" It's (VFRAW) a fabulous idea!! One more voice of reason and sanity is one more source who cares..."-Tom Remington, U.S. Hunting Today

Voices From the Rural American West is for Americans that care about people, families and the rich cultural history of rural America. You too can be part of this important issue. Protect rural area children, small business owners - the back bone of the American economy- and address other vital issues. Are you willing to care about the struggling families in rural America? Join us for monthly newsletters and alerts by scrolling to the bottom and completing the form!
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

April Newsletter

A Voice for Rural American families

• Who gives a voice to rural families?
• Who gives a voice to concerned ranchers?
• Who gives a voice to people who live & play in Rural areas?

Voices From the Rural American West!

Voices from the Rural American West is for Americans that care about people, families & the rich cultural history of rural America. You too can be part of this important issue. Protect rural area children, small business owners - the back bone of the American economy- & address other vital issues. VFRAW will pull rural America together to show the world what we are facing, & give a voice to those affected by critical issues. Our blog will feature important articles & events. Once a month, there will be a preview of the upcoming newsletter that will be sent to subscribers who have signed up at: RuralAmericanWest.Blogspot.com

As editor of VFRAW, I am dedicated to this venture, as once it became clear to me that America is under attack from within, I decided that those whose rights and freedoms are being threatened, especially in rural areas, needed a voice. Many of the problems I’ve seen are in the west; I live with my husband David and two children on our farm in south-central Idaho. We hunt, camp, and ride all over central and southern Idaho. Here as well as all over we face threats to our heritage. From wolves, roadless plans, and logging to water issues, hunting & private property rights, and ranching- I plan to address many concerns facing the rural American west and beyond.

A call to writers: Submit letters and stories; tell your family’s story, share your experiences. Hunters, ranchers, loggers, ATV enthusiasts, rural families: here’s your chance to tell your story! Please write to me at VFRAW@Yahoo.com
Very Sincerely, Erin Miller, Editor

In this issue:
Wolves & our nation, A look back to now, &
an Enviro & Federal Jurist team up, Global
Cooling and Property Rights, Where Have
All the Elk Gone…

• What Does Wolf Recovery
Mean for us as a Nation
• Priorities Then & Now
• The Great Oz & The Judge
• The ESA
• UN Biospheres vs Private
• Property Rights
• Where Have All The Elk Gone?
Long Time Passing…
• The Public Grazing Conundrum

