Public Lands

  • While those of us who care about our public lands and wildlife are often focused on on-the-ground conditions for this species or that, we can lose sight of the bigger picture. So many of the wildlands and wildlife problems we are concerned about are merely symptoms of agency capture, corruption. “The tendency of regulators to…

  • Twenty five years ago I was working for the Forest Service, on the Pinedale Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming doing Wilderness Rangering. The District had gotten a number of complaints about abusive sheep grazing in the southern end of the Wind River Range (Europe Canyon) and I was assigned to…

  • The 1.6 million acres Deschutes National Forest, Oregon is engaged in an active deforestation effort, all justified based on precluding or slowing wildfires. The Forest also suggests that the logging is “restoring” historical forest conditions. After the spotted owl controversy of the 1980s, the Forest Service lost its social license to log public forests to…

  • On April 24th, 2024, the Vermont Law and Graduate School and Wild Horse Fire Brigade sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) District office in Medford, Oregon, proposing a collaboration between the Wild Horse (feral) Fire Brigade and the BLM to reduce wildfire threat through feral horse grazing on the Cascade-Siskiyou National…

  • The Gallatin Range, which stretches from Bozeman’s backyard south into Yellowstone National Park, is the most significant piece of wildland of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem that lacks permanent protection. Protecting this area as wilderness has been an ongoing battle since 1910, when Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, recommended special protection due to its…

  • The Washington Post published an article a few years ago that repeated the old and flawed idea that ranching will “protect” the land and suggesting conservation easements are the solution to sprawl. If championing cows or hayfields is your conservation policy, one must rethink the strategy. Keep in mind that nearly all the development found…

  • The seminal work on public lands livestock grazing and its web of impacts, Welfare Ranching – The Subsidized Destruction of the American West is now available for download.

  • This past week the Biden Administration reversed a permit approved by the Trump Administration that would have allowed  the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to construct a 211-mile industrial road through the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve to access copper and zinc deposits in Northwest Alaska. Except for the route across…

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