GREEN LAND GRABBERS

Michaelr

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I copied this from another board, I think it is an excellent article!!
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http://www.ruralcleansing.com/articles/article018greengrabbers.htm

Green Land Grabbers
Organization(s) Featured: The Wildlands Project, The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, The Wilderness Society.
Source: The Lexington Institute
Author: Bonner R. Cohen
Date: January 2002


"My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse," Michael Corleone tells his girlfriend Kay in perhaps the most famous line from "The Godfather." Three decades after Mario Puzo's fictional saga of a New York crime family first captured the public's imagination, the expression "to make someone an offer he can't refuse" has come to characterize those less than voluntary decisions people sometimes are forced to make.

Sadly, such "offers" have long been a staple of U.S. environmental policy. For years, property owners in rural America have been confronted by unpleasant choices in which the thing they least want to do-sell their land-becomes the only option open to them. Selective enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, arbitrary application of wetlands regulations, massive government land purchases, or protracted disputes over grazing and water rights-these are the things that traditionally pit powerful federal bureaucrats against unsuspecting farmers, ranchers, and other property owners.

In this unequal battle, federal agencies not only have hordes of government lawyers at their disposal, they also have powerful, well-funded allies in the environmental movement who have mastered the art of putting the squeeze on the hapless landowner. Cloaking themselves in the mantle of environmental protection, these groups know how to turn environmental laws against property owners, coordinate their land-grabbing schemes with friendly federal regulators, and employ their vast financial resources to intimidate landowners.

The tactics these organizations use vary widely. Some purchase private land and sell most of it to the government for a profit - a lucrative practice for some environmental organizations that creates a perverse incentive to target private property. Others promote direct government purchases of private land in the guise of "protecting" it. Some bring suit either against the government or against the property owner with the goal of forcing the landowner to sell his property. Still others allow property owners to keep their land but seek restrictions on its use. But regardless of the approach taken, the big environmental groups' wealth enables them to attack property owners from different directions.

Indeed, the amount of money pouring into the nation's roughly 8,000 environmental organizations is nothing short of staggering. In his landmark five-part series for the Sacramento Bee, appropriately titled "Environment, Inc.," Tom Knudson reported that U.S. green groups took in $3.5 billion in 1999, up 94 percent since 1994, and that individuals, companies, and foundations gave an average of $9.6 million a day to environmental organizations in 1999. Knudson, whose series appeared in the April 22-26, 2001 editions of the Bee, pointed out that such is green largess that the salaries for CEOs at the ten largest environmental groups averaged $235,918 in 1999, the latest year for which figures are available.

Something else Knudson's exhaustive research turned up is the unequal distribution of the money flowing into the coffers of environmental organizations. Citing data on file with the IRS, he found that 20 of the nation's 8,000 green groups took in 29 percent of all contributions to environmental groups in 1999. Indeed, the top 10 environmental groups earned spots on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's list of America's wealthiest charities.

Because space does not allow for consideration of the tactics and strategies of all key players, this article will focus on the activities of three of the most successful organizations: the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Fund, and the Wilderness Society.

The Nature Conservancy
Of the most powerful green organizations, none is more flush with cash-or more astute at using its wealth in the service of its political agenda-than the Nature Conservancy. Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy has grown from modest beginnings to become what property-rights advocates Ron Arnold and Alan Gottlieb have correctly labeled "the richest of all environmental groups." In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, the Conservancy reported total revenue and other support of $786.8 million. In addition to its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, the group has eight regional offices, along with 50 state chapter offices.

The Nature Conservancy boasts a membership of 1,029,012 people who pay a minimum annual membership fee of $25. In addition to the membership dues and contributions that generated $357.4 million in fiscal year 2000, the Nature Conservancy earned $60 million from government awards, $14 million from private contracts and $161 million from investment income. The Nature Conservancy also reports that it received "gifts of land" in 2000 worth $90 million.

The group is certainly not exaggerating when it describes itself as "the world's largest private international conservation group. "Working with communities, businesses and people like you, we protect millions of acres and waters worldwide." To date, the Conservancy has acquired more than 12 million acres of land in the U.S. that is organized into more than 1,400 preserves. There is no reason to doubt that the Conservancy will be able to continue its aggressive acquisition of land. Last year alone, donations increased more than $60 million, helping it add more than 500,000 acres to its network of sanctuaries. The Nature Conservancy is currently waging a "Campaign for Conservation" to raise $1 billion to "save the world's Last Great Places." As of September 2001, the Conservancy was well on the way to meeting that goal, having raised $817.5 million.

