Friday, February 22, 2013

Song Of The Day #1026

Borderlands Week continues on Ranch Radio with a tune by Augie Meyers & The Rocka Bacas.

There are many terrible and unjust things occurring in the U.S today and Augie sings about one of the worst - My Freeholies Ain't Free Anymore.

The tune is on their 11 track CD by the same name.

Have Any More Gun Makers Stopped Selling To Anti-Gun States? (Hint: Yeah, Lots More)

Last Friday TheBlaze reported on a growing list of gun manufacturers and retailers who had stopped selling to law enforcement in states that were enacting stringent new gun laws. Since that report, the initial list (seen below) has changed. However, none of the “big three” (Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson) providers to law enforcement have stepped up and joined the companies who have chosen to take a public stand on the issue. In less than two weeks, at least 18 companies have made the decision to stop selling to law enforcement in states that limit a private citizen’s right to own a gun.  There is one arms maker that has gotten attention for publicly stating that they will not be pressured into stopping sales to law enforcement. That company is ArmaLite.  No matter what ArmaLite’s stance may be, there are many new additions to our initial list published late last week  n addition to the growing list of companies taking this action, there is an online coalition working to keep the pressure on manufacturers.
more gun makers stop selling to states that restrict private gun ownership
Image: Firearms Policy Coalition
Firearms Policy Coalition offers a digital option for those wishing to send an email encouraging companies to get on board with this movement. And for those who like snail mail, FPC offers a sample letter and a fairly comprehensive list of street addresses...more

Wildlife Protected as National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Opened

Exploration and development of lands containing about three-quarters of the economically recoverable oil in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska will be permitted, under a Record of Decision signed today by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. At the same time, the decision protects natural resources in the 23-million-acre Reserve. The protected resources include critical areas for sensitive bird populations from all seven continents and for the roughly 400,000 caribou in the Teshekpuk Lake and Western Arctic Caribou Herds. Subsistence users in more than 40 villages in northwest Alaska rely on these caribou herds. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Reserve has between 5.9 and 13.2 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil with a mean estimate of 9.3 billion barrels. The decision makes all lands along the Chukchi Sea coast, most of the lands along the Beaufort Sea coast, and other lands available for pipeline route applications and other infrastructure that would support offshore oil and gas development. The decision creates the Peard Bay Special Area and enlarges the Teshekpuk Lake and Utukok River Uplands Special Areas, expanding protected Special Areas in the NPR-A from 8.3 million acres to 13.35 million acres. National Audubon Society President and CEO David Yarnold said his group is pleased with the decision, saying, “By protecting 11 million acres of Arctic wetlands and wildlife nurseries, this decision proves that sound energy policy and conservation can go hand in hand. And not only that, they must.”...more

Alaska Delegation Questions NPR-A Management Plan

Alaska’s congressional delegation gave a lukewarm welcome to a management plan, signed by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Thursday, that allows access to oil and gas resources on nearly half of the 23 million-acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The petroleum reserve is an area about the size of Indiana on Alaska's North Slope. The plan lays out a roughly 50-50 split of land between conservation and petroleum development. In a statement, Begich said he was underwhelmed by Interior’s NPR-A plan, including its establishment of a working group to gather information from local stakeholders on possible adjustments to boundaries of the reserve’s special areas. “Despite their claims, it is clear the Interior Department yet again has made a decision about Alaska land use that ignores what Alaskans want,” Begich said. “I appreciate the strong and clear language on future pipeline routes through the NPR-A to carry Beaufort and Chukchi oil. But I am left wondering what good a working group will do if they haven’t been doing a good job of listening so far? During a speech before the state Legislature Thursday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski broadly criticized federal overreach on a variety of other Alaska issues, but said she was “encouraged the plan allows for potential development of a pipeline to the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.” Salazar says in an announcement that the plan also makes access provisions for a pipeline that could carry petroleum from drill sites in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas to the trans-Alaska pipeline. Rep. Don Young acknowledged those provisions, but questioned the feasibility of building a pipeline under the plan’s restrictions. “Today’s decision by the Department of Interior is yet another game of smoke and mirrors. While the Department of Interior makes a point to allow for pipeline construction through the NPR-A, the potential routes do not appear realistic,” Young said in a statement...more

Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act reintroduced in Congress

