Online Messenger #273
There has been a lot of talk about federal involvement in managing lands in western states lately. The recent attempt by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to round up scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy’s trespassing cattle in Nevada kicked a hornet’s nest of anti-federalism, state’s rights, and anti-government resentment. Where Bundy’s supporters saw signs of tyranny and oppression, Western Watersheds Project (WWP) saw delayed justice and failed protection for imperiled species.
We all agreed on one thing – that BLM didn’t handle the situation very well!
These events offered WWP a rare oppportunity to inform the public about public lands grazing issues. The affiliate blog, The Wildlife News, ran several articles on topics ranging from incorrect entitlement to the inadequacies of the grazing fee, and in turn, TWN was cited in mainstream media. WWP’s op-ed on Salon.com got quite a lot of social media attention. And enough people on Twitter got the message about the financial boondoggle of the Bunkerville standoff to start using the hashtag #WelfareCowboy to describe Mr. Bundy.
The public lands are the last stronghold for native species and functional ecosystems. Managing the desert for the sake of desert tortoise habitat protects the desert for all desert dwelling plants and animals and maintains ecosystem functions like carbon sequestration, which benefits the entire planet.
This land is your land, and this land is my land, and since that’s the case, we should all work for its protection and restoration.