Forty years of Sagebrush Rebellion

The Oregon occupation, the 2014 Bundy standoff and many other stories are all related to a long-simmering movement.

 

The Sagebrush Rebellion has roots that go back to the early 1900s, when the federal government first started reserving public lands and developing water for early settlements. It took off starting in the 1970s, when the environmental movement pushed Congress to pass The Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air and Water acts, and others. It appeared again during the Clinton Administration, as it took on public land grazing, mining, and logging, while creating new controversial monuments under The Antiquities Act.  Finally, the election of President Barack Obama brought on the latest iteration, with renewed calls for public land transfers to the states and rising anti-federal sentiment, such as that exhibited by the Malheur occupation.

Malheur occupation, explained (Jan. 4, 2016)
The deep history behind the Bundy brothers’ takeover of a wildlife refuge in Oregon.

In eastern Oregon, a protest over imprisoned ranchers becomes an occupation of a wildlife refuge (Jan. 4, 2016)
Photos from the Burns, Oregon, protests, the latest iteration of the Sagebrush Rebellion.

Modern sagebrush rebels recycle old Western fantasies (Jan. 4, 2016 op-ed)

Public-land transfer proponents may have violated lobbying laws (October 2015) 
Colorado puts the American Lands Council on "notice" for ethical missteps.

Dispatch from White Hope Mine dispute in Montana (August 2015) 
The constitutionalist group Oath Keepers is defending a mine that the Forest Service says is out of compliance.

Counties use a ‘coordination’ clause to fight the feds (May 2015) 
An obscure provision in two environmental laws is the weapon of choice in a bureaucratic Sagebrush Rebellion.

The taxpayer money that fuels federal land transfer demands (May 2015) 
How the behind-the-scenes lobby group American Lands Council gets funding.

Oath Keepers show up for a public lands dispute in Oregon
Plus a Cliven Bundy supporter is charged and BLM emails about the Nevada standoff were released.

State bills to study federal-to-state land transfers (April 2015) 
A rundown of the legislation in each state and a look into the motives behind them.

Dispatch from Cliven Bundy's latest gathering (April 2015)
Who showed up at the one-year anniversary of the BLM standoff? Most of them weren't ranchers.

An update on Nevada scofflaw Cliven Bundy (March 2015) 
The rancher still has influence in some circles, and has seen zero repercussions for trespass cattle and unpaid fees.

Cliven Bundy (April 2014)

Defuse the West (October 2014)

Western states eye federal lands—again (October 2014)

A reluctant rebellion in the Utah desert (May 2014) 
For ATVers at Recapture Canyon, realpolitik meets out-of-town zeal.

How right-wing emigrants conquered North Idaho (May 2013)

One Sagebrush Rebellion flickers out -- or does it? (September 2012)

Fearful of Agenda 21, an alleged U.N. plot, activists derail land-use planning (February 2012)

How Arizona's culture helped shape the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords (February 2012)

Looking past Joe Arpaio (December 2011)

Utah's Sagebrush Rebellion capital mellows as animal-lovers and enviros move in (January 2011)

A dark moment, a glimmer of light (January 2011)

Pillaging the Past (April 2008)

Rebels with a lost cause (December 2007)

The Sagebrush Rebels ride again -- and again (December 2007 op-ed)

Taking Liberties (July 2006)

The West’s Biggest Bully (September 2003)

Change comes slowly to Escalante country (April 2003)

Road warriors back on the offensive (February 2003)

Showdown on the Nevada range (August 2001)

Shoveling vs. sniveling (March 2000 essay)

The last Celtic warlord lives in New Mexico (March 2000)

The Forest Service sets off into uncharted territory (November 1999)

Nevadans drive out forest supervisor (November 1999)

Nevada rebellion ends with a whimper (October 1999)

Idaho stubbornly remains what America used to be (March 1998 essay)

Founding father challenges his movement (March 1997 op-ed)

Wise-users try to whip up a recipe for their own salvation (October 1996 op-ed)

Utah counties bulldoze the BLM, Park Service (October 1996)

Catron County's politics heat up as its land goes bankrupt (June 1996)

Nevada's ugly tug-of-war (October 1995)

Nevada's most rebellious (October 1995)

To save a Utah canyon, a BLM ranger quits and turns activist (October 1995)

County commissioner courts bloodshed (April 1995)

Armed, crazy and lost in the Wild West (May 1995 op-ed)

Waaaaaaaaaaaahh! The West refuses to be weaned (February 1995 essay)

Land-use plan is disemboweled (December 1994)

Ranchers arrested at wildlife refuge (October 1994)

'Wise use' plans abhor change (September 1994)

Home, home on the range ... where neo-Nazis and skinheads roam (June 1994)

The Not O.K. Corral (May 1994)

Landowners turn the Fifth into sharp-pointed sword (February 1993)

Trying a "Bold" landswap (February 1982)

The Sagebrush Rebellion: misdirected dynamite (February 1980 op-ed)

Environmentalists, backlash, and the 'New Right' (May 1978)

High Country News Classifieds
  • ELLIE SAYS IT'S SAFE! A GUIDE DOG'S JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE
    by Don Hagedorn. A story of how lives of the visually impaired are improved through the love and courage of guide dogs. Available on Amazon.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
    All positions available: Sales Representative, Accountant and Administrative Assistant. As part of our expansion program, our University is looking for part time work from home...
  • COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Position Title: Communications Associate Director Location: Flexible within the Western U.S., Durango, CO preferred Position reports to: Senior Communications Director The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF)...
  • HISTORIC HOTEL & CAFE
    For Sale, 600k, Centennial Wyoming, 6 suites plus 2 bed, 2 bath apartment. www.themountainviewhotel.com Make this your home or buy a turn key hotel [email protected]
  • MAJOR GIFTS OFFICER
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Major Gifts Officer to join our...
  • RUBY, ARIZONA CARETAKER
    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • VICE PRESIDENT, LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION
    Basic Summary: The Vice President for Landscape Conservation is based in the Washington, D.C., headquarters and oversees Defenders' work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing...
  • BRISTOL BAY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Seeking a program director responsible for developing and implementing all aspects of the Alaska Chapter's priority strategy for conservation in the Bristol Bay region of...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The National Bighorn Sheep Center is looking for an Executive Director to take us forward into the new decade with continued strong leadership and vision:...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Powder Basin Watershed Council, based in Baker City, Oregon, seeks a new Executive Director with a passion for rural communities, water, and working lands....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, based in Ely, Nevada is looking for a new executive director to replace the long-time executive director who is retiring at...
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • LOG HOME IN THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Beautiful hand built log home in the heart of the Gila Wilderness on five acres. Please email for PDF of pictures and a full description.
  • CARETAKER
    2.0 acre homestead needing year-round caretaker in NE Oregon. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.