The group is certainly not exaggerating when it describes itself as "the world's largest private international conservation group. "Working with communities, businesses and people like you, we protect millions of acres and waters worldwide." To date, the Conservancy has acquired more than 12 million acres of land in the U.S. that is organized into more than 1,400 preserves. There is no reason to doubt that the Conservancy will be able to continue its aggressive acquisition of land. Last year alone, donations increased more than $60 million, helping it add more than 500,000 acres to its network of sanctuaries. The Nature Conservancy is currently waging a "Campaign for Conservation" to raise $1 billion to "save the world's Last Great Places." As of September 2001, the Conservancy was well on the way to meeting that goal, having raised $817.5 million.

Philanthropies, corporations and individuals are major donors to the Conservancy. Charities donating between $10-20 million to the Campaign for Conservation, for instance, include the Doris Duke Foundation, Wolf Creek Charitable Foundation and the Morgridge Family Foundation. The $5-10 million donors include the Paul G. Allen Forest Protection Foundation, the Mary Flagler Chary Charitable Trust, Central & South West Corporation and the George S. & Delores Dore Eccles Foundation. Charities and corporations donating $1 million or more include the Ahmanson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Georgia Pacific Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Victoria Foundation and the William Penn Foundation.

The Nature Conservancy has extensive support from corporate America. Since 1994, General Motors Corporation has donated more than $4.7 million and more than 100 trucks to the organization. Likewise, Canon U.S.A. has contributed $10.3 million and equipment since 1990 while the Southern Company has given $2.6 million since 1996.

For years the Conservancy also has worked closely with the federal government-and it has enjoyed great financial benefits from that relationship. One letter from the Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to the Conservancy dated August 30, 1985, underscores the long-standing arrangement under which the Nature Conservancy has served as a conduit for government purchases of private land. "We are appreciative of the Nature Conservancy's continuing effort to assist the Service in the acquisition of lands for the Connecticut Coastal National Wildlife Refuge," it read.


It is worth noting that in this and other correspondence, the government agreed to pay the Conservancy "in excess of the approved appraisal value." In one celebrated case, the Nature Conservancy was found by the Department of Interior's Inspector General in 1992 to have sold property to the Forest Service that had been donated to it. Arnold and Gottlieb report the organization's profit on this transaction, after deducting expenses, was $877,000.


According to the most recent figures available, in 1996 TNC received $37,853,205-or 11 percent of its total income-from the sale of private land to federal, state and local governments for use as parks, recreational areas, and nature preserves. Arnold and Gottlieb report that TNC sells about two-thirds of the private land it purchases to the federal government. In this way, tens of thousands of acres of private land, and the tax revenues that land generates for local governments, disappear each year and become part of the growing federal estate.


The Conservation Fund
While the Nature Conservancy specializes in serving as a conduit to funnel private land into government hands, the Conservation Fund engages it what it calls "land preservation initiatives" with partners, which include "county, state, and federal land stewardship agencies, foundations, non-profit organizations, and interested citizens." On its web site, the group boasts that, "The Conservation Fund and its partners have protected more than 3 million acres of the nation's natural and cultural heritage." "The Fund's success at leveraging support is measured in dollars of land purchased," the organization explains. "The estimated market value of the 3 million acres is $1.4 billion-but we paid only $850 million."


One of the Conservation Fund's most innovative and effective projects is the Conservation Leadership Network. The Network, a collaborative effort involving the Conservation Fund, the Land Trust Alliance, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, is a training center that brings together activists and government officials who share a common interest in transferring private property to government ownership or control. It offers an array of courses on such topics as "Land Conservation Strategies" and "Conserving Land Through Conservation Easements." (next page)


Most of the courses are taught at the posh mountaintop National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. More specialized classes are held at other locations around the country. "The facilities were spectacular," commented one former student on the training center in Shepherdstown. "I was really impressed with the physical layout. It's good to see our tax dollars at work in such positive ways."


Among the Conservation Fund's many activities is the "preservation" of Civil War battlefields. But "preservation" often means expanding battlefield boundaries and gobbling up private land in the process. In one ambitious land-grabbing effort near Antietam Battlefield National Park, the Conservation Fund joined forces with the National Park Service and the State of Maryland.


Ann Corcoran, a former employee of the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society, owns a farm adjacent to Antietam park. She and her neighbors understand the tactics of the Conservation Fund-what she calls "squeezing landowners"-because they experienced it first-hand in the 1990s. At a Competitive Enterprise Institute roundtable discussion on "What Makes for a Good Land Trust?," Corcoran explained what happened to her. "Once land trusts start working hand in glove with governments, then what they're doing is my business," she said.

