcountry of many of our wilderness areas and national park lands throughout the year, and I don’t see the same thing you are stating. I agree, that in the frontcountry areas that our National Parks and National Recreation Area, there are some issues, but that has been occurring for over a century. I’d say that the protection of the ecosystems are becoming better over the last decades, because of the environmentalists pushing for better regulations. Glacier already put in place a plan to better manage the front country region from resource damage. Their plan, while it could be seen as “overly restricitive with more bureaucratic rules” is being put in place to make sure that the resources are protected, and wildlife and fauna are enhanced, instead of destroyed by heavily used areas. Same can be pointed out in many other areas. The only place id say this hasn’t occurred is in Yosemite Valley, and around Old Faithful. But, then again, those are the front country regions that almost 99% of tourists go to, while the rest of the parks remain relatively free of crowds. So, once again, to make those claims, you have to prove that other areas like the Bechler, the backcountry bordering the Absorakas, and the backcountry of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc was being heavily impacted and commercialized. That is far from the case. Yosemite, Glacier, etc intentionally limits the amount of backcountry campers in a specific area. There also isn’t a starbucks in any of those areas. If i’m mistaken. Prove me wrong. Assumptions and conspiracies are one thing. Reality is another thing all together.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              It should be more than just the backcountry protected. Nobody wants to see blight in the front country either. A poor argument, because not everybody wants a backcountry experience.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                I’m the kind that seeks solitude and recharging in wilderness, taking day into evening hikes. I don’t need or want to conquer it. Staying at an old and historic hotel like the Ahwahnee. I’m a wildlife watcher and a sketcher. I don’t want cell phones, computers, and television and garbage to interfere. After Labor Day. 🙂

              • The Wilderness Guy says:

                The only way that can happen is to get rid of the roads, altogether, and limit the type of tourists that dont want a wilderness experience. Otherwise, you are what you sow when you go to a “wilderness” and expect to stay in a hotel, whether it’s primitive or not.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Sorry, you sound like you are making excuses. I don’t necessarily need to explore the wilderness, I’m happy to leave it alone and untouched is the point I am making. The word “trammel” comes to mind. I’m happy knowing there are places humans can’t go. I may or may not decide to venture out, but I don’t need you to tell me where I can go. There is more than one outdoor experience. I like long hikes, quiet canoeing, wildlife watching, writing and sketching. I don’t need ATVs or whitewater rafting or sensory overload.

              • The Wilderness Guy says:

                Wilderness areas protected by the wilderness act don’t allow ATV’s, so i’m stating, that there are a lot of areas protected in this country where you can escape the hustle and bustle of modern day society.

                I’m not making excuses. I’m telling you that your assumptions are wrong. VERY wrong, and obviously you don’t go into the backcountry, so your knowledge and expertise of those places is limited. To state that what you see in frontcountry is “a wilderness experience” is misguided. And no, one doesn’t have to go “trammeling through the wilderness”. Some of us practice leave no trace, and apply the principals we grew up with. Anyone can go anywhere on this planet, it just requires some gumption and fortitude.

                • Larry says:

                  Perspectives are different for different people and those perspectives change as life changes. Point – I know well the experience of wilderness in Idaho, Colorado, Washington and some of Alaska. But my perspective now is not in those places except the experiences that will never leave my mind. I can no longer journey to those near and dear places that have a religious feeling to me. Old age brings on new perspectives and those can be fulfilling as well. I have a couple of acres or more of woodlot that I have kept undisturbed since I acquired it. Each year I plant new seedlings, add a brush pile and more bird houses. I even built a rustic old cabin for me and my grandkids. Didn’t disturb the land except for the support blocks and we enjoy the sounds and visitors of those that live there fulltime. The boys have discovered salamanders, snakes, a page full of birds, weasels, rabbits and the passing deer and coyote. I teach my kids why it’s cooler in the woodlot on a hot day and show them the thermometer difference in soil temps. Why the decaying leaves are important to leave in place rather than rake them. Why some trees reach out to the sun and others not. My wilderness now is out my back door. I can’t climb to the top of San Luis Peak in Colorado anymore but we can still find the peace wilderness brings if we look for it and have the right perspective. In the rural counties of the West some have lost their perspective maybe because wildness is so close they can’t see the forest for the trees. It is perspective along with empathy for life that the naturalness supports, and they need to be able to see it.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Wilderness Guy, I do no have to justify where I have traveled to or my opinions to you. Leave no trace? Don’t make me laugh.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Bravo, Larry!

                When it comes to defending wildlife and wildlands, I have no problem with being rude. 🙂

              • The Wilderness Guy says:

                The worst kinds are urbans that never got their hands dirty, but masquerade as the all knowing all seeing enviros. They damage the rights of real people that spend time in the wild.

                Thanks for acknowledging that you are a mere fraud.

              • The Wilderness Guy says:


                I realize you wouldn’t know what leave no trace is about, because you have never attempted such a thing. It doesnt matter to me at this point, what you say. I can’t take you seriously at this point. I like to fight for the rights of wildlife, and to protect habitats as well. It takes people to get into those areas to know what is there, and to analyze what is needed to protect it, or enhance it.

                You can’t blog from a concrete bunker and pretend you are knowledgable about what is happening in the wilderness areas of our country, if you are not experiencing them. To me that is the biggest type of fraud going on in these blogs. Whether it’s here, on remingtons site, the countless facebook pages, etc. You are either in it or your not. If your not, then you are a mere poser.

    • farmrdave says:

      Wm, I feel you misunderstand why people live the free life, also how it is paid for. Some people feel that living in the eastern metropolitan areas is akin to a jail sentence. For that matter any metropolitan area. These are persons who respect each other and take pride in what they do with their lives and have no desire to be a tiny cog in a business run at others discretion. To walk only on marked paths, to live in apartment houses with neighbors on each side of the walls, to register themselves in order to own and use guns. Instead they wish the American dream. Living life in peace with your neighbors. Not the “rat race” and public transportation of a concrete jungle. The jobs in most of the country revolve around productive work for fair pay. In my state we make lumber products. In Mr. Bundy’s ranch they grow food to feed thousands. It is hard honest work. It gives a person self respect and pride to be productive.
      As to the fringe part of your comment. Our cities are the fringe element that suck up the resources without putting anything back into the land where these resources come from. Go out into the world more and learn what life is about. One reason huge city complexes exist is to house those who are unwilling to do what it takes to live on this planet with their own two hands. Those with ego’s that tell them others owe them and they can decide how all others should live.
      Do you know what majority tyranny is? It is against constitutional law in case you have a different answer.

      • Larry says:

        You bring up Bundy as an example of hard, honest, work. I would then point out to you that I feel you misunderstand why so many people see his theft of government property as what it is, lining his own pockets with contraband and destroying the ground from which he steals it. Nothing wrong with hard, honest work. The only caveat to that in this country is that it be done in accordance with the law. You also should be careful how you refer to those in the metro areas that package your morning cereal or manufacture the medicines that keep you alive beyond your years. There are real jails with real bars made for people that steal from others and try to sell it as a constitutional right.

        • Larry says:

          Farmrdave, I also point out to you a misunderstanding that you have of what sinks your ship. It is unfortunate enough that you seem to have contempt for others not living your life style, but to applaud the criminal element of your life style certainly blows a large hole in your ship below the waterline.

          • Nancy says:


            “Our cities are the fringe element that ****suck up the resources*** without putting anything back into the land where these resources come from”

            FD – what about the billions doled out in subsidies and cheap public land grazing in the west that come out of the pockets of those “fringe elements”?

            Guessing FD, you don’t realize that “the fringe element” keeps you and the Bundys out there….in business.

            And, I wonder FD, if you’ve spent much time in a supermarket lately and looked at the price tag on produce, dairy and meat?