What Does Wolf Recovery Really Mean for us as a Nation?
By Bruce Hemming

Through long, difficult researching I found record of 104 people who have been killed by wolves in North America. This doesn't include all the non-lethal wolf attacks on humans that I came across. Nor does it likely include all lethal attacks, either, as years ago not all news made it into a paper or any record that could possibly have been archived. After all that research, I clearly saw a pattern. Up until about 1930, when wolves were driven far into the wilderness & in some areas exterminated altogether, the accounts of lethal wolf attacks became far & few between. Obviously, government & private landowners decided enough was enough & did what needed to be done to keep children safe. It's simply not true that a healthy wolf in the lower 48 hasn’t killed anyone. Several of the accounts I read indicate that many children were killed by wolves that were robust & appeared to be in good health. Wolf biologists & environmentalists may scoff at the children's story about Red Riding Hood & the Big Bad Wolf, but those doing the scoffing are fabricating a fairy tale of their own. Wolves have attacked people of all ages. Wolves have killed people of all ages. & wolves will once again attack & kill people as the number of wolves in numerous states multiply & eat their way through their natural prey base. One account I came across in a November 1891 Janesville Gazette told of "large vicious gray wolves from Minnesota" killing & eating three children. Some men were taking a short cut through the woods & found the wolves fighting over the bodies. The gentlemen retreated & came back with a group of armed men, but the wolves didn’t leave the partially eaten bodies of the children until two were shot. The newspaper account indicated the children had wandered into the woods to play. No one knows the final terror these poor children felt as the savage beasts ripped the life out of them. So where did this myth come from that wolves pose no threat to humans? In the book titled "Wolves in Russia" written by Will Graves, on page 176, the tendency to diminish the threat was supported by the results of research work on wolf-human interactions in America by D. Mech, D. Pimloff & R. Peterson. Apparently the men unanimously decided that in North America wolves never show aggression toward humans & do not pose a threat at all. They reported only one wolf attack on a human & according to Pimloff the animal was probably rabid. Also, according to Dr. Valerious Geist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, the University of Calgary, there was an instance where it was thought that wolves had killed a Canadian trapper. The newspaper printed the story. When he turned up alive & well, the notion that wolves will kill humans was pooh-poohed & historical records of wolves killing people was dismissed as merely hearsay. Dr. Valerious Geist was merely explaining why the historical record was dismissed by the 3 scientist. However, after countless hours of reading through reams of newspaper accounts & with already over one hundred reports of people being eaten alive by wolves, it's pretty hard to dismiss all those accounts as merely hearsay. By 1930 wolves were pretty much eliminated across the lower 48 states, although in some areas they were still prevalent until as much as two decades later. In fact, over the years people have reported seeing wolves in the more isolated wilderness areas, so it's more than likely a myth, too, that bona-fide Timber Wolves were totally eradicated below the Canadian border. Wolves have never been in danger of extinction. Even though they were driven from woods near people's homes, there were still thousands of wolves in Canada & Alaska & there have always been wolf packs in Minnesota. What's kept them at bay? It was around the 1930s that aerial hunting started & wolves, no matter where they lived, were taught to fear man. Archived accounts of people being killed by wolves are not prevalent after the early 1930s. However, among others, I found an account of a 5-year old boy killed by wolves in Quebec in 1963. The boy's case read like 22-year old Kenton Carnegie's case. Kenton, readers may recall, was a college student who was stalked & partially eaten by a pack of wolves in November 2005 while he was engaged in a university work-study program in a remote area of Canada. Unfortunately, once wolves were "out of sight, out of mind" among Americans, they began to be deified by authors & moviemakers. In fact, "Never Cry Wolf", a book written by Canadian author Farley Mowat & first published in 1963, has been credited for dramatically changing the public's perception of wolves to a more positive one. Regardless of the fact that wolf biologist L. David Mech denounced the author as being "no scientist", which he truly wasn't, & found fault with the way wolves were depicted in the book, Hollywood made a movie out of it in 1983, further glorifying wolves as something they're not. With the advent of the 1972 Endangered Species Act, wolves were listed as an endangered species throughout much of the lower 48 states. In a sense, the Act was manipulated in that wolves most definitely are not in any danger of becoming extinct Government resource agencies knew this, but they knuckled into environmentalist’s demands anyway so as to accommodate various UN treaties regarding environmental issues. A drive has been underway since then to "educate" the masses, particularly school children, as to wolves to being a necessary part of "healthy ecosystems". What nonsense. If anything, wolves carry disease & engage in what's known as "sport killing", which leads to the decline of their prey species, most notably elk, deer, moose, beaver, rabbit, but also calves, cows, horses, dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, & whatever else is killable. The "sport killing" is a bit hard for people to deal with seeing as how wolves will sometimes kill just to kill & then move off without consuming their victims. They just leave them there bleeding to death & suffering in agony.
Something else that's getting hard for victims of the wolf reintroduction & recovery program to deal with is bureaucrats & so-called wolf "experts" who won't admit they're wrong or capable of making a mistake. To do so would mean their fountain of federal dollars would dry up for their research grants & program funding. No, they just perpetuate the myth. Worse, state governments are bribed into promoting the myth. It's just a matter of dangling the money carrot & demanding that any negative findings about wolves get swept under the rug or else the money will disappear just like magic. Of course, most states are grubbing for money, thanks to the federal government's poor policies, so the state "powers that be" become real shortsighted when it comes to distinguishing between dollar signs & truth. You can't get any truth out of university researchers either. When it comes to applying for a university research study grant, who do you think will be awarded any money? If you think it's someone who wants to research the negative value of wolves, think again. Even those few researchers who come up with their own research funding find it hard to get their study results published where the general public might see it. So, again, we have more perpetuation of the myth that wolves are absolutely wonderful & will do no harm, & Joe Public, especially the metropolitan area Joes, go to bed at night counting frolicking wolves, not sheep.
The problem is that Joe Public must understand that the critical danger point is rapidly approaching. Wolves wipe out prey species & they are. When they do, they turn to small towns, rural residences, farms, ranches, camps, & summer cottages. Starving wolves don't care what they eat. They're not fussy and, they most definitely will eat humans.
Wolf behavior science & myths are based on a small wolf population that was hunted. The wolves feared man & didn’t bother the scientist studying them. This has led to the false belief that people are safe around wolves. But, dear reader, you must remember this was based on hunted wolves, a low wolf population, & plentiful game.
Wolves live for about 10 years. It takes three generations or roughly 25-30 years, before wolves’ attitude toward humans change. We are at the critical point in history where wolves don't fear man in several states, prey species population are running low, & their next step will be taking over human areas, as they’re now doing in several states.
What do I base this claim on? I base it on the following out take from Antoine Blua’s 3-15-05 article titled "Central Asia: cohabitation of Wolves, Humans Proves Difficult”.