Corcoran elaborated: "The Conservation Fund, working with the Park Service, decided they were going to start picking up properties outside the boundary of the park. The Park Service did not have the right to tell them to pick up private properties outside the legislated boundary, for the purpose of selling them to the National Park Service. "One of those properties would have surrounded me and put my farm in the park, and we purchased the property to save ourselves from being included with a national park boundary expansion. Once private property comes inside the boundaries and becomes an inholding, it is eligible to be condemned by the Park Service."

Corcoran noted that Conservation Fund lobbyists made repeated attempts in Congress to find a senator who would support an expansion of the park's boundary. "But there are sixteen homeowners who would get stuck as inholders inside the park, and they're scared to death." Fortunately, Corcoran and her neighbors banded together and blocked the Conservation Fund's maneuvers at Antietam.


The Wilderness Society
Founded in 1935, the Wilderness Society says its mission is "to protect America's wilderness and to develop a nationwide network of wild lands through public education, scientific analysis, and advocacy." Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Wilderness Society has eight regional offices and over 200,000 members. In 1999, it had a budget of $14.3 million and generated more than $18.8 million in revenue, almost all from donors. Individuals accounted for $14.8 million of the revenue, foundations for $2.5 million and corporations for $265,000. Leading philanthropic donors to the Wilderness Society include the Ford Foundation ($225,000 in 1998), the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($150,000 in 1998), the David and Lucile Packard Foundation ($50,000 in 1999), and the Town Creek Foundation ($75,000 in 1998).


The Wilderness Society occupies a unique position. "It has steadfastly rejected the acquisition and ownership of private property for its own self-management, unlike the Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, and the National Farmland Trust," note Arnold and Gottlieb. "Instead, the Wilderness Society prefers to advocate only government ownership and management of natural resources."

In keeping with its pledge to "develop a national network of wild lands," the Wilderness Society is one of many environmental organizations involved in the "Wildlands Project." Described by Science magazine (June 25, 1993) as "the most ambitious proposal for land management since the Louisiana Purchase of 1803," the Wildlands Project calls for "a network of wilderness reserves, buffer zones, and wildlife corridors stretching across huge tracks of land-hundreds of millions of acres, as much as half of the continent."


According to Science, the long-term goal of the Wildlands Project "is nothing less than a transformation of America from a place where 4.7 percent of the land is wilderness to an archipelago of human-inhabited islands surrounded by natural areas." Quietly launched in 1991, the Wildlands Project has been guided by David Foreman, formerly with the Wilderness Society and founder of Earth First!; Michael Soule, professor emeritus at the University of California at Santa Cruz and a man considered the father of "conservation biology"; and Reed Noss, an Oregon-based scientist and prominent conservation biologist. By 1999, the Tucson, Arizona-based organization had a full-time staff of eight and a budget of $1.6 million.


The project aims to return fifty percent of the continental United States to a "natural" state. It calls for establishing systems of core wilderness areas where human activity would be prohibited. Biological "corridors" would link the "core areas," serving as highways allowing nonhumans to pass from one core to another. And buffer zones would be established around the core areas and their interlocking corridors. Only outside the buffer areas would human activities such as agriculture and industrial production be permitted. The goal is to overcome what conservation biologists Soule and Noss refer to as the "fragmentation of habitat." In this ecocentric view of the world, the survival of flora and fauna takes precedence over all other considerations. "Our goal is to create new political realities based on the needs of other species," the Wildlands Project's Foreman told Science News in 1993.


The project is so audacious that it easily could be dismissed as little more than a green pipe dream. Yet the Los Angeles Times took the Wildlands Project seriously enough to do a feature on it in September 1999, even reproducing a map courtesy of the Wildlands Project. As the Times noted, the Wildlands Project goes beyond setting aside land. "[T]he group also envisions 'rewilding' parts of the West by winning government approval to bring back major carnivores like mountain lions, wolves and grizzlies to maintain ecological checks and balances." Needless to say, introducing carnivores into rural areas might so frighten local residents that many would leave-exactly what Wildlands Project supporters want.