            And yes, there are probably thousands (if not millions) out there that would love to live the American Dream but then we’d have to start discussions on population control and that’s an ugly subject when it comes to the “breeders” in this country, whether they are in the projects or the heart of the homeland 🙂

            • farmrdave says:

              Nancy you must understand that 60 to 90% of the cost of everything you buy in a store including meat and produce is hidden tax and markup. And you are exactly right that my produce is consumed by consumers. But the millions of people that would like to live my life are not willing to do the extra work, they want to do other things instead, or maybe they don’t have the background or opportunity to do it. In any case it is self regulating and nothing to implement population control over.

              As for subsidies, grazing cattle on range land is not a subsidy. The fees charged are for maintenance of the structures and direct costs of managing the land (not profit). The US Government did not get into the grazing land thing until long after the ground rules and been established. It is a method of everyone benefiting from the vast expanses of nearly unusable land, but grazing the land does not limit it for all other uses as well, recreation, hunting, mining, timber harvest, etc. Tobacco gets subsidies, cotton gets subsidies and others but it is a vary complicated insurance program. Managed sometimes as a tool for our government to use in stabilizing the price and availability of goods. It is not a free ride for farmers and ranchers, it is not welfare. Although sometimes it is abused horribly like all government programs. The money for farming and ranching does not come from the pockets of anyone who does not buy the produce.

          • farmrdave says:

            I have no contempt for those who walk a different path. I do have problems with those who wish to guide my path. We are fortunate to be born into this country where our right to choose our own path is protected by the highest laws in the land. It seems the internet is unraveling the mystique of politics Today England voted itself out of the European Union. Many people in the west and maybe elsewhere are beginning to wake up to the blatant over-reach of our federal and state governments. Things are changing.

            It is the opinion of the US Government that Mr. Bundy was not operating his cattle ranch in accordance with their wishes and claims. Mr. Bundy claims the US Government has no authority to own or in his case manage grazing lands within the state of Nevada. Our constitution agrees with Mr. Bundy whether you like it or not. You say government property, I know you are incorrect in that claim. It is public land intended to be safeguarded and managed by local, state, and federal governments to provide the most benefit to the public. Not to be locked away and use denied. Not to be sold to (donated)the UNited Nations as world heritage property.

            • timz says:

              farmdave,I think I just heard my cuckoo clock go off. Or maybe the sound just entered my head as I was ready your post.

  7. Ida Lupines says:

    I hate that concept of ‘mine’. It’s greedy, one of the ugliest qualities human beings have. We may not mean it like that when we say it, but that’s what it sounds like to me. I think Federal lands belong to all who live there, including wildlife, and if they were here before us, they have every right if not more right to live there and have equal access to the resources.

    I don’t think of myself as a god either, put here to manage, meddle, and decide (and screw up) which creatures get to live, which don’t, and the extent of where they can live – but where we have complete and full access to. *shudder*

  8. Chris Harbin says:

    ” I don’t need you to tell me where I can go ”

    Boiled down, this is the same thing that these land-grabbers are saying. They should be allowed to ride into Recapture Canyon or salt Wash in Utah because ” I don’t need you to tell me where I can go”. I think I know what you were trying to say Ida but…..

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Nice try, but no. An A for effort, but fail. I guess I should have said “I don’t need you to tell me where I can’t go”. I don’t want to ride into anywhere, but to leave it be. So it is the exact opposite of what the land-grabbers are saying.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        And the Federal gov’t is a land grabber also – since the founding of our country.

        • Nancy says:

          Ida – a day’s walk about in a so called local “wildness area” back east (with a nice room, even historic, to comeback to 🙂 doesn’t even come close to what still needs to be challenged and hopefully left, of wilderness areas out here.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            Well, duh! Of course it doesn’t. What do I have to do with it? I want to preserve it and protect it, but I don’t have to ‘use’ it. Can’t anyone understand that people could not have a selfish reason?

          • Ida Lupines says:

            And what do you know about the East?