After a near-miss last year, the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act has been reintroduced in the 113th Congress, on the 100th anniversary of the Sun River Game Preserve. The bill, co-sponsored by Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, would protect wilderness, ranching and recreation opportunities in the mountain range between Augusta and Dupuyer, west of Great Falls. It would designate 208,000 acres as a conservation management area that allows motorized access, biking and other current uses, add another 67,000 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, and support noxious weed prevention programs for agricultural and public lands across the Front. The bill would not affect mineral leasing in Teton and Pondera counties, or energy production on private and state land. The latest version of the bill has provisions protecting grazing practices in conservation management areas and preserving the Benchmark small-plane landing field, Baucus said. The bill also requires the Lewis and Clark National Forest to study ways to improve bicycling opportunities along the Front...more

Groups flock to White House to talk ‘fracking’ rules

Environmental advocates and representatives from the oil-and-gas industry are flocking to the White House following the submission of a draft rule that would govern the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing on public lands. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in January pulled a long-awaited proposed rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” after receiving a flood of public comments and push-back from industry. A new draft was sent to the White House on Jan. 22, but the document will not become public until the BLM officially proposes it. Groups are seeking to make their mark on the new rules before they are issued. The White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which serves as the gatekeeper for regulations, held three meetings last week on fracking with groups and companies including Anadarko Petroleum, the League of Conservation Voters, Apache Corp., America's Natural Gas Alliance, the Sierra Club, Environment America, Devon Energy, the Center for Effective Government and the Natural Resources Defense Council, among others...more

Ravalli County will fight USFS over water rights

Ravalli County commissioners will file an objection to the U.S. Forest Service seeking water rights on Blodgett Creek. The application, which has already received preliminary approval from the state, is once more putting pressure on the issue of resource management in the Bitterroot. The Bitterroot National Forest already has water rights on some Bitterroot streams, but it'ss the move to secure a junior water right on Blodgett Creek that's erupted into the latest management conflict. USFS officials say the water right, allowed under a 2007 compact with the state, protects fish habitat and would be a "non-consumptive use" without interfering with older water rights for farms and ranches. County commissioners are not only suspicious of the reasons for the application, but critical of the methodology used to calculate the water right, the so-called "wet perimeter" formula measuring water in the streambed and the adjacent banks. Those measurements are based on one year, and commissioners say they are baffled why the state wouldn't use historic measurements. "You're saying that 22 years of recorded history can be surpassed by measuring one time, one year, and making a claim of how much water has flowed on average for the last 40 years?" Commissioner J.R. Iman asked...more

Here's the KPAX video report:

Former BLM Manager Pleads Guilty to Sex With Child

A former high-level employee at the Bureau of Land Management pleaded guilty Thursday in Washoe District Court to a sexual relationship with a young relative. 64-year-old Ronald Wenker will be sentenced in May to sexual assault and lewdness charges involving a minor under the age of 14. Investigators believe the relationship started when the girl was 8, and he was arrested when she was 13, last year. Another relative had witnessed the abuse and reported it...more

Science synthesis to help guide land management of nation's forests

A team of more than a dozen scientists from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest (PSW) and Pacific Northwest research stations, universities and Region 5 Ecology Program recently released a synthesis of relevant science that will help inform forest managers as they revise plans for the national forests in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades of California. The three most southern national forests in the Sierra Nevada—Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra—will be among the first of the 155 national forests to update their management plans. The new planning rule requires the forests to consider the best available science and encourages a more active role for research in plan development. At the request of Region 5 leadership and stakeholders, the team embarked on a year-long effort to summarize and integrate recent scientific advances across key topics including forest and fire ecology; soils; aquatic ecosystems; terrestrial wildlife; air quality; and social, economic and cultural components—all of which make up socioecological systems. The synthesis distilled important findings from recent studies about how to make systems more resilient to stressors, such as changes in climate, introduced species, and risk of uncharacteristically large and severe wildfires...more

Horse advocates anxious for First Amendment ruling

There may or may not be too many horses on federal lands in the West, but a U.S. district judge says there’s not enough judicial staff in Nevada to deal anytime soon with an appeal over First Amendment rights at wild horse roundups. U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks told lawyers for the government and a horse protection group he won’t make a ruling until after March on a case sent back to his court last year by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit was brought by Laura Leigh, a photographer and leader of the group Wild Horse Education who says her freedom of press rights were violated in 2010 when she was denied access to mustang roundups in Nevada’s eastern Lincoln County near the Utah line. A three-judge panel in San Francisco overturned Hicks’ earlier ruling and told Hicks to reconsider whether the Bureau of Land Management’s restrictions on media access to roundups are constitutional...more

