Learning from the opposition
Ed Marston's tribute to pioneering rancher Doc Hatfield was fitting; Hatfield had a major hand in promoting responsible use of Western rangelands. He helped start a movement of responsible ranchers operating in all corners of the West (HCN, 4/15/12, "Goodbye, Doc").
The less-responsible ranchers are still out there, too, and, from what I see here in Klamath Country, they still outnumber the responsible ones. What puzzles me is why the industry tolerates the despoilers; they give all ranchers a bad name.
One of Ed's statements in the piece also puzzled me: "I can understand why it was so hard for us to find common ground with miners, dam builders and loggers. But I didn't understand the hatred so many environmentalists had for ranchers. …"
I've been a grassroots environmental activist in the rural West going on 40 years. But I've never hated the loggers, irrigators, ranchers and federal bureaucrats who did the evil deeds. In fact, loggers, farmers, ranchers and even federal bureaucrats have often been my teachers –– pointing out what was done wrongly and advising us how to do it right.