Thursday, May 26, 2016

Even With Bundy Behind Bars, 'Range War' Lives On For Some Ranchers

Stanton Gleave hardly fits the stereotype of a modest, keep-to-himself Western rancher. Standing in a collection of muddy pens taking a break from shearing sheep near his home in tiny Kingston, Utah, Gleave gives an earful about his frustrations with the Bureau of Land Management and environmental groups. "That's who we're actually fighting with," says Gleave. "They've indoctrinated and got into this BLM and Forest Service 'til a lot of 'em are right up in the head positions now."  Gleave is like your typical Western rancher in one important way: He doesn't own much land himself. There's no room to run livestock in this sliver of a valley. So he leases huge tracts of federal land that surround his place — namely Mount Dutton. This was an arrangement that for the most part worked out pretty well for generations of ranching families like his. The federal government was there to help, maintaining and building roads so ranchers could access their stock. It helped with irrigation projects, building fences. That was before the timber mills closed, and most of the mines too. Then President Clinton designated the massive Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. And that forced the BLM to focus a lot more on the environment and recreation, not just cows. "If you read the Constitution, that's the last thing our Founding Fathers wanted was for a federal government to be out here in our business," Gleave says. "They're supposed to be out there in Washington protecting that border down there." It's true the amount of public land available for grazing has been cut a lot since the 1980s, even more since Gleave was a kid in the 1950s. "What would you do if you was losing everything you got, would you stand and fight or would you roll over and play dead?" he asks. This is the kind of talk that's typical of a small, tight-knit group of ranchers mainly clustered in the remote Southwest. Most are conservative and refer to themselves as devout Mormons. They believe the Constitution doesn't allow for the federal government to control Western land...more 

HT:  Marvin Frisbey

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