In Montana Town’s Hands, Guns Mean Cultural Security

Jerry Fisher’s big and careful arms cradled a polished cutout of English walnut, which was aging in his workroom like a fine wine. The slight tapering along one edge gave a ghostly hint of its future as the stock of a handmade hunting rifle. His eyebrows lifted as he explained the properties of this piece of walnut. “This wood will assume the moisture content of the atmosphere you store it in,” he said. “It takes five or six years to dry it.” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. may feel, as he said Tuesday, that people who want to protect their homes would do best with a simple shotgun. But Mr. Fisher, 82, is aiming at a higher target. A gunsmith whose exquisite firearms, some decorated with designs by fine artists, have attracted customers from around the world, Mr. Fisher built on the work of older gunsmiths in the region, just as younger ones hope to learn from him. He epitomizes the values of the Flathead Valley of northwestern Montana, where people grow up with, relax with and live around guns. Since the 19th century, hunting has been a pastime in the forests that climb up the tiara of rocky peaks around Flathead Lake. Members of the growing group of high-end gunsmiths say it is the mountains, the air and the game that draw them, not the presence of other artisans. But the area’s reputation for this kind of gunsmithing has also made it a growing destination for more prosaic manufacturing of gun parts and guns — including high-end semiautomatic rifles and military weapons. In Kalispell, the seat of Flathead County, 250 people earn a living making guns or gun parts, a tenfold increase since 2005. That growth helped mitigate the effects of the recession, which was a body blow to construction, a major local employer. Another longtime industry, logging, has also withered. Homicides with guns are relatively rare in the area. There have been three in Kalispell, a city of 20,000 people, out of six murders total in the past 12 years, said Roger Nasset, the local police chief. His officers are never surprised to find a gun inside a car they stop for a traffic violation — and seldom bother to discuss it, much less confiscate it. Montana’s laws on gun possession are among the least restrictive in the nation...more

Obama Group Launches $100,000 Anti-Gun Advertising Blitz

More than a dozen lawmakers who oppose President Barack Obama's plan to expand background checks to all gun-buyers are to be targeted in a series of online advertising as part of a national day of action Friday. Organizing for Action, the successor group to Obama’s campaign backers, plans to spend up to $100,000 on the campaign, and the national day of action marks the first test of the group's ability to mobilize the president's 2.2 million campaign volunteers to push for legislative change. Organizers have not disclosed which lawmakers will be included in the ads. OFA plans to sponsor more than 100 events in 80 or more Congressional districts Friday to demand action on the issue. The group says it expects thousands of people to participate in the events, which will include vigils, letter-writing campaigns, and news conferences...more

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stranded in snow overnight; saved by a line of arrows, a curious rancher

Mohave County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue units successfully located a 27-year-old man on Feb. 10, after he had been reported missing by his mother. Actions the man took were effective in helping himself not only to be located but to survive a bitter cold night of below freezing temperatures and snow when his car broke down, stranding him and his two dogs...Telford made arrows out of rocks and arrows out of sticks, about 20 arrows by Heather Lewis’s count. Lewis is a member of the Heaton family that founded, owns and operates the Bar 10 Ranch. She and her immediate family had been out to the ranch that weekend and were returning home when they drove over some rocks in the road. “I told my husband, ‘I think that’s in the shape of an arrow,’” Lewis said. “We were heading north and the arrows were heading south about eight miles into our travel home … and we drove further and then they turned into sticks and took up about half the lane.” Lewis said they took pictures and radioed into town and to the Bar 10 Ranch and asked if someone was trying to direct people to the ranch. Nobody knew of the arrows...more

Song Of The Day #1025

Ranch Radio will bring back Los Texas Wranglers for Borderlands Week and their rendition of Otros Cielos, also on their Adios Goodbye CD.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Warns Sequester Could Force Meat Plants To Shut Down For Two Weeks

The U.S. Agriculture Department would furlough up to one-third of its workers if automatic spending cuts take effect at the end of the month, the agency warned, with effects ranging from a two-week shutdown of meat plants to summertime closure of hundreds of national forest campgrounds. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described the impact of the cuts, amounting to $2 billion, in a letter that warned "these furloughs and other actions would severely disrupt our ability to provide a broad range of public services." USDA released a copy of the letter on Tuesday. Vilsack reiterated the prospect of "a nationwide shutdown of meat and poultry plants during a furlough of (meat) inspection personnel" for "as much as 15 days of lost production, costing over $10 billion in production losses."  Meat packers and processors cannot sell beef, pork, lamb and poultry meat without the USDA inspection seal. Inspection of meat for export or import also would stop during a furlough, said USDA. The industry has appealed to USDA to find ways to avoid a disruptive shutdown. Vilsack did not say how soon furloughs might occur. An aide said she had no additional information. Vilsack assured USDA employees in early February they would get at least 30 days' notice if they were being furloughed. "Should sequestration occur, we would likely need to implement furloughs impacting about a third of our workforce, as well as other actions," Vilsack wrote in the letter to Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, head of the Senate Appropriations Committee. USDA has roughly 100,000 employees, down by 4,000 in two years. Up to 600,000 low-income women and infants could be cut from the so-called WIC program that provides supplemental food and nutrition education if the budget cuts last for the rest of this fiscal year, according to the letter. Current enrollment is nearly 9 million pregnant women, new mothers and their children...more

Why would Vilsack highlight meat inspection over the WIC program?  Because he knows the meat and livestock industry will have more influence with Republicans than those receiving food and nutrition education.

