You are here: home   Issues   Two decades of hard work, plowed under   HCN still mired in cowboy myth

HCN still mired in cowboy myth

Document Actions
High Country News has done a disservice to the West by publishing the article, "Riding the middle path" (HCN, 12/8/03: Riding the middle path).

The article and its fawning photographs fail to fully describe the condition of the Owyhee landscape or the costs to the public of maintaining ranching there. It sadly reinforces HCN’s reputation of supporting cowboy mythology at the expense of public lands.

HCN has also missed a great opportunity to focus attention on a critical failure of the Wilderness Act itself: the legislative compromise which permits livestock grazing to continue in designated wilderness and the denial of national environmental groups to come to grips with that failure. Livestock grazing in designated wilderness is an oxymoron, and HCN could have helped initiate a long-overdue debate about it.

It is irresponsible for supporters of the Owyhee Initiative and HCN to claim that the values enumerated in the Wilderness Act will be protected in Owyhee County by designating 500,000 acres of wilderness in exchange for special privileges for the precise users who continue to degrade the natural condition of the lands with their livestock.

By letting the cowboy myth smother land-use realities, HCN has failed to serve any purpose except the perpetuation of that myth.

Jon Marvel Hailey, Idaho The writer is executive director of the Western Watersheds Project.
Filed under:

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Why I am a Tea Party member |
  3. The privatization of public campground management | All the info you need to decide whether you love o...
  4. Efficiency lessons from Germany |
  5. The Latest: Interior commits to restoring bison on select lands | The “odd ungulate out” gets a tentative win.
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  3. What's killing the Yukon's salmon? | An ecological mystery in Alaska has scientists and...
  4. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
  5. North Dakota wrestles with radioactive oilfield waste | Regulators look at raising the limit for radiation...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
Related Keywords
Public Lands
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone