'I will try anything'

  • Rose Strickland

    Dennis Ghiglieri
 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Rose Strickland is a member of the Public Lands Committee of the Sierra Club and co-author of How Not to be Cowed - Livestock Grazing on the Public Lands: An Owner's Manual. She is not an official member of the Trout Creek Mountain Working Group, but is an informal part of the group's consensus process. She and her husband, Dennis Ghiglieri, last participated in a Trout Creek range tour in 1997.

"I am supportive of good stewardship, fixing bad management and improving range conditions. I don't care what the name of the project is or who the manager is. I am in support of good stewardship wherever I find it.

"There is only one criterion I use in evaluating this stuff: What happens to the land? Does it get better? That's why I am still around in the Trout Creeks. I am very impressed with the recovery of the grasses.

"We actually saw Lahontan cutthroat trout spawning in Willow Creek, in a place they weren't supposed to be. It just blew us away. That was fabulous.

"The cooperation is fine. But there were lots of things that didn't make us feel too good. There were allotments that were beat up, meadows that had too much use and erosion going on. Not everyone believed in the stewardship ethic. In fact, we were lectured rather nastily by one of the permittees, about private-property rights and uppity environmentalists and the oppressive federal government. So I don't think all the ranchers are into this.

"I don't think the issue is grazed or not grazed. The issue is what is the best way to manage that piece of country. If you are getting good fish and wildlife habitat with grazing, grazing is not an issue. If grazing is destroying habitat, then you've got to do something about grazing.

"I am on the anti-grazing side where grazing is not appropriate, where the land is either not capable or not suitable for livestock grazing. But I am desperate. I will try anything - anything - to improve conditions on public lands.

"If I can do it in collaborative working groups, I'll do it. If I can do it by bringing a lawsuit to get cattle out of areas they shouldn't be in, I'll do it. But mostly I do it by trying to support good managers, whether they be individual ranchers or BLM range cons. That's my strategy: Support good managers.

"If ranchers are taking care of the land, they are going to get my support. How can environmentalists not support them?"