            • Ida Lupines says:

              People in the West I hope will learn from the East’s mistakes – but they don’t seem to be learning. Although since people here by and large are city-centric and don’t hunt as much as they do in the West, the wilderness is coming back from benign neglect. Yay! We still have a lot left in certain areas.


              A hotel that’s been around since the ’20s, and is already in existence is a lot different than more and more new construction.

            • Nancy says:

              Spent most of my youth in Northern Virginia Ida. Back when there were still huge tracts of undeveloped land to roam around on – fields, woodlands, flowing creeks and I and some friends, took every opportunity to explore and relish their existence 🙂

              That entire area is now wall to wall subdivisions, paved roads and highways, shopping centers and everything else associated with human “progress”

              • Ida Lupines says:

                That entire area is now wall to wall subdivisions, paved roads and highways, shopping centers and everything else associated with human “progress”

                There’s nothing more wasteful, I know. And tacky also! Unforgivable.

            • Jay says:

              What do you know about the west?

      • Chris Harbin says:

        ” I don’t need you to tell me where I can go ”
        “I don’t need you to tell me where I can’t go”.

        Both of these statements mean the same thing.
        To call out Nancy for credentials on the “East” is kind of rude.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          Yes, when in doubt refer to both. Gold star for you! 🙂

          • JEFF E says:

            Hayzoos Christo.

            WHEN are you going to be nothing more than a shadow??

    • Ida Lupines says:

      No, it isn’t the same thing as the land-grabbers are saying.

      If someone or an entity in a position of authority should tell me where I can and can’t go, I respect that, and encourage it. IMO more places should be off limits to human traffic to allow wildlife to live undisturbed.

      What I meant was if someone online I’ve never met and never will, who I don’t know from Adam tells me how I should experience the wilderness, then he or she has not right to tell me how I should enjoy it, and where I should go. I am dismayed by the National Park crowds and cell phone tower at Old Faithful. I don’t think modern technology has any place in the National Parks, but should be an escape from it. So it isn’t the same as the land-grabbers.

  9. Ida Lupine says:

    I don’t really consider Virginia emblematic of “The East”. It’s more the mid-Atlantic or South to me. If you want to think of the “East”, to me it’s the Northeast and our oppressive overpopulated areas – but we have some very wild areas in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire – and the “Live Free or Die” types too.

    • The Wilderness Guy says:

      The largest wilderness areas east of the mississippi are in the southeast. The Okefenokee, and Everglades are large tracts of wilderness, and are some of the largest tracts of wilderness in the system. Virginia actually has the most Appalachian wilderness set aside from Maine to Georgia. Most of it around the Appalachian trail. These wilderness areas are quite small compared to the larger tracts in the Western US.

      Still, states like Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and California have large tracts of wilderness set aside. You could spend multiple lifetimes exploring Californias wilderness ares, that is how much of it is set aside. And many of these places are not overcrowded, and filled with semi-wild disney like theme parks.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        many of these places are not overcrowded, and filled with semi-wild disney like theme parks.

        Not yet they aren’t. Just give it time. That is the point I want to make, and that you don’t want to acknowledge. No, I have not been to every wilderness in the country, but I’ve been to enough to know they are valuable and to be protected from exploitation of any kind, and they are home to wildlife, not just a place for human recreation or human activity.

        • The Wilderness Guy says:

          You are no better than someone over at remington.com when you make these claims that the wilderness protected by the wilderness act is eventually going to be paved over and disneyfied. I call BS on that. It’s the enviro version of something you would see on Alex Jones.

          If anything, we need more wilderness added in the Eastern US, and that should be the focus of people like you. You live there, then start working on it. We need more forests protected to where watersheds providing pure clean drinking water, and old growth forests that filter the heavily polluted air. The eastern US has more forests that produce more oxygen than the western US, and it’s time to see Easterners attempt to clean up their own back yard too. You spend more time fighting against the west and irking the sage brush rebellion types, than you do for protecting the vast forest lands that can be fostered in the east from the ever increasing urbanization. It’s easy to blog from a suburb about western lands you have never seen, but it just makes you look insane to those of us that actually have been in these areas.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            Well, I hope you are right.

