Wyoming Should Manage Public Lands

My previous column gave examples of federal mismanagement fueling the sagebrush rebellion. Here is another egregious example. In August 2015 the EPA’s attempt to clean up an old abandoned mine in Colorado resulted in a devastating spill of millions of gallons of toxic orange waste into the Animas River contaminating it for many miles and years. Today I will examine objections to transferring public lands to Wyoming and the legalities of so doing. The proposed transfer will only apply to National Forests and BLM land, not to National Parks or Monuments. Objections, such as the following, should currently be leveled…

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Government Has No Common Sense

A few days ago I was driving from Jackson toward the Airport. I had to be very careful as I came up behind two people on bicycles. Oncoming traffic made it necessary for me to slow down and wait to pass. The highway shoulder was narrow in that spot. After going around them, I observed the Jackson to Teton National Park bicycle pathway, which cost millions. It was vacant with seasonal closure signs. The weather was beautiful, perfect for an afternoon bicycle ride. Without snow, no elk were in sight. So why close the pathway? Allegedly it is because of…

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Fed Mismanagement Fuels Sagebrush Rebellion

One morning I found that a bird had built its nest in the parted mane of Jumbo, our gentle draft horse. I called our veterinarian to tell him of the novelty. He claimed he had a sure-fire way of solving the problem. I said, “That’s easy; just destroy the nest and shoo the bird away.” He said that would rile the bird lovers. Too risky. He advised me to sprinkle brewer’s yeast over the nest and the mane. Screwy “solution” but I tried it. Sure enough, within hours the bird and its nest were gone and Jum was back to…

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Predation by Wolves is Grief for Ranchers

On May 23 Jackson Hole rancher Russ Lucas went to his pasture to investigate his bellowing cows. As he approached the herd he could see they were riled and agitated. They were gathered around the bloody carcass of one of their calves and were vocally upset. A pack of wolves had killed and eaten the week-old calf during the night. The ground around the carcass was all torn up where the cows had milled about, trying to get courage enough to drive the wolves away. All they could do was watch. The mama cow had been bitten on the hind…

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The Inquisition is Alive and Well in Wyoming

The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics has petitioned the Wyoming Supreme Court to remove Ruth Neely from her positions as Municipal Court Judge and Circuit Court Magistrate. She has served Sublette County Wyoming for 21 years with nary a complaint filed against her. Her crime? Expressing her religious belief. In 2014 a federal district court legalized same-sex marriage in Wyoming. Ned Donovan, reporting for the Sublette Examiner at the time, phoned Neely and “asked if she was excited to be able to start performing same-sex marriages.” Judge Neely, distracted at the time and therefore not giving this deliberate…

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Some Solutions Elude Federal Bureaucrats

Over a lifetime of dealing with federal land agents, I’ve come to the conclusion that their bureaucratic system discourages common sense. At the White Creek trailhead, 20 miles up Greys River, there is a turnaround spot which is popular for camping in summer and fall. There is no outhouse there, and if nature calls you go into the bushes to do your duty. You bury yours, but others are not so considerate. The area is a health hazard and an eyesore. So I suggested to a Boy Scout that he approach the Forest Service (FS) about digging and constructing an…

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Why 1,000 Grizzlies Are More Than Enough

“Why are the horses running?” my wife asked. I looked out the window and 15 of our horses were running full speed across the pasture. I ran out of the house, climbed a high corral fence and saw a mama grizzly and two cubs a hundred yards from me running for their lives. The horses were in hot pursuit led by Scout, our most mischievous horse. If there is trouble Scout will be right in the middle of it. “Grab the camera!” I yelled. I can testify from firsthand observation that grizzlies, even 6-month-old cubs, can outrun a horse. The…

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Beware of the Big Bad Wolf

A front page article in the March 2 issue of the JH News & Guide regarding a wolf encounter by local resident Brian Hayden included this statement; “Wild wolves, going by the numbers, virtually never attack people.” The facts dispute that conclusion. From the year 1800 until present there have been at least 36 fatal attacks by wolves in North America. Two of these fatalities occurred in this century. On March 8, 2010, schoolteacher Candice Berner was out jogging near her home in Alaska and was attacked and killed by a wolf or wolves. DNA testing and necropsies performed on…

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Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

In 1972, when I majored in Game and Fish Management at Arizona State University, Cleveland Amory and his Fund-For-Animals had a convention to drum up support for their anti-hunting cause. Me and some other characters decided to take advantage of the situation. [note to editors; I know proper grammar is supposed to be “a couple of guys and I”, but please don’t ruin my persona by correcting the lousy cowboy grammar.] We set up a table on the sidewalk with a sign having a cute caricature of a little woodchuck-looking animal and the caption, SAVE the NAUGAS. BAN NAUGAHIDE. We…

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Government Should Not Provide Housing

Any time government steps in to solve a problem it creates two or more problems of equal or greater magnitude. That maxim seems to describe Teton County Housing Authority (TCHA), a local government attempt to make housing more affordable for public employees and lower income private sector workers. Everyone else is weighing in on this issue. It is time for some simple cowboy common sense to be applied. First, this cowboy operates from the premise that almost no one in government deliberately starts out to cause or exacerbate a problem. They are generally good-hearted and have good intentions. They are…

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