'Multiple use is still the best concept'

  • Stacy Davies

    Stephen Stuebner photo
 

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

Stacy Davies is the ranch manager of the Roaring Springs Ranch in the Catlow Valley, on the west side of Steens Mountain. Owned by the Bob Sanders family for the last seven years, it is the largest ranch on Steens Mountain, with 146,000 acres of private land and 250,000 acres of BLM leases. Davies is also a liaison to the Resource Advisory Council. If ranchers were kicked off the mountain, he says, "I'd probably go to law school and give Bill Marlett hell."

"A lot of people near and far dearly love the Steens. I count myself among them. We believe the best way to protect it is not to advertise it. If you make it a federal area, it would destroy the area that you're trying to save. It makes me mad when I see the BLM advertising it.

"The reason Steens is a place they want to designate as a special place is because ranchers have worked all of their lives to make it a special place. I think we may be a year away from losing the whole thing.

"One proposal on the table is to cut grazing by 25 percent. We could continue at that level, but a 25 percent cut on most ranches puts them in an economic position where they couldn't survive. Without grazing, the uses of the land will change and landscape management will be a thing of the past. Fences will go up, and dispersed recreation will be gone. I'm not being selfish about my mountain, I'm looking out for my friends who fish and hunt. I think multiple use is still the best concept for the mountain.

"This is a good ranch, and it will continue to get better. We're pumping $2 million into the Harney County economy and those businesses in Burns, and our property taxes are a big portion of the Frenchglen school district's budget."