Other cuts, Vilsack said, could include:

-Closure of 670 of the Forest Service's 19,000 recreation sites, such as campgrounds, picnic areas and trailheads, in the national forests and shorter hours at visitor centers. "This would largely occur during the peak use seasons in spring and summer," said USDA. The Forest Service would reduce its law enforcement force by 35 workers to 707 officers.

We could do with a little less picknicking on federal land and the reduction in law enforcement is an absolutely positive event.

But, oh horrors, the worst is yet to come:

-A work pause on the Census of Agriculture. "Data will become incomplete and will not be statistically sound for publication," said USDA.

Guess you'll have to figure out something else to do with the time you would have spent filling out those lovely gov't forms. 

And all this hand-wringing is over a 1.2 percent cut in the budget.  As I've posted before:

...according to Congressional Budget Office figures, the cuts amount to only 1.2 percent of 2013 spending, which is enough to keep the government running for about 4.5 days. More pointedly, the CBO estimates that with the sequester in place, federal spending will be $3.553 trillion in 2013. With the $44 billion in sequester cuts removed, federal spending would rise to $3.597 trillion, which includes a little over $1 trillion in borrowed money, i.e., debt

Will be interesting to see how the Obama administration will implement the sequester.  Will they protect the health and safety of the public or will they selectively cut in areas aimed at bringing the Republicans to their knees?

Expansion of Largely Unknown Treaty Used By Obama To Expand Power To Control Lands and Waters

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Expansion of Largely Unknown Treaty Used By Obama To Expand Power To Control Lands and Waters.

Approximately 600 Million Acres at issue by U.S./Canada Commission Proposing Massive Expansion of Jurisdiction over Lands & Waters in Northern States and Canada

*Problem:* Attempt by Obama Administration to use various wetlands and water jurisdiction tools to gain control over all lands and waters to achieve the goals they failed to win in the last Congress with the Clean Water Restoration Act by former Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN) and former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI).

This was the bill that tried to remove the word *“Navigable”* from the Clean Water Act. The Obama Administration is still trying to bypass the word “Navigable” through its new EPA, Corps of Engineers “Wetlands Guidance Regulations” which Congress is trying to defund.

*Through an International Watershed Initiative*, the Obama Administration is working to expand the jurisdiction of a largely unknown *International Joint Commission (IJC)*, created by the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty between the U.S. and Canada, proposing to expand their jurisdiction beyond border waters to include entire international watersheds.

-----See map of full jurisdiction boundaries at  It is right on the home page under International Joint Commission.

-----It is estimated that these watersheds include over 600 million acres of lands and waters and possibly a lot more. For example, the International Joint Commission during the Obama Administration has added a plan to expand their jurisdiction over the entire *Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Area* that you stopped the BLM and Forest Service from taking jurisdiction over in1996.

Just the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Basin Plan area is 144 million acres including all of eastern Washington, eastern Oregon,all of Idaho, western Montana and smaller parts of California, Utah and Wyoming.

The International Joint Commission is proposing to expand its jurisdiction to include massive areas of all the border states and some other northern tier states from Washington to Maine using watershed and ecosystems management as their tools.

Their plan is to use Watershed Management to spread expanded jurisdiction across as much of the United States as possible.

*The International Joint Commission (IJC) is going far beyond anything in the original scope of the treaty.*

The three U.S. Commissioners are presidential appointees. The Chairman, Lana Pollack, was appointed by President Obama in 2010. She is the former President of the Michigan Environmental Council, comprised of 70 environmental organizations.

-----Like 13 federal agencies, the Commission subscribes to an ecosystems management policy, adopted in 1993 by former Vice President Al Gore.

-----Ecosystems management, which is just a theory, has never been approved by Congress and has been discredited by ecologists since World War II. For background, read Alston Chase’s great book, “In A Dark Wood.”

The Commission has enormous influence with Federal regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U. S. Bureau of Land Management.

A pilot project has just been approved for northern Minnesota and northwest Ontario by both the US and Canadian governments through the U.S. State Department and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs.

This pilot project is intended to be a model for governance and is likely to broaden regulatory powers and management by the US Regulatory Agencies.

