Cooperation and other shibboleths

  Dear HCN,


I don't know how many times I've read or heard that the solution to the differences between environmentalists and ranchers is "cooperation." Lovely word, cooperation. Unfortunately, it seems to mean different things to different people. To the rancher, it's "leave us alone to do our thing." To most environmentalists, it means reducing the number of livestock to what the land can support. Most ranchers believe there's nothing wrong with rangelands that wouldn't be solved by more rain. Chronic optimists, they expect those rains to come every year, and "doing their thing" means stocking the ranges in expectation that those rains, which never seem to come in sufficient quantity to satisfy ranchers, will somehow materialize for sure "this year." How is cooperation going to resolve these two contradictory yet firmly held viewpoints?


Jon Christensen's report on the 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering (HCN, 4/23/01: An environmentalist in the heart of cowboy culture) was another paean to cooperation. It failed miserably to present grazing critics' side of the issue. The keynote speaker, a Nevada buckaroo ("cowboy" in all other states!) accused a "small faction of people" for the fact that today there are "40 percent fewer cattle in the Great Basin region than there was in 1984." Not once in Christensen's page-length article is there any mention of overgrazing. In fact, in the 50 years I've lived and worked (33 years with Arizona Game and Fish) never have I known of a rancher admitting there was such a thing as overgrazing. Not, that is, until the elk herd in this state built up and they had an opportunity to accuse the elk of overgrazing. Cooperation will work to the satisfaction of public-land ranchers only if grazing critics throw in the towel (which I'm confident they won't do) and continue to allow the rancher-Forest Service-Bureau of Land Management-Senate coalition to do as they please on our public lands.


Steve Gallizioli
Fountain Hills, Arizona


The writer is a retired chief of the Wildlife Management Division, Arizona Game and Fish Department.
High Country News Classifieds
  • OPERATIONS AND FINANCE MANAGER
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a national grassroots organization led by women, seeks a resourceful, self-motivated, team player to serve as Operations and Finance Manager....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) fosters community stewardship, education and awareness of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • WYOMING STATE DIRECTOR
    Save the World ... or at least a piece of it! Join The Nature Conservancy and make a tangible and lasting impact by creating a...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCACY NON-PROFIT NEAR YOSEMITE
    Demanding, but rewarding, advocacy work on forest, water, wildland, and wildlife issues. Applicants should have experience dealing with land management planning, public speaking, grassroots organizing,...
  • NEW AGRARIAN APPRENTICESHIP
    Quivira Coalition's 2020 New Agrarian Apprenticeships in Regenerative Ranching and Farming -Apprenticeships run 4/20 - 11/20 Applications accepted 10/15/19 - 12/1/19 NAP partners with skilled...
  • PHILANTHROPY DIRECTOR AT WILDERNESS WORKSHOP
    Wilderness Workshop seeks a full time Philanthropy Director to raise funds for our team. Learn more: www.wildernessworkshop.org
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT WITH WESTERN RESOURCE ADVOCATES
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks an enthusiastic and organized problem solver to join our growing team as an Executive Assistant. The Executive Assistant is instrumental...
  • WYOMING OUTDOOR COUNCIL
    Two positions: Development Director OR Development Writer, Communications Director. Full job descriptions at https://wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org/careers.
  • CONSERVATION PROJECT MANAGER
    Great Land Trust seeks to hire a Conservation Project Manager. Position is full-time, based in Anchorage, Alaska. First review of applications will be on October...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eagle Valley Land Trust Executive Director Position Description Summary of Position: The Executive Director, working with and reporting to the Board of Directors, has overall...
  • FINANCE & LOGISTICS COORDINATOR
    The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, founded in 1928 as an independent nonprofit organization, is a biological field station located near Crested Butte, Colorado. Our primary...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    See Full Job Description
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Position: Development Coordinator Responsible to: Executive Director Time Commitment: 15-20 hours per week, or as otherwise agreed upon General Description: The Development Coordinator assists the...
  • EDUCATION CENTER MANAGER
    Friends of Cedar Mesa seeks a full-time Education Manager for the Bears Ears Education Center to provide day to day operational and administrative oversight. See...
  • TROUT UNLIMITED SCP SOUTHWEST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
    Seeking to hire an experienced advocate/manager to oversee the organization's sportsmen/women-driven advocacy in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Open until filled
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    for northern AZ collaborative conservation ranchlands group
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Partners are seeking an experienced and energetic Executive Director who is excited about the opportunity to lead our growing organization! A full description of the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    High Country News Seeks an Executive Director to advance its mission, grow its audience and influence, and strategically and sustainably guide the organization through a...
  • 2 PROPERTIES ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Organic farm, hot springs, San Francisco River runs through both. [email protected]
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.