            If anything, we need more wilderness added in the Eastern US, and that should be the focus of people like you. You live there, then start working on it. We need more forests protected to where watersheds providing pure clean drinking water, and old growth forests that filter the heavily polluted air. The eastern US has more forests that produce more oxygen than the western US, and it’s time to see Easterners attempt to clean up their own back yard too.

            Yes here we agree, I’m trying very hard to do this to the extent that I can. Of course, these places are important to me also, and because I live here.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        Yes, I really like Virginia and almost moved there. It’s beautiful. I was not putting down Virginia, not at all.

  10. Ida Lupines says:

    Wildernessguy, you don’t know anything about me, or what my outdoor experiences have been. You are the one blogging from a concrete bunker as far as I know. You’ve read a few posts that I have shared, that is all. And yet you have the gall to label me. I certainly practice leave no trace, and I can see that the majority of people leave plenty of trace when they are outdoors. If you think people don’t you are in never-never land. Don’t bother subjecting me with your bullshit any longer. Most people pretend to and aspire to be great outdoor types, and you sound like one of those. All your selfish, personal playground.

    Remington? Geat real. Trying to associate someone you disagree with with fringe groups like Sagebrush types or anti-wolf fanatics means you don’t have a leg to stand on, and you know it.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      And you are wrong, it takes all kinds to protect wildlife and wilderness. You don’t have to have experienced every wilderness in every way to expand your mind to want to protect every wilderness from the experiences you have had. There’s a large middle ground between being ‘in it or not’, and in years to come everyone’s voice will be even more important. I think that is what some of you fear – that you’ll lose your stronghold on it. I don’t know who you really are, you could be the poseur.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        Sorry, I should have written – ‘You don’t have to have experienced every wilderness in every way to expand your mind to include every wilderness from the experiences you have had.’

        It’s the love of nature, not ego.

    • The Wilderness Guy says:

      I’m not the one BSing here. You already said, you don’t go into wilderness. Obviously you live in the northeast, where there are just small 7 acre wilderness lands. Yes, there is the adirondacks, the forested yet private tracts of Maine, and the presidential range, those areas are either small tracts of wilderness, or not even part of the wilderness act. I’ve been in my share of places, where i’ve seen little signs to zero signs of human activity. So, yes leave no trace is an important part about visiting the wilderness, and the wilderness areas that are set aside demand that people that go in to them practice those principals. It’s universal, and accepted.

      I also don’t see wilderness as my “personal playground”. That is where you are wrong, and foolish. It’s something I experience, something I study, something that I greatly respect and admire when im in these cathedrals of wilderness. It’s my version of church, my version of peace. You can sit there are fault people for wanting to go into these places, but that just makes you a giant hipocrite, especially when you pretend to know about western wilderness, or any sort of wilderness and you never go into them.

      It’s evident you have not spent a real day in the backcountry of a wilderness, but you make all these claims that you cant back up. Your posts about the commercialization of our wilderness is one such claim. I call BS on it. That’s what originally got this going. And, yes, I spend time in those places, and I don’t see that happening. I’m providing simply my experience and viewpoint. If you don’t go into these areas, then how can you make assumptions about what is going on in them? You cant.

      People like you are the ones that are pushing these fringe types.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        I have never spent one day in wilderness? This is where you have misinterpreted. I do go into wilderness, a lot. Or at least out into the solace of nature, quite often. I noticed you seem to want to drive that point home for some reason, so you keep repeating yourself. I’ll repeat as well: I do go into wilderness, but not as much as you say you do. I have experienced some places in the West, but I have never lived there. Apparently my experiences are just not the way you experience it, and you think your way is better. You seem to be a wilderness snob.

