From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 16 - 12/14/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

We Won't Participate

by the Bench Corral Permittees

Editors Note: The Journal received a copy of this letter which was sent to Pinedale BLM Field Manager Prill Mecham by the Bench Corral permitees.

Dear Ms. Mecham,

The undersigned ranchers have been discussing the letter you sent to us dated 12/1/00, which invites us, and a large number of "interested public," to a meeting on December 12 to initiate the planning effort for the Bench Corral area. Some of us have personally talked with Doug Powell to obtain information about how your office intends to accomplish this effort with a committee composed of a variety of "interested public" and ourselves. We have also discussed with people in other parts of Wyoming, the pros and cons of rancher participation in collaborative committees such as the one proposed by your office, and we have reviewed the list of the people and groups you have invited to this effort.

Many of the people and groups you have invited to participate on this committee have publicly stated opinions against livestock grazing on federal lands. Some of these people and organizations have filed formal protests to your office stating their opposition to the renewal of our term grazing permits on BLM lands. A number of state and regional environmental organizations with public positions against economically viable livestock grazing on federal lands have been invited to participate in what we consider to be an issue best resolved by local interest. Some of these positions are extreme and uncompromising, and we are not convinced that such a committee will be willing or able to agree to a plan that recommends a balanced multiple use management strategy that includes keeping our ranches economically viable. We are not suggesting that the public should not have a roll in this process. Public participation is appropriate and we realize that the Bureau may feel the need to consult with people and organizations that do not support multiple use of federal lands. But we are under no such obligation. For these reasons, we have come to the conclusion that it would not be in our best interest to participate in the collaboration committee as proposed by your December 1 letter.

However, each of us do intend to continue to work with your staff and the Game and Fish Department in the spirit of continued stewardship and multiple use. Each of us are committed to dedicate the time and resources necessary to insure that the interests of our ranches are considered in the management decisions for this area. But we are convinced that these issues are a local matter, and that management plans should be developed by those directly affected by the results.

A majority of us are waiting for the renewal of our 10-year term grazing permits. Until those permits have been renewed by your office with the terms and conditions agreed to between ourselves and the BLM, we feel our ability to participate in the development of a habitat management plan, or allotment-grazing plans, has been compromised. When this process is completed, we are prepared to work with local people who are truly dedicated to the multiple use of this area, including the economic viability of our ranches.

Sincerely, Cotton Guio, Tagg and Nancy Guio, Gordon and Margaret Mickelson, Gordon and Beth Bray, Clarence and Wilma Davis and Ken Fear.

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