To launch the scheme, the Bullett Foundation gave the Oregon Natural Resources Council, a Wildlands Project member, $95,000 in 1993 and 1994 for "advocacy work based on good science, agency monitoring, and appeals." The Pew Charitable Trusts also gave the project a boost. In 1993, it named Noss its Pew Scholar for Conservation and Environment, providing him with $150,000 for the next three years. Many donations have gone directly to the Wildlands Project, but others are made to one or more of three dozen organizations that are part of the project's grassroots network. Friends of the Bow/Biodiversity Associates, for example, is dedicated to "protecting" and connecting the Medicine Bow National Forest of Wyoming and Colorado, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the northern portion of Colorado's San Juan Mountains. The group vigorously opposes logging and mining activities in the region and supports U.S. Forest Service attempts to mandate roadless areas in the national forests. Its donors include the Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Foundation for Deep Ecology, National Rivers Coalition, Fund for Wild Nature, Harder Foundation, and Reraam Foundation.


The Wildlands Project has enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the Wilderness Society. "It's the right vision, it's the vision we have to pursue or say good-bye to Mother Nature," said Mark Shaffer, the group's former vice president of resource planning and economics. In this spirit, the Wilderness Society in July 2001 joined the Sierra Club and the Colorado Wilderness Network to urge Congress to designate for wilderness protection 1.6 million acres of "wildlands" held by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and adjacent U.S. Forest Service land. The proposal, they explained, "offers a balanced alternative to the threats to these special places from increased oil and gas development, mining, logging, and unregulated off-road vehicle use."

Such proposals should not be viewed in isolation. Each acre of land so "protected" becomes part of a larger mosaic that activists put together piece by piece. They have a vision of where they want to go and how to get there. Supporters of the Wildlands Project may never realize their goal of creating interlocking cores, corridors, and buffers across the North American continent. But enough private land is lost in the United States to pose a threat to our nation's character. Every bureaucratic land grab undermines the right to own property and produce wealth-wealth that sustains philanthropy.


The Human Cost of Land Grabbing
Dave Fisher is a third-generation cattle rancher at Ord Mountain, near Barstow, California. Fisher's ranch has been in his family for 75 years, and he has permits from the BLM that allow him to graze cattle on government-owned lands adjacent to his property. Fisher's ranch, located in the California Desert Conservation Area, is subject to unique climatological conditions prevailing in that part of the Mojave Desert. It's also subject to federal regulation. Like other ranchers in the area, Fisher's livelihood depends on his ability to use his own land and to acquire the grazing allotments he leases from the BLM.


In 2000, three environmental groups-the Center for Bio-Diversity, Sierra Club, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility-sued the BLM in federal court over its conduct relating to threatened or endangered species protection in Southern California. The BLM settled the case out of court. Without consulting its inholders-the landowners whose property is surrounded by government-owned land-or its lease holders who hold BLM grazing permits, the BLM declared its lands and those under private ownership in the affected area to be "critical habitat" for the desert tortoise. It also agreed to a series of stipulations on how critical habitat could be used. Especially onerous to ranchers like Fisher, the BLM drastically reduced the number of days cattle could graze on BLM allotments. On May 15, 2001, Fisher was given 15 days to remove his 307 head of cattle from the BLM land for which he had grazing permits. He was also told to remove the cattle from his own land. Fisher appealed the decision.


The drastic BLM action prompted San Bernardino County Sheriff Gary Penrod to revoke a three-year-old Memorandum of Understanding between his office and BLM's law enforcement branch. In an April 17, 2001 letter, a copy of which was provided by Fisher's lawyer Karen Budd Falen, Sheriff Penrod told the federal agency that it was acting in an "arbitrary and unreasonable fashion in threatening to remove cattle from grazing lands situated within the County of San Bernardino."


"This action," he wrote, "will directly and negatively impact the very livelihood of California cattlemen, and may result in physical resistance by cattlemen attempting to preserve their stock." Penrod added: "I do not wish to be associated with any Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement personnel who may be precipitating possible violent range disputes."


On August 24, Administrative Law Judge Harvey C. Sweitzer ruled that the BLM violated its own regulations by failing to engage in "consultation" with Fisher and six other ranchers affected by its order. Judge Sweitzer remanded the BLM order back to the agency and instructed it to afford Fisher and the other ranchers "a real opportunity to contribute information and shape the actions to be taken for the future benefit of all parties."


However, on September 7, the agency simply resurrected its May 15 decision and slapped strict limits on Fisher's use of his lands and lands within the grazing allotment. When the decision goes into effect, Fisher will have just 48 hours to remove his cattle from the 154,848-acre allotment he leases from the BLM. What's more, if Fisher's livestock stray into the closed areas, even though there are no fences, he could be charged with trespassing and lose all or parts of what is left of his grazing privileges.


Because there isn't enough private pasture to feed his herd, it's ruinous to Fisher to have the BLM reduce by 44 percent the number of days he is permitted to graze livestock on his allotment. And it's physically impossible for Fisher to remove his cattle from the huge area in 48 hours. Moreover, by including some of his own land in the exclusion area, BLM denies Fisher the use of his property without compensation. If these actions stand, Fisher will lose his ranching operation.