The intent of this pilot project is to create a government model that can be applied to the other international watersheds and will likely lead to the expansion of regulatory powers and jurisdiction by US regulatory agencies.

*Additional pilot projects are being planned* for other areas in the border and northern states and Canada. The program represents a new and imminent threat to private property rights, state’s rights, rural America, local communities, access and use of Federal lands, outdoor recreation, small business, mining, timber harvesting, energy production, and other interests.

Here are some bullet points about the first pilot project of the IJC Minnesota/Canada pilot project for this massive initiative that the Commission intends to spread across the country:

-----The 184-page IJC report concluded that "there is broad agreement that water quality is threatened, that ecosystem health is deteriorating, that communication is not encompassing, and that current government mechanisms are fragmented." (Note: This not only appears to be blatantly false, but an insult to local people, their elected officials, and state and local agencies).

-----The report further concludes that the IJC's ongoing efforts will "most importantly, be best for the watershed itself." (Think about what this statement means!).

-----The IJC appointed a long-time National Park Service employee to a newly created 'citizen member' position on an important control board, apparently without any formal application process (Note: This is a clear conflict of interest and a mockery of the democratic process).

-----A U.S. district court judge ruled that the designation of a federal wilderness area in northern Minnesota did not conflict with the Boundary Waters Treaty because it was a latter-enacted statute
(Note: A U.S. statute cannot trump a treaty--this is taught in law school 101!)

-----The same judge ruled that the U.S. had no reason to believe that banning dozens of border lakes to motorized recreation was in error because Canada had already closed the Canadian portion of dozens of border lakes to motorized recreation. The Canadian Government, in a formal legal opinion, strongly disagreed with the opinion of the U.S.
Judge by saying that Ontario, not Canada, closed the lakes, and that Canada, not Ontario is a party to the Treaty. (Note: This is also taught in law school 101). This issue still hasn't been resolved.

-----In a lawsuit challenging National Park Service boating restrictions on border waters, the case was referred to a federal magistrate instead of going directly to District Court where it belonged (How in the world can this happen?)

-----The federal magistrate ruled in favor of the National Park Service (Surprise, surprise!).

-----A boater's association later discovered that approximately 45 minutes were missing from the hearing transcript in the above case.  Requests to review the audio tape of the hearing were refused by the court

The IJC has no business expanding their domain until existing Treaty conflicts have been resolved. 

Solution:* A grassroots organizational effort by local people and their elected officials at all levels is needed to prevent further Federal expansion and control of lands and waters by the *IJC and U.S.
Regulatory Agencies and other Obama water initiatives*.

This effort must be nationwide copying your successful nationwide defeat of CARA, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act in 2000 and the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Plan in the 90’s.

It has been demonstrated that local alternatives to top-down federal programs are better, faster, and cheaper, and more consistent with constitutional principles.

*Action Items:*

-----1. Please forward this e-mail to at least 10 other people. Your whole list if possible. You can edit out the appeal by American Land Rights for contributions if you wish. We hope you won’t but this message is so important that it needs to spread like wildfire.

-----2. Contact both your Senators by calling (202) 224-3121.
Or write: (send by fax it you can): Honorable (Your Senator), US Senate, Washington DC, 20510. Ask for the fax number when you call.

-----3. Call your Congressman at (202) 225-3121. Write (use fax if you
can) your Congressman at: Honorable (Your Representative), US House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.

Be sure to ask for the staff persons e-mail and fax when you call.

-----4. Call your county commissioners and other local elected officials, legislators. Alert them to this pending threat to your rights and property. Ask them to demand that the International Joint Commission (IJC) hold hearings in affected areas and that the House and Senate hold Congressional hearings on this issue before it gets off the ground.

Ask your Members of the House and Senate to use whatever tools they have to block the IJC until Congress gets a chance to place the IJC under control. Congress must take away funding for the IJC.

Please join American Land Rights and many other groups in stopping the International Joint Commission from taking control of a huge area of the United States.

See the complete email by going here

Forest Service: Pyroterrorism a Threat in the U.S.

