Wednesday, November 19, 2008

About Jon Marvel

By DICK DORWORTH Express Staff Writer

At irregular intervals one of my favorite environmentally intelligent publications arrives in my post box. I always read it carefully, cover to cover, as it never fails to contain useful and reliable information and insights not usually found in more mainstream environmental publications. It is called Watersheds Messenger and is published periodically by Hailey-based Western Watersheds Project, which describes itself, accurately I think, as "working to protect and restore Western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives and litigation."
The Messenger, which has been published between two and four times a year since 1993, is one part of the education arm of WWP. It is only 16 pages and has a circulation of just 3,000, but anyone who views the landscape and wildlife of Western America as more than commodity and resource will be informed, entertained, amused, enraged and, in some cases, inspired to action by every issue. Actually, the same can be said of even those anthropocentric people who see the natural world as theirs for the taking-so long as they are honest and intelligent about the long-term sustainability of the takings. If the world is only mankind's nest (and, for the record, it is much more than that), befouling it is not in mankind's best interests, to put it less harshly than, say, a cattle-eroded bank of a stream full of cow manure and urine.
WWP and the Messenger explore the reality of what Bernard DeVoto meant when he wrote, "So now we come to the business which created the West's most powerful illusion about itself and, though this is not immediately apparent, has done more damage to the West than any other-the stock business."
For example:
The lead story in the latest (Fall 2008) issue of Watersheds Messenger is titled "Not a Good Place for Cows," and begins, "One might be hard pressed to think of a less appropriate place for livestock grazing, but that hasn't stopped the BLM from letting cows roam on the Sonoran Desert National Monument year after year."
The well-known environmental writer George Wuerthner, co-editor of "Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West," presents his argument in the same issue that "Traditional ranching in the West is on life support and dying." In fact, he writes, "Ranching is doomed in the West by rising land values," a premise he explores through the sad tale of "Bob," a third-generation Montana rancher who lost neighbors, family, community and even the ranch itself without being able to confront the change in his own life and lifestyle within a landscape that no longer sustains them. Bob seems a case study of Sigmund Freud's description of denial as a defense against any reality that might necessitate change in a person's life.
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Roni Bell
11/13/08 - 20:55
Hello Dick,
We'd be honored if you'd go to and study it thoroughly.There you'll find authenticated truth and facts on protecting private property rights through science, law and education.Jon Marvel mixes just enough fact in his muses - to make his mostly un-schooled audience believe - and blindly follow - his emotionally laden fictional inaccuracies.From what I've been able to piece together over the years, Jon was denied grazing permits (For what-ever reason??) - and has been on a grudge bent get all cattle off the land.He seeks to deny the majority of us who consider cattle:a) Adding to the artistic value of "living" landscapes.b) In partnership with cattle producers, they're excellent stewards of the land.c) Providing needed nutritional values in our diets, and a multitude of outside uses.Frankly - I'd rather see herds of cattle on the slope of a mountain, in a wide vast valley, trailing along rugged canyonlands and so on, than a Cristo curtain.If Jon Marvel was sincere in his concerns about our lands, he'd work to stop the ban on horse slaughter, adopt a few thousand feral horses, and help maintain reasonable elk, deer, bison, moose and antelope herds.Remember; Jon is the same guy who'd have you believe cattle are responsible for hummocks... To which I pose the question: "How do you explain hummocks on the moon? When the cow tried to jump over it, did it instead land on it?

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