Judge Sweitzer's instruction that BLM allow Fisher to participate in the grazing decision is less supportive than it at first appears. His only opportunity to participate was a BLM "workshop" scheduled for September 6-7. Fisher was given less than one week's notice and because of a prior commitment could not attend. BLM ignored his request to reschedule it for the following week. Ironically, it was rancher stewardship of the land that attracted the desert tortoise. It was not until the Fisher family drilled water wells on its own land that the desert tortoise became prevalent in the California Desert Conservation Area. The tortoise attracted the attention of the environmental groups, and they used it and their influence with federal officials to push Fisher and his neighbors off the land.


Ending a Way of Life
Sadly, the tragedy befalling Dave Fisher is duplicated across the country. As these lines are written, 1,400 farmers and farmers along the California-Oregon border are facing a similar disaster. A severe drought has prompted the Bureau of Reclamation to divert water intended to irrigate crops in the arid region, called the Klamath Basin, to rivers and lakes that are home to to two species of sucker fish, which the Fish & Wildlife Service considers endangered species. Without the life-sustaining irrigation, the farmers' potato crop will wither in the field.


In a pattern that has become all too familiar in rural America, environmental organizations, among them the Oregon Natural Resources Council and Water Watch, filed the lawsuits that triggered the federal government's decision to cut off the farmers' water. Like Fisher, the Klamath Basin farmers and farmers are on the verge of losing their livelihood because the Endangered Species Act protects a species other than their own. Many of the Klamath Basin's residents are descendants of World War I and World War II veterans who settled the region after the government promised them they would have water for irrigation. Indeed, many veterans had deeds -- signed by various U.S. presidents -- granting them and their heirs water rights into perpetuity. As their prospects for economic survival dwindle, there is talk of having the federal government or environmental groups buy them out. But the proud residents of the Klamath Basin don't want to be bought out; they want to farm and ranch just as their grandparents did.


Farmers and ranchers are being urged to accept an offer they can't refuse. They may have little choice but to salvage what they can. But if it comes to that, another bit of rural America will have surrendered the promise of prosperity and forcibly be returned to the wild.


Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D, is a senior fellow at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va. A former editor of EPA Watch, he currently serves as Washington editor for the Earth Times.

-----
Henrietta Bowman
Help Henrietta keep working for Liberty! Visit Henrietta's Rendezvous.http://www.fourthbranch.org/rendezvous
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<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 01-08-2003 13:09: Message edited by: michaelr ]</font>
 

Muledeer4me

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Mike,another again great find.
I have seen bit's and piece's of this stuff on many of the web site's I have run across while researching some of the invironmental/anit-rancher stuff.
While I still believe in protection for our land's I also know we need to be real carefull about what we support and look into the end goal of alot of these org.
Just look at all the places and how it fall's into place.
Endangered species
More wilderness
Roadless area's
More monument's (Look what Clinton did)
Look at the people that loss use of there land in the utah staircase--esclanti moument.
Dont forget the expanded crator's of the moon,where we were told hunting would be allowed but then wasnt.It now got restored but we were lied to about that deal.
Less access-you and I see this in area's we once could get to that is now blocked off.
Large predator's
Get the rancher off of public land.
Tell everyone you can about how ALL the ranchers are doing wrong.( not true)
Complane about un-- regulated off road use-use picture's of legal off road area's (they do this all the time around this area in regard's to the owyhee's)They show pictures of our ORV park where it was set up just for that use.

Snowmachine's in yellowstone
Water craft in lake's
Atv's and Motorcycle's
Horse's havent even escaped the green team's in some area's.
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it gets to be crazy.
 

1_pointer

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The TNC is bigger than I thought!!!
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I hope sportsmen can real between the lines and see that some of these organizations are working for their benefit in the long run. I haven't read it yet, but there's an article in a recent issue of Bugle about Michael Soule and the Wildlands project. The title lists him as a hunter.

One thing I think the article should've addressed, but didn't was how much land these 'green groups' saved from development (which all here agrees is a BIG evil). Some of which I'm sure was bought from farmers and ranchers who were going under anyway.
 

BuzzH

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Of course there isnt any slant to that article at all.
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There isnt any land grabbing going on at all. What a bunch of BS. When was the last time the Gummint seized property with the black helicopters.