Fire has long been used as a weapon through history and continues to be an effective means of terrorism to this day. In his keynote address at the Firehouse World conference in San Diego, Robert Baird, Deputy National Fire Director, Fire and Aviation Management, U.S. Forest Service, said pyroterrorism is something all responders need to be prepared to combat. “Arson in the [Wildland/Urban interface] is a real threat,” said Baird in his keynote comments. “Anything we can do to reduce it is a real accomplishment." Baird gave a quick review of the use of arson and pyroterrorism throughout modern history, starting with the fire balloon bombs Japan launched on the mainland United States during World War II. Of the 9,000 launched, 300 hit the mainland. It was also identified as a military weapon during the Vietnam War. The attacks on the World Trade Center were also a case of pyroterrorism in his mind, Baird said, noting that Osama Bin Laden was a civil engineer and knew the effect the fuel on the planes would have. In 2004, the FBI came upon intelligence and issued an alert to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) suggesting that Al Queda had plans to start wildland fires in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, Baird said, noting that all the material he was presenting was unclassified information and his interpretations and analysis were his own...more

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Horsemen, legislators say wilderness area’s a disaster

Horse packers fed up with the lack of trail maintenance and the frequency of wildfire in Idaho’s largest wilderness area are asking legislators to declare it a natural resource disaster area. House Joint Memorial No. 1 seeks disaster status for the pristine Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area. Sponsored by Rep. Lenore Barrett of Challis and Rep. Marcus Gibbs of Grace — and authored by the Salmon Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Idaho — the resolution represents a shot across the bow of the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the 2.3 million-acre area in the mountainous heart of the state. For years the group has been asking district rangers, forest supervisors and regional foresters to increase trail work in the wilderness area. Now, members are hoping to get the attention of Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “We came to the conclusion we have been working on the wrong end of the government mule, that we somehow need to get the head’s attention and a joint memorial from the Idaho Legislature would be a good way to start,” said John Burns, a retired forest supervisor from Carmen and a former Idaho Fish and Game commissioner. The agency has fallen behind schedule in its annual effort to open and maintain the 2,500 miles of trails that weave over and through the area’s tall granite peaks, lush meadows and steep river canyons. Exacerbating the problem are wildfires that weaken trees and make them prone to falling in the years, and even decades, after the flames have died...more

Ranching family proactive about conservation

Larry Parker believes in active conservation to make the land and water better. Ranchers know that conservation in action can be costly and it takes dedication to see it through, especially when you are dealing with multiple interests and landowners, but he is focused on making it work. The Parker Ranch is located just south of San Simon, along the Chiricahua Mountains. The Parker family took over the ownership and operation of the ranch in the 1990s and faces the challenges of mixed interests head on. The ranch consists of a blend of state lease, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and private lands. With the Healthy Lands Partnership (HLP) and the Borderlands Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), two conservation programs available through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the BLM, the Parker family has an opportunity to achieve multiple conservation goals that would otherwise be cost prohibitive. They plan to decrease undesirable invasive shrubs, improve vegetative cover and species diversity, and decrease habitat fragmentation, while supporting working lands productivity. This work is done cooperatively with the help of the agencies as well as the Willcox Natural Resource Conservation District and the Arizona State Land Department...more

Florida Cracker Trail ride honors state's early ranchers

The Florida Cracker Trail played a big role in Florida’s history. And to commemorate the trail and keep the history of the trail alive, every year The Florida Cracker Trail Association steps back in time and re-enacts the events that occurred along that trail. Members of the association, 146 horses and riders in all, left Bradenton Saturday morning to travel across the state on horseback. They go along State Road 64, then cut over to State Road 66 -- the original trail the cowboys took long ago on their cattle drives across the state. Sometimes they ride across ranches, sometimes along the road. They detour off State Road 66 in Sebring to go by the Cracker Trail Elementary School and wave to the kids. They ride 5 to 8 hours a day, then camp out at night. "We do camp fire entertainment, we have people who are musically gifted," says association president Charles Mercer. The riders will cover 110 miles and arrive in Ft. Pierce on the east coast Saturday morning. They'll be welcomed with a parade in their honor, followed by horseback riding and camping on the beach. A history lesson everyone on the ride, and all those who watch them go by, will long remember...more

Local rancher, UA give close look at ranching life

Andrew McGibbon has ranching in his blood. Born in Tucson and raised on the Santa Rita Ranch east of Green Valley, McGibbon has spent nearly 40 years on ranch land that has produced grass-fed beef since 1884. Next month, he and his family will open it up to the public to share their way of life in cooperation with the University of Arizona’s nearby Santa Rita Experimental Range. The free event includes tours of a working ranch and visits with ranchers. Santa Rita Ranch is about 125 square miles and borders Quail Creek on the west, the top of the Santa Ritas on the east and the front of Elephant Head on the south. The northern boundary is a couple of miles south of Corona de Tucson. “It’s been a ranch for more than 100 years, but my grandfather, who was a small farmer in the Midwest, moved out here and purchased it back in the late 1960s,” McGibbon said. McGibbon, who took over the ranch from his father about 10 years ago, lives there with his wife, Micaela, their three daughters and several other ranching families who work the range. Micaela comes from the King family, longtime Southern Arizona ranchers who have been cattle ranching in Arizona since the late 1800s. Red Angus cattle make up the McGibbons’ herds, along with more than 25 horses. He says that sustainable range management and humane animal treatment are the backbone of his operation...more


Song Of The Day #1024

Borderlands Week on Ranch Radio continues with the Texas Tornadoes performing They Don't Make 'Em Like I Like. The tune is on their Esta Bueno CD.