        In case you haven’t noticed, our wilderness is rapidly disappearing. I see these places as sacred the same as you do – but not all of us do, just as a place to meet personal goals such as conquering a mountain or a rapids.

        • The Wilderness Guy says:

          Yes, the potential for wilderness in the east and midwest is vastly disappearing. That’s not the case in the west. The west is wilderness rich, and it would take multiple lifetimes to even see all the wilderness lands set aside in a single state in the west.

          Your focus is misdirected. It should be focused on restoring your backyard. If more people in the east actually did that, it wouldn’t spur the sage brush rebellion types. I can understand why some rebel against the idea of more wilderness in the west, when the east is just even increasing urbanization of areas that should be preserved or set aside, but are instead developed into more suburban subdivisions for people to blog on a computer about protecting more lands in the west.

          • Jake Jenson says:

            Good grief, I’ve put in countless miles and hours in two of Idaho’s Wilderness areas and wilderness lands connected around those areas. In them, through them, across them. Including in winter. Using various methods of travel.

            Snow shoe, ski, snow machine on roads to boundaries then skiing into Wilderness. Horse strings. Back pack.

            I’ve put in ten thousand horseback miles in the Sawtooth alone, and again in the River of No Return. There is so much in there I will never see. I cannot imagine needing to go to any other regions in the lower 48 because I have more than I could ever access right here. And then there is the burnout. Not of being there but of the great effort to get back in there.

            My last outing was 100+ days. I’m shooting for about that this next time out. You’re right, I see all of the chatter by less experienced folks and I just really don’t have anything to say to them. Some places out there hold something over on myself thus I spend time seeing them again and pushing off the new path into a strange and exciting unknown area.

            I’m looking forward towards another full moon atop a certain Wilderness peak soon. Then I can howl.

            I don’t like to share this stuff because people get ticked off about it for some reason. It’s there and I wanted to touch it all. Feel it, smell it, hear it, live it.

            • The Wilderness Guy says:

              This is similar to all those people that lament “the sawtooths are over crowded”, and then when you ask them where they’ve been and they say “redfish lake”.

              This country is so diverse, and the wilderness lands are too. Your experience you can have in the Sawtooths are just as grand as one can find in a places like the soutwestern deserts, or paddling deep into the alligator and mosquito infested confines of the swampy wilderness lands in the southeast, or meandering along the quaint but beautiful forests along the Appalachian Trail region, or traversing up a large volcano in the rainforest regions in the Cascades. It’s all good, and there is quite a bit already set aside. Does there need to be more? Maybe. I think the boulder white clouds is definitely deserving of better protection, and a few other places are too. But there is a point where a balance needs to be reached between both sides of the spectrum. I thought testers Montana wilderness bill that also set aside some areas for perpetual logging was quite fair and rational, and a good compromise, but the critics stormed out, and the bill hasn’t moved so far. Can’t have it all. Compromise is needed, and 99% of humanity has wood in their homes.

              • Yvette says:

                One thing that separates the Recapture Canyon issue is that it is also an archeological site that is important to the Dine(Navajo) and Paiute. If I were on their tribal council I’d be having discussions on the legal ramifications of the BLM not protecting those sites. There are federal laws that are specific to Native Americans, like Native American Graves and Repatriation Act that was written and enacted in direct response to the desecration that has already occurred.

                It’s a tool. the tribes should bring it to the table and hold that county and BLM to task. That will protect that site, or at least, raise other obstacles to the intentional destruction.

              • topher says:

                Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. I would add that there’s nothing wrong with being a “wilderness snob” and the Sawtooths can get a little crowded during the summer months.

              • Nancy says:


                🙂 The link is on my desktop and I’ve enjoyed clicking on it over the winter. The lake has finally thawed.

                I prefer the “The Bob” though, especially this time of year. Some amazing country above the Gibson Reservoir. Nothing motorized allowed which is a nice change from forest areas around me where ATV’s and dirt bikes (and fricken cows) are the norm.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              That actually sounds pretty good! 🙂


May 2014


‎"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