I guess rather than conservation easements or having the states/feds, or conservation groups buy up lands, you'd all rather see more subdivisions and shit like that. I view land in 2 ways either protected from development or its at risk to development. Relying on private land holders to do the right thing aint cutting it now. Take a look at damn near any realestate guide where you travel, always a nice big section stating, "Developers, look at this" or something along those lines. I support any group or individual that chooses to sell their land to the states/feds or enter into conservation easements. Its about the only chance we have to give any long-term chance to most game species, bio-diversity, etc, etc, etc.

Oh, and its fair to lump State Government (game and fish), RMEF, FNAWS, etc. into the green land grabber bunch too. They support the same agenda as most of those mentioned, including acquiring critical habitat.

Whoever wrote that piece of trash obviously isnt looking out for hunters, thats for damn sure. Long live the private landowner and the bastards that sell out to developers, you got to love em. Down with public lands and conservation easements and any group that acquires habitat for wildlife. Yeah, that article is a real gem, because thats what it says.
 

Muledeer4me

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http://www.wildlandsproject.org/
Here is the like to Michael Soule's wildlands project.
I read the bugle piece called "Rewilding the Hunt" By Michale Soule.
In the bugles I recieved sense that his piece ran, the mail they recieved after was running 50/50 on how people felt about it and his vision.
I have a bugle here now I thought this was of intrest .
This was from Michaels story,
" The rewilding would not be accomplished by rudely disrupting human endeavors and evicting folks from the land"

This was part of one of the replys,
" Bull" "It cannot be accomplished in any other way then eminent domain confiscation.
I have to agree with this guy,I dont see how it will work.
Of course if we look at some of the other thing's that are being played out ,it does look like this is well on it way.
 

1_pointer

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I don't see anyone getting evicted, they are selling their land, not getting kicked off of it. I doubt the government would stand for a private organization to be seizing land by eminent domain confiscation. Granted, that may be their only option because of laws or circumstances, but the land is not being taken without compensation.
 

Muledeer4me

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"Rancher Says an Endangered Species
Is Endangering His Way of Life
Tuesday, January 30, 2001 "

By Katie Cobb


SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. — ["Steve Lindsey and his family have raised cattle in eastern Arizona for more than a century.
But now, he says, his way of life is threatened. Environmental groups want his land in their quest to return some of the West's farm and ranch land to the wild. And Lindsey fears the federal government is on their side.

"We've been in this country since 1860," he said from his more than 600-acre ranch outside the small town of Sierra Vista last week. "We are environmental stewards."

Lindsey, a husband and father of nine, never had trouble until the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service found Spiranthes delitescens on his property. The herb, more commonly known as the Canelo Hills ladies'-tresses, grows only in four mountainous areas of southeast Arizona. It can reach to 19 inches tall, and its stalk contains as many as 40 small, white flowers.

Fish & Wildlife officials offered him a conservation agreement to protect the plant, Lindsay said, and told him if he didn't sign it they would list the species as endangered.

"I said, 'That is extortion, and this is America,'" he said. "They said, 'Watch me.'"

The species first became endangered Jan. 6, 1997. It not only restricted his ability to graze his cattle on leased federal land, something his family had been doing for generations, it also gave ammunition to environmental groups that want his land as a nature preserve.

One such group is the Tuscon-based Wildlands Project, a group that aims to reclaim and connect wildlife corridors throughout the entire North American continent. Its founder, Dave Foreman, ends his public speeches with a wolf's howl in support of endangered species.

Foreman lectured at the University of Arizona last week about his plan to "rewild" 10.5 million acres in Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.

"You live in a world of wounds, a world infected by us human beings," he told the gathering.

The group's Web site insists an "audacious" plan is needed for the survival of the North American environment. In essence, that includes acquiring Lindsay's land.

In an interview with Fox News Channel, Foreman said the wolf needs to become "functionally present" from Canada to Mexico through the Rocky Mountains.

"By functionally present I mean not there in some sort of open-air zoo," he said.

For the Wildlands Project to work, it needs more than just land owned by the federal government. And some, like Lindsey, have no intention of giving it up.

"It's more reaching out and grabbing of the property rights of the people," he said.

Because the government's Endangered Species Act prohibits Lindsey from grazing cattle on federally protected land, Lindsey says his only choice is to sell the farm or go broke.

"We're backed into a corner," he said."]

— Fox News' Robert Shaffer contributed to this report



Posted: 02/03/01
 

MULE

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Buzz quote: Relying on private land holders to do the right thing aint cutting it now.
*****************************************************************************

Jesus christ buzz, Now people should have no control over their OWN land. Hey you wanna kick ranchers off public land fine. But now you want to tell them what to do with the land they OWN? PRIVATE LAND?