Balancing the Benefits of Public Land - video

U.S. Senator Mike Lee responds to a question from Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory.

Can Idaho turn a profit with federal lands?

Idaho could net $51 million to $75 million annually if it convinced the federal government to turn over 16.4 million acres of its land to the state. That's the conclusion of a quick analysis by the Idaho Department of Lands in response to lawmakers considering demanding a federal public land transfer like Utah has done. The $75 million is based on the revenues that could be returned after a 15-year transition of 7 million acres of forest land that foresters estimated could yield 800 million board feet of timber annually. Another 9.5 million acres of rangeland were considered, but the agency estimated there would be no profit in it for the state. And, unlike Utah, there is no known oil and gas resources and few minerals on the lands proposed for transfer. The state also would have to reserve the right to reject any lands that have abandoned mines or other hazardous wastes that could increase the state's financial liability, State Lands Department Director Tom Schultz said in a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate resource committees...more

Peak Oil Will Be Fully Discredited When Peak Government Is Realized

President Obama recently nominated Sally Jewell to head the Department of Interior. Her bona fides include growing a business — Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) — to nearly $2 billion in revenue last year. But in her new job, the question is whether Secretary Jewell will grow America’s vast, untapped domestic energy resources. Jewell is now at the gulf between what is and what could be. The Interior Department is responsible for oil and natural gas drilling off the U.S. coast – which is to say, the agency is wholly responsible for the complete absence of new drilling off the U.S. coast. Consider ExxonMobil’s $14 billion plan to develop one of the largest oil fields in the North Atlantic. That drilling will be off Canada’s Newfoundland. But the Hebron oil field is believed to extend southward into U.S. waters with its billion-barrel potential. Unfortunately, the United States won’t see a drop of it — unless Secretary Jewell and others in the Obama hierarchy open our coast. Simple permission, not taxpayer funds or new regulations, is all that is required. From offshore oil to previously inaccessible gas deep in the earth, the federal domain is poised for an energy renaissance. The United States could become the world’s largest producer of oil by 2017, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). By 2035, the United States will be nearly energy self-sufficient. The prospect of U.S. self-sufficiency overturns a half-century of conventional wisdom. Oil and gas critics have long warned of “peak” supply – the point at which extraction is at its highest possible rate. At this “peak,” the wells will start running dry for good. But this theory is being revealed as nothing more than a myth—and scare tactic by those favoring politically correct, market incorrect energies such as ethanol, wind, and solar...more

Fish and Wildlife maps out the next 5 years of endangered species activity

On Friday, the Fish and Wildlife Service published a workplan which is required reading for any entity seeking to undertake project development in the US in the next five years. Spurred by litigation into acting on its tremendous backlog of Endangered Species listings and Critical Habitat designations, FWS has planned out the actions it will take every year for the next five years for 455 different species. The workplan is a guidepost to the regulated community of where and when FWS will be taking action to protect species and their habitat. It is mandatory reading for any entity hoping to undertake project development in areas which may contain potentially covered species or their habitat. Industries hoping to avoid the listing of a particular species will not only need to be creative - as the oil and gas industry was last year in keeping the Sand Dunes Lizard off the list – but now have a timeline for when they need to complete their innovative solutions. For example, FWS will act on the Lesser Prairie Chicken, which also threatens oil and gas activities, next year. The workplan can be found at:  Even more useful than this pdf version is FWS’ sortable Excel format of the workplan, which allows you to identify species in a particular area or on a specific time horizon. That version is available at

2 Rio projects to help endangered species

The state will start two projects this month to improve habitat conditions along the Rio Grande for the endangered silvery minnow and Southwestern willow flycatcher. The New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission projects are near the Central bridge on Albuquerque’s West Side and at the North Beach area and Willow Creek Bosque Park in Rio Rancho. The silvery minnow and the Southwestern willow flycatcher are federally classified as endangered species and are an integral part of the area’s ecosystem. The projects will help the commission comply with the federal Endangered Species Act, senior hydrologist Grace Haggerty said. Creation of habitat areas in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque have helped protect the fish, especially during times of drought, without adding more water to the river. The projects will provide ponds or pools of water where the minnow can spawn and their offspring can mature...more

Total cost of the two projects is $657,000. 

Idaho forest companies seek lawsuit protections

Idaho's private forestry companies want to buttress their protections against federal wildfire lawsuits that they say have been costly for companies elsewhere. Idaho Forest Group lobbyist Jeremy Chou told the House Resources Committee Tuesday his client's measure restates Idaho's law putting limits on damages caused by an unintentional wildfire on private land that spreads to public land. Chou cited a California case in which he says that state's largest timber company settled with the U.S. Forest Service for what he termed "unreasonable amounts." Sierra Pacific Industries paid nearly $50 million and donated 22,500 acres to settle a lawsuit over a 2007 wildfire that prosecutors said was caused by unsupervised, bulldozer-riding employees on a red-flag warning day. The settlement is the largest ever received by the United States for wildfire damages. AP

Ranchers slated to join Idaho firefighting efforts

As these questions about Idaho firefighter safety loom, state forester David Groeschl said training for ranchers who will form the proposed new rangeland fire protective associations that Otter wants to help pay for is essential in maximizing safety — and avoiding accidents like the one that killed Veseth. Ranchers will work with fire officials from the Bureau of Land Management and the state Department of Lands, to ensure they know rules of engagement, he said. “We have to really focus on the training — what can occur on rangeland, helping them understand the risks, and how to communicate and coordinate with the BLM,” Groeschl said. “Can I give you an assurance that somebody would never be injured again? I wish I could tell you it would never happen again. I can't.” On Tuesday, the House Resources Committee approved a measure governing how these new rancher-led organizations are established...more

Man dead in Nev. crash was 40-year chopper veteran

A veteran helicopter pilot killed in a crash during an aerial reseeding operation over wildfire-scarred federal land in eastern Nevada was mourned Tuesday by friends and officials, but his widow said he died happy. "He died doing what he loved best," Rachel McBride told The Associated Press. Teddy R. McBride, 74, known to everyone as Ted, retired in 2009 after more than 40 years piloting helicopters over northeastern Nevada for El Aero Services of Elko. Ted McBride still flew part-time because customers wanted him, Rachel McBride said. On Monday, McBride crashed while dusting seed across rugged terrain charred late last June by the Pinto Fire, which burned more than 4 square miles some 50 miles west of Ely and 30 miles east of Eureka...more

Proposed Gun Law Bans and Exempts Different Models of the Same Rifles

Congress' latest crack at a new assault weapons ban would protect more than 2,200 specific firearms, including a semi-automatic rifle that is nearly identical to one of the guns used in the bloodiest shootout in FBI history. One model of that firearm, the Ruger .223 caliber Mini-14, is on the proposed list to be banned, while a different model of the same gun is on a list of exempted firearms in legislation the Senate is considering. The gun that would be protected from the ban has fixed physical features and can't be folded to be more compact. Yet the two firearms are equally deadly. Both models of the Ruger Mini-14 specified in the proposed bill can take detachable magazines that hold dozens of rounds of ammunition. "I can't imagine what the difference is," Hanlon said...more

Drunk or stoned on the job? No problem in New Mexico

Employees who injure themselves on the job while drunk or under the influence of drugs can continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits because a legislative move to deny such claims has stalled. Proponents say refusing such payouts is simple common sense. “I believe it’s a personal responsibility question,” said Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Texico, after his House Bill 139 was tabled in the House Labor and Human Resources Committee on a party-line vote, with all five Democrats voting to table the bill and all four Republicans voting against. The case dates back to 2006 when a city sanitation employee in Las Cruces named Edward Villa fell off his garbage truck and injured his head, wrists and a hip. Some three hours after Villa hurt himself, he was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .12, well above the .08 limit in New Mexico for being legally drunk. But because of a lack of clarity in the interpretation of the Workers’ Compensation Act, an appeals court ruled that Villa was entitled to 90 percent of his workman’s compensation claim, which cost taxpayers in the city of Las Cruces about $90,000...more

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ranchers: Napolitano not dealing with border reality

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be in southern Arizona Tuesday to tour the border. Napolitano recently declared the border is as safe as it has ever been. Patrick Bray with the Arizona Cattlemen's Association said ranchers will tell you that just isn't so. Dangerous drug and human smugglers have been able to elude ground sensors and cameras. "They know when the cameras are operating and where they're at," Bray said. Bray also noted that barbed wire fence is all that separates Arizona ranches from dangerous smugglers on much of the border. He's calling for more boots on the ground to protect ranchers. "The people moving the drugs are animals," said Bray. "They have no regard for human life or the law. Since last February one rancher has had 17 drive-through's on his property, where the smugglers cut the fence and drive a vehicle through and make it to the highway...more