Jon Christensen was prophetic when he wrote that the Forest Service would not replace Kevin Atchley with a "good old boy" (HCN, 10/30/95). (Christensen's Great Basin story told of Atchley's transfer within Nevada, following hostile incidents toward Forest Service personnel.)
I'm living proof: the "new range con." I've found if you deal with people honestly, show them the problem areas, explain what the ecological standards are and why they are in place, then listen to their ideas on how to fix things, real progress can be made towards enlightened land use.
There may not be total consensus, and a particular rancher may not like all that's required. One thing is certain if communication stays functional: There is little confusion about what is expected in terms of permit compliance. There may even be the beginnings of mutual respect.
N. Chrystine Olson
The writer is a rangeland management specialist for the Forest Service.
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