We've had this discussion before. Ranching or developement...Take your pick.

Hey if the laramie fire dept figures your property would make a great fire station, and is willing to give you less than what its worth would you do it? If you say no they take it anyway and pay what they wan't. This is what YOU advocate
 

Michaelr

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my thought exactly mule.
I was going to post about the same thing but you beat me to it
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ELKCHSR

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!!!VERY!!! VERY!!! Good finds guy's...
Buzz!!! Black helicopters aren’t needed when you have that kind of money to hire black suits that can do the job more efficiently and have the blessing of all those ignorant people that can't see the whole picture...This is the same type of tactics (Tacktick, for Buzz) I saw used in Washington with the Spotted owl, eagle, and wet lands, against home and land owners. They do it in very small increments in the areas they are attacking. One or two at a time and with resources that these individuals have no idea what hit them and no one that will listen to their plight...It is a shame that these tactics (Tackticks) are used against the American people to the detriment of all in the end. These productive lands are taken off the tax and production roles and put on big brothers tax doles, to cost us all more $$$ in the end. It is really easy to see this happening if one just wants to pull their heads out of the sand long enough to look at it for what it really is. Then there are a few even on this board that love to see this type of activity going on, just because it helps what there narrow perceived notion of reality really is. They have no concept whatsoever of where the $$$ really comes from for all of this and what the real economic damage it actually does...
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1_pointer

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I do have a problem with private land be 'taken' away without just compensation. But in all the above examples I see people that were counting on Federal land for the majority of their livlihood, therefore the Federal gov. has control over the management of those lands. If that includes reduction in grazing, well that's their choice. Also, these people claim how long they've been in an area and using the land. If it's BLM why didn't they purchase it when Eisenhower made it all for sale? Then they complain about the government changing the rules. That should not be a suprise as our government, IMO, was set up to allow change to be able to confront problems that the founders couldn't foresee.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Ranching or developement <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Those aren't always the only options as the original article posted. Some of these organizations are buying the land for other values, which I feel is at the root of this problem. Change is not easy nor accepted by everone, but it is inevitable. The values of many Americans in regards to the land have changed greatly in the last 20-40 years (which was caused by most here who disagrees generation not mine). Now many look at land for more than how it can be used or what can be gotten from it. That I feel is reality and until those who are using the federal lands recognize this as such their row is only going to get harder to hoe.
 

BuzzH

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Mule & Michael, no I did not say that private land owners should not be able to do what they want with their land. GO reread the post and the context. I was just pointing out the freaking FACT, that 99 percent (or more) of the subdivisions, etc. are happening because PRIVATE land owners are selling out for huge profits. Therefore, the statement "private land holders aint cutting it now." What part of that is hard to understand? Try finding a lopsided BS article to disprove that.

Not much development happening on Nature Conservancy land, Game and Fish lands, Forest Service lands, BLM land (more than some others, but it isnt subdivisions), etc.

Hey if you want to sell of your land, I dont see anything wrong with that. But, if you live in an area of winter range for big-game or something along those lines, I dont see anything wrong with a conservation group or the gov. buying the land. In fact I support that and encourage it. But then again, I also have enough common sense to recognize a REAL threat to big-game and hunting.

Mule said, "Ranching or developement...Take your pick."

Thank god that isnt even close to the truth. Get some info on conservation easements, they give landowners an option between the two.

MD4ME, I dont feel sorry for that landowner one bit. If you dont own enough land to make a living off it, dont expect me to subsidize or feel sorry for you. They own only 600 acres of desert and they wonder why they cant raise enough cattle to survive? There are no guarantees on those federal leases remaining the same or even being available. Why is that as a private land owner I could CHOOSE to lease or break the lease if I grazed my land, but you feel that the government (a landowner) cant? Well, reality time, they can and do change their agreements.

However, I strongly encourage them to do what ever they want on their own private land. Including subdividing it, selling to a conservation organization, or continuing to graze cattle on it.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 01-09-2003 09:13: Message edited by: BuzzH ]</font>
 

Muledeer4me

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Pretty spooky stuff when we have people in are own country that have no respect for private property right's and are willing to up hold any org. that is willing to force people off of there land.

No one mentioned black helicopters (Buzz)heck they dont need to do that---they have people in our own country that are willing to let them take it for nothing and run honest people off there own property.
We have some great org. out there to pick from dont we?
1Pointer,why didnt they buy that land when it was for sale before?
Same reason you and i havent bought the biggest houses on our blocks----or why we arent the one's fighting off the wolve's in our back yard's ,we didnt have the money?
I often wonder if it steams more from the (poor me feeling )look at what those people have ,look at all that land,lucky bastards
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If I could just get on there property to hunt !!!!
It makes me sick to see how far down our country has slipped to the point that private property means so little to some people.
Im all for conservation,if someone wants to sell there land ,but using law suites and the endangered species act,to attack private property, logging,minning,ranching,farming all under the guise of helping .
Helping what country?
I understand it is a balancing act and we need to conserve and protect --but holy crap-

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Muledeer4me

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"Hey if you want to sell of your land, I dont see anything wrong with that. But, if you live in an area of winter range for big-game or something along those lines, I dont see anything wrong with a conservation group or the gov. buying the land. In fact I support that and encourage it. But then again, I also have enough common sense to recognize a REAL threat to big-game and hunting."
Buzz ,I agree with that.
I dont agree with how some of it is being done.
How low some of these org. are willing to stoop to make sure the person has no other choise buy to sell out.
That is what im talking about --you know its being done and so do I.
Heck its a tacktac some of these org. state right on there web site that they will use to get people out ----thats fair ?
Starve em out?
force them to out?
There have been some really good things done with-in some of these org. to help game animals,-----then you have the one's that dont give a crap about your hunting or mine and there end goal in to save it all and stop hunting ,those are the org. that need to be stopped.
Isnt that the point ?
To figure what org. and group are working towards the same goal?
I dont need to have access so bad that im willing to help force people off of there own land.
 

BuzzH

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MD4ME said, "I dont need to have access so bad that im willing to help force people off of there own land."

I agree 100 percent, but I also dont want public lands trashed, by a few private landwoners, to the point that it forces MY wildlife off it either. Which everyone knows absolutely has been going on for many years.

The potential for wildlife improvement and increases in hunting opportunities on public lands is staggering...but not if things continue as they are.

Thats just exactly why I fight so hard to keep federal and state lands in good condition. I dont want to have to pay a landowner or rely on a landowner for a place to hunt.
 

dgibson

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Henderson, KY
I'm having trouble keeping up here. What the hell are we talking about, PRIVATE (i.e., owned in deed and name) land, or LEASED (i.e., Federal land that is rented) land? If it's private, then no, they should not be pushed off without due compensation. If it's leased, it's not "THEIR" land to begin with! What "private property" rights? What "landowner" rights? Just because it's been done for a hundred years doesn't make it a right. If it's Federal land we're talking about, it belongs to a lot more people than just the ranchers, and those people get a say in its use too.
 

1_pointer

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Dg, I think it got mixed up a few posts ago!!
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From my reading of the articles, the biggest problem facing these ranchers is that they are losing their grazing leases. That loss then doesn't allow them to support their deeded property because it's not sufficient to raise the number of animals.

MD- Didn't have the money? It was being sold for under $2.50/acre (yes the decimals in the right place). They didn't buy it because they figured they get to use it without having to pay property tax.

Like I posted above, I do feel for the guy that gets stuff mandated to him on his own property. But, if his problems stem from changing management of federal lands that's just...well sorry bucko, you don't own it. IMO, there is NOTHING stopping a person from being a rancher if they want to be. Sure, you may have to take a circuitious path to get there but it can be done! Heck, one of the biggest ranchers in MT is a city boy from Atlanta!

I wonder why no mention was made about farmers or ranchers being 'forced' off their land by corporate farms like ConAgra? I see they practices as being just as 'bad' as TNC, but I'd definitely take TNC over ConAgra as a steward of the land.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 01-09-2003 12:36: Message edited by: 1_pointer ]</font>
 

dgibson

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Yeah, Mars, how many small-timers has your corporation forced off their land lately?
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It goes on everywhere, even in the east. The difference is that here it's a piece here and there and nobody really seems to care except those directly involved. At least we OWN the land that we're getting screwed out of, though!
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Muledeer4me

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"MD- Didn't have the money? It was being sold for under $2.50/acre (yes the decimals in the right place). They didn't buy it because they figured they get to use it without having to pay property tax."


1Pointer,if it's all that easy,I have a good deal for you on some hunting property ,
the price has been reduced and down the road a ways im sure the price is going to look real low to people,so you shouldnt have any problem comming up with the money to buy it right?

Buzz,I agree with you also on thatlast post,we disagree on how it should be done,and if it's right how some of these org. are going about it.
I dont support those that want to take all cows off of public land.
I dont support (or at least I try not to)anyone using law suites and the endangered species act to break people,as a way to get what these org. and groups want.
 

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