Antoine wrote: "On the arid steppes of western Uzbekistan, some 20 villagers have been reported injured by wolves in five months. Two of them - in the Muinak district - died in early February as a result of their wounds... At night, the wolves own the village. First, they ate all the dogs. Now they have begun to eat sheep, cows [and other animals]. In the past two months, they have eaten 150 of them. Wolves dig through mud walls, break into sheds, & attack [animals]," Qozibekov said."
The Federal Government has decided that American citizens no longer have the right to protect themselves against vicious, bloodthirsty, killer wolves. We have lost our way as a nation when wolves have more rights & protection than the children & adults they’re terrorizing.
There is only one thing to do; stand tall & protect the rights of the children to grow up free of the wolves killing their beloved pets & chasing the little ones into their houses. Stand up & say, “No more wolf protection at the expense of our nation's children”. Allow people the God given right to protect their property, their livestock, their pets, & the mental health of their children by killing the misbehaving wolves.
That's a simple solution & it doesn't necessarily mean wiping wolves out of the picture altogether. Wolf populations & game populations can be managed so we’ll have wolves forever. However, stealing people's rights & placing any man eating predators above American children is nothing less then reducing Americans to the medieval times of feudal peasants who had no rights.
Bruce Hemming is a film maker & a wilderness survival instructor.
His film Undue Burden the real cost of living with wolves is sweeping across the nation.

Priorities Then & Now
Edited by Erin Miller

A man who was young boy back in the 60's remembers visiting state parks, & how Park Rangers back then were “a great bunch of people” who took the time to answer questions & genuinely care about visitor’s experiences. They told of the best fishing spots, where to get firewood and if the season was right for finding wild berries. They had this attitude: “enjoy the land, you are an American Citizen, & so this land is yours.”
Logging back then was allowed & rangers would take the time to teach about the benefits of logging, how at first the land may look bare & torn up but that in a few years there would be new under brush which gave cover for small game & food for deer. It was Mother Nature’s master plan: use what I provide & be rewarded. The land was looked at with this in mind: how many deer, rabbits & grouse can this piece of land hold in balance- and so how many can be harvested each year while maintaining that balance- how much benefit is this to the local economy?
Then along came the Animal rights agenda & the green movement. By the early 70's these groups were everywhere and doing their best to ban hunting, trapping, commercial fishing, logging, etc. Even though these back-to-the-landers wanted to live this socialist pipe dream of living off the land in small communes, at best many of them lasted no more than 3-5 years before realizing one had to work for a living and families need health care, clothes, a home, & food on the table. The pipe dream is still with them today, yet although they know their system has failed & their own experience was disaster- they still believe in socialism and forcing others to live their beliefs.
What Americans have lost is Freedom and the understanding of it. Today when visiting state or national parks you run into some of the Park Ranger elitists who believe you are “invading.” No longer helpful so much as concerned about enforcing rules, policies, and laws. For instance, a program on
television told of a park ranger setting up to patrol a mushroom patch… armed with an assault rifle- stuff this crazy can’t be imagined up. He was “protecting” the mushrooms from illegal pickers. You see, no longer are you allowed to pick mushrooms without a special permit. He didn't catch anyone, but imagine a family on an outing, who happen upon such a patch of mushrooms in this National Park, when suddenly appears gung-ho Park Ranger with his assault rifle? We have lost our way as a nation when mushroom patches are being patrolled with armed Park Rangers.
On this same note, during a Clinton visit to the area in the spring of 1993, suggestions were made as to how to achieve sustained employment in the region while making sensible use of forest products. One of the forest products named was the mushroom. Roughly 750 commercial permits were issued in 1993 at the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeast Oregon. Finally, some have recommended that the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service and even the Commerce Department become involved in regulating commercial harvesting of wild mushrooms. Of course there are also “magic” mushrooms and the law. Then you have the Forest Service, the IRS, INS, and Commerce Department… more Government bureaucrats sticking their nose in where ever they can?
Educated Park Rangers of the 60's would have said there is a simple solution to the spotted owl debacle. Select harvest. Leave enough matures trees for the spotted owl to nest in and do a study proving that logging creates more ideal habitat for the owls.
In other words beneficial use of the area not only helps man but is better for the owl and other wildlife. But instead we have college educated greens now saying, “No, no… man can't log.” But what do they really mean? In there own words:
"We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects . . . We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of tens of millions of acres of presently settled land." -David Foreman, Earth First!
Interesting when you start reading what these far left wing extremists want. When you hear or read the term “keystone” one should automatically think the KEY to removing the Foundation STONE of civilization. That is what these people want- go backwards in time, destroying &d ripping out American Progress while turning lands “wild” again in the name of saving animals and the ecosystem. They have put plant and animal above man.
When you fall into this mindset you must remember: this is America not communist Russia. We must organize, put egos aside and understand one fact: when anyone’s rights or freedoms are being trampled in the name of endangered species or “keystone” predators, rural families’ freedoms are at stake and we rally on that word FREEDOM. When you help to protect other people’s freedoms, you are in turn protecting your own.

When a radical environmental group and a federal judge team up against ranchers, everyone’s rights are threatened
By Judy Boyle

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a unique concept in America called Equal Justice. Justice was blind with balanced scales to equally weigh facts and make unbiased decisions. Constitutional law and property rights were actually taught in America’s law schools, educating the attorneys who became federal judges. Back then, Americans believed in the Justice system and thought it a legitimate way to redress grievances. They considered it their right to an unbiased court and that Due Process was genuinely recognized, understood, and applied by all federal judges.
Today, in certain federal courtrooms, those original American Jurisprudence concepts no longer apply---especially in cases dealing with environmental laws. Some judges have become rulers over their specific kingdom, retaining jurisdiction for years in cases unlucky enough to be before them. Their rulings have become quite predictable, based on past actions. They are the judges sought by radical environmental groups in a process known as “Judge Shopping.” Filing an environmental case within a certain federal Judge’s district has shown, time and again, to increase the odds for a successful outcome. Becoming friends with the Judge’s clerk adds even more to the odds of that Judge using specific portions of your legal brief in his decision.
Finding a friendly Judge not only allows the “non-profit” environmental groups to win their arguments and advance their agenda, but showers their organizations with taxpayer dollars. Whenever environmentalists win against a federal agency, the federal treasury is forced to shell out hundreds of millions each year to these green organizations in “attorney fees.” When a private citizen loses a lawsuit, they must pay the preservationist group’s attorney fees. On the rare occasion that the “non-profit” organization loses, they are usually exempted from paying any attorney fees. No fairness involved here.
In Idaho, the livestock-hating Western Watersheds Project (WWP) has hit the jackpot repeatedly in Federal District Judge Lynn Winmill’s courtroom. Judge Winmill is WWP’s sugar daddy who very seldom rules against them, often incorporating pieces of WWP’s briefs to justify his decisions. WWP files so many cases with Judge Winmill that his court calendar stays quite full. Sometimes, he has to give a case to another federal judge and that is when the comparison of a green bias glares brightly. To show an attempt at a balanced decision, Judge Winmill once ruled against WWP. BLM wanted to control a dense stand of juniper to improve sage grouse habitat. WWP sued to prevent this common sense action. The entire case became a moot issue as Judge Winmill’s ruling to allow juniper control came after the area had already burned in a wildfire.
WWP’s Jon Marvel is the self-appointed “ruler” of federal lands where ranchers have grazed their livestock for generations---long before the existence of federal land management agencies, or even state governments. The partnership between the feds and Western ranchers was approved and encouraged by Congress through the Taylor Grazing Act, the Homestead Act, and numerous other laws. Marvel’s single-minded vision of a livestock-free western landscape supposedly comes from an argument with a ranching neighbor. Marvel shows no regard for property rights, rural custom and culture, generations of ranching, fairness, or existing vested rights and certainly has no concept of Cowboy Principles. He appears to be a bitter, angry individual who lashes out at anyone who “interferes” with his concept that he alone knows what is best for the West. Marvel seems to relish the role of harming families with mental anguish, destroying lifelong dreams of passing on the family ranch to the next generation, forcing individuals to lose their income and future. He simply enjoys making life as miserable as possible for hardworking, honest people whose very business depends on their positive stewardship in caring for and protecting the environment and the wildlife.
Assisting in this viciously cruel and reprehensible method of forcing families from their chosen way of life, is a federal judge who grew up on a dairy farm. Perhaps it was a philosophy developed at Harvard University where Judge Winmill received his law degree, or the mentoring from a liberal law professor after returning to Idaho, or influence from Idaho Governor Andrus upon appointment as a state court district judge, or his clerk’s friendship with a preservationist bragged about by a WWP staffer that has allowed this unholy alliance to be cemented.
During President Bill Clinton’s first term, the sole Democrat in the Idaho Congressional delegation, Larry LaRocco, was tasked to find a judicial candidate to fill the vacant federal judgeship in Idaho’s Federal District Court. After several names were rejected by the Republican members of the delegation because of the candidates’ known environmental leanings, LaRocco offered Lynn Winmill’s name. Winmill had no prior history with crucial environmental cases so, with reservations, the rest of the delegation agreed to support his nomination. Easily confirmed, Judge Winmill immediately showed his bias, deciding in the first important case before him to restrict grazing in Owyhee County. WWP had secured their chosen judge.
WWP began searching for a “test case” in Idaho to use the federal endangered species act (ESA) against private property in a backdoor attempt to remove grazing from federal lands. They decided to attack a rancher’s water right to cripple his ability to raise hay for his cattle. They reasoned the lack of sufficient feed would force the sale of the livestock. Therefore, those cattle would not be grazing the next summer on federal lands. WWP needed a victim with no political connections, few assets or funds, who had not dealt with ESA issues or attorneys, someone who could be used and abused to further WWP’s agenda of eliminating ranching. They settled on taking out the Verl Jones ranch located close to the Montana border, a few miles from Challis, Idaho.
Verl was born on the family homestead in 1916. His formal education was limited but his on-the-ground experience with the natural world surpassed any Ph.D. level. The two most important things in Verl’s life were his family and his ranch. In 2001, WWP sued Verl. He was 85 years old and had no idea what a Notice of Intent to Sue under ESA meant. In 1961, Verl hand-dug several miles of ditch around a rocky mountainside in order to use his state recognized water right from Otter Creek. This backbreaking work allowed him to develop additional hay fields, increase his cattle herd, and support his growing family of seven children. Wildlife also enjoyed the improved habitat during the late fall, winter, and early spring seasons.
WWP claimed Verl’s water diversion created harm to the endangered bull trout, although none existed in Otter Creek. While WWP did not present evidence that the use of Verl’s water right actually resulted in injury to the listed fish, Judge Winmill ordered Verl to stop irrigating his hay fields and to pay WWP’s attorney fees of over $36,000. Without water, the family lost 100 tons of hay production yearly and was forced to reduce their cattle herd, and created enormous stress as the family tried to deal with reduced income and huge legal fees from the court battles. The final blow for Verl came when Judge Winmill ordered him to give WWP a list of all assets which were to be sold to pay WWP’s attorney fees. It was simply too much and Verl died. The Jones’ case was brought to the attention of Pacific Legal Foundation and their Seattle attorney, the late Russell Brooks, agreed to take their case on appeal to the 9th circuit court. Mr. Brooks successfully convinced the panel of judges to overturn Judge Winmill. The 9th circuit judges ruled that actual evidence of a species being harmed must be presented, not just alleged, before a judge can legally order an injunction.
Judge Winmill’s decisions seldom reach the 9th circuit court. Usually, WWP sues a federal agency and the agency settles. The harm done to the grazing permittees is by reductions of time and numbers. Grazing was reduced in the Curlew National Grasslands of SE Idaho after WWP sued, with Judge Winmill agreeing, that livestock created a “threat” to sage grouse, a species not listed under ESA. In Southern Idaho, WWP again used sage grouse with Judge Winmill slashing grazing in an area with lush grass production. The area burned during the 1,000 square mile wildfire of 2007, effectively eliminating sage grouse and their habitat for many years. (See RANGE Fall 2007 “All Creatures Lost—Large and Small.”)
A little farther to the west in Owhyee County, Judge Winmill decided to blame cattle for eating the forage to less than six inches along the creeks of rugged South Mountain, despite the fact that large herds of deer and elk roam there. He ordered immediate reduction of the BLM grazing allotments of Tim Lowry and Mike Stafford from their accustomed four months to just six weeks. The Judge told the ranchers they could easily buy hay to feed their cattle during the summer and fall months.
Using wolves to damage ranchers grazing in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), Judge Winmill ordered US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to stop harming, harassing, or killing the predators when they attacked livestock. Wolves were reintroduced in Idaho in 1995 as an “experimental, non-essential” population. Under the special ESA rule, ranchers are given the right to kill wolves attacking livestock. USFWS has authority to remove livestock-killing wolves. Although grazing was recognized as an authorized and legitimate use in the Congressional act creating the SNRA, Judge Winmill reasoned that wolves are more valuable and must be protected over livestock, regardless of administrative rules or federal laws.
November 2007, Judge Winmill again agreed with WWP and denied sheep rancher, Mick Carlson of Riggins, Idaho, the use of his US Forest Service winter grazing allotment. This time the issue is non-listed bighorn sheep. Judge Winmill admitted that there is no documented scientific proof that domestic sheep pass disease to the wild sheep but he still sided with WWP to cripple another long-time rancher. The future of domestic sheep grazing on federal land is now in serious jeopardy if there are any bighorns within miles.
Today, the fate of Western users of federal lands twists in the wind with Judge Winmill’s December 2007 decision ordering USFWS to re-consider listing sage grouse. Once again, Judge Winmill appears to have cut and pasted WWP’s briefs into his ruling. Over the years, USFWS have denied WWP’s many listing petitions by repeatedly finding the species do not warrant listing. Not only ranchers but recreationists, miners, energy companies, future transmission lines and transmitter sites will face serious restrictions with a listing. Private property owners will be prey to individual lawsuits, such as the one faced by Verl Jones, if a sage grouse is harmed or killed on their lands. Instead of welcoming and sheltering the bird, landowners will live in fear of having them on their property.
These are only a handful of the cases in which WWP and Judge Winmill have teamed up to harm the real caretakers of the land---Western ranchers. No attorney, who may someday have a client before Judge Winmill, dared to be quoted for this article. No rancher could afford such a risk either. Federal Judges are appointed for life but the Founding Fathers never envisioned biased federal judges making law. The Founders carefully crafted provisions to separate executive, legislative, and judicial powers, expecting each branch to respect the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Judicial Branch too often stretches their power to become as overbearing as King George. Congress does have oversight on federal judges but rarely acts. When Constitutional restraints are ignored, all rights are endangered. Will Congress continue to fiddle as the rule of law and the Constitution is eroded by imperial federal judges?
Judy Boyle is a freelance writer with 20 years experience in the Idaho Legislature. She is a rancher from west-central Idaho running for District 9 Idaho House Seat. www.JudyBoyle.org

The "Endangered Species Act"
By Julie Kay Smithson

Ah….. people. Some learn faster than others. Like the song, some "don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" -- but they've been tricked into thinking what's gone is a species of fish or predator and not their own property rights.
LD does not always stand for "learning disability," although that meaning, in conjunction with "language deception," does fit and is being used to make property rights, i.e., freedom, go extinct in America.
Some knew, when the de facto real estate agent, better known as the "endangered" spotted owl, was used to shut down Pacific Northwest timber and logging -- that it was the harbinger of things to come.
They and a few more, realized that the "endangered" "Preble's Meadow jumping mouse" would be used to stop ranching.
They and others "got it," that the "endangered" "Canadian" gray wolf would be used to stop hunting in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and beyond.
They and others figured right, that when "Along came the "endangered" whatever, another resource providing industry and its property rights would be shut down and stolen.
How much commercial fishing is being shut down off the coast of China or Scandinavia, the straits of Gibraltar or the Mediterranean? None. How much ranching is being shut down in Argentina and Brazil? None.
How much logging is being shut down in other countries (where no one but government owns the resource and labor is cheap)? None.
Why then is America's resource providing being shut down? Please, thoughtful reader, ask yourself why!
How many folks think it's a good thing for flora, fauna and "mother earth" to all be controlled by federal government and its partners? I don't see many hands being raised, but there are several more hands up than there were ten years ago. There's hope, but success hinges on learning what is being done under the guise of clever professional language deception. Learn and learn how to protect your property rights and stop the bleeding of America's property rights under such false issues! We are the world's greatest, most caring and careful stewards of resources, yet we are being shut down -- even access to federal areas that our taxpayer dollars bought are being phased out incrementally, one "wilderness area," "watershed," or "eco-region" after another, and almost without a whimper of protest -- although more of us are learning that it's not really about "saving" anything, but rather about "restoring" control of everything to the rulers.
Julie Kay Smithson is a property rights researcher in rural Ohio's Amish and Mennonite farm country, where U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service once tried to remove her and her neighbors, using its "discovery" that this prime farmland was ostensibly "possible habitat" for the "endangered" Indiana bat. Please visit her extensive property rights research website today.

UN Biospheres vs. Property Rights
By C. J. Williams

In order to understand why we, the American People, are losing our private property rights, as well as our ability to access public lands, it’s necessary to wrap one’s mind around the concept of United Nations’ Biospheres.
In 1968, just prior to President Nixon’s election, there was a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) “Biosphere Conference” in Paris and the Biosphere Reserve concept, which is extremely conducive to “sustainable development”, was laid out. Two years later the U.N.’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program surfaced to set the Biosphere Reserve scheme in motion.
The U.S. joined the MAB Program in 1974 when the Department of State, headed by Henry Kissinger, signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” (not a treaty) and pledged that the U.S. would adhere to Biosphere conditions and limitations laid down by UNESCO.
At a subsequent 1986 International Biosphere Conference, UNESCO was given liberty to establish a program to manage the world’s natural resources on a “biosphere” basis. That UNESCO program became known as MAB.
As a result of another International Biosphere Conference in 1995, “The Seville Strategy” was initiated to integrate The Wildlands Project into UNESCO’s MAB program, linking it to the 1992 Earth Summit’s Agenda 21 and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
The U.S. Congress hasn’t ratified the U.N.’s Convention on Biological Diversity since being presented with it in 1994, but, nevertheless, the Clinton administration, of which global warming alarmist Al Gore was a member, developed its ecosystem management polices to comply with the unratified treaty, and government resource management agencies have been “voluntarily” complying with those policies ever since.
The Wildlands Project (TWP) was envisioned by radical eco-terrorist David Foreman who, along with Reed Noss, co-founded an organization by the same name. TWP’s scheme entails returning (restoring) a minimum of 50% of America’s land mass to pre-Columbus wilderness condition, as Foreman and his collaborators envision it to have been prior to settlement by European immigrants.
In order to do this, the non-governmental rewilding organizations and compliant government resource management agencies are adhering to TWP’s mission to use buffered migration corridors to link bioreserves, which, in turn, serve as buffers for core U.N. Biospheres.
These Biospheres are listed only at the request of the country in which they’re located and they can be removed from the biosphere reserve list at any time by a request from that country. To date, forty-seven U.N. Biospheres have been established in the United States, although others may have been recently nominated without the general public’s knowledge.
A U.N. Biosphere is a designated core area, usually federal public land managed by a government agency, generally the National Park Service. Biospheres can encompass a National Park, National Forest, Heritage Site, Historical Park, Scenic Highway, Wilderness Area, Designated Wetland, Wildlife Preserve, or a combination of these and/or several other things. The trend now is also to include state land and local municipality land as part of a Biosphere Reserve to buffer the “core” area.
Through the acquisition of more and more public federal, state and municipal land and subsequent control of how it’s used, Biosphere perimeters expand; they’re never stagnant. Biospheres can overlap into great swaths of controlled land, thousands of miles in all directions. The object is to gain international jurisdiction over the Earth’s entire surface and subsequently to get control of resources, such as air, water, land, minerals, and all forms of life, including human beings.
Biospheres act like “living laboratories” for the “scientific” testing of targeted bio-geographical ecosystems, guaranteeing the conservation of biodiversity through research, monitoring, and “training” activities, or so it’s claimed. In truth, the conglomeration of international MAB land-grabbing thieves’ end goal is to hold the Earth’s entire land and air surface hostage while, one way or another, people are manipulated into cooperating with the schemers and coerced into giving up their inherent freedoms and constitutional rights.
To control bioreserve integrity, land use must be severely restricted or halted altogether in some areas because the scheming rewilders claim human activity is the greatest stress factor that destroys the essential wholeness of various eco-systems within the UN Biospheres and protective bioreserves. The denial that humans will not be adversely affected by activity abatement, as more land control is exerted, will ultimately prove to be a lie should this be allowed to continue.
UNESCO’s MAB Program is a world network of Biospheres that now number 531 in 105 countries. They’re controlled through partnering international governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) that collaborate to keep the manipulative scheme rolling at the national, state, or local level. Some cooperating NGOs are the Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), which consists of affiliated conservation clubs, one per state. In Michigan, NWF’s affiliate is the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, comprised of more good old boy, dues-paying sportsmen’s clubs than conservation clubs.
The World Bank supports the grandiose MAB scheme, as does the UN Environment Program, the UN Development Program, the UN Food and Agriculture Org., the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Conservation International, and the World Conservation Union, also known as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), among other entities.
The U.S. government agencies and NGO partnering organizations that make up the IUCN’s USA membership list is extensive. Several can be identified as threads of a tangled web that generally involves the Nature Conservancy (TNC), which partners with government agencies though Memorandums of Understanding and is often referred to by property rights activists as the UN’s real estate agent.

Where Have All The Elk Gone? Long Time Passing
By Tom Remington

How many elk are there in the Northern Rockies area in and around Yellowstone National Park where wolves now control the landscape? How many were freely roaming the forests and the plains in their peak? How many are there now?
I’m not so naive that I don’t understand at least to some degree about counting wildlife. There are two things I know for sure; wild game are difficult to count and is mostly done based on gathering data rather than counting one by one, and when asked, fish and game officials are supposed to give out “official” numbers - I would suppose those put together from the last round of calculations even if their anecdotal evidence reveals something different.
What is oftentimes overlooked or just not brought up in discussions involving game populations is a break down of numbers. An example of this might be if officials state there are 100,000 elk in Idaho (this is a random figure). They may also claim that compared to previous years’ the population of elk is holding steady, etc. What would happen though if it was broken down by wildlife management areas? Would we see something different? Would we see a pattern that would show that in areas of large concentrations of predators, those numbers are substantially reduced and where there are fewer predators, elk and deer numbers continue to grow?
Of late, I am hearing from several people that the elk and deer in Idaho have or are disappearing faster than officials can count them. Is this true? Who does the counting? When is the counting done? If the elk are disappearing and vanishing that quickly, then we have to ask why?
I have stated in the past that I have a healthy respect for wildlife biologists and most fish and game departments. That respect dwindles in a hurry once these individuals and organizations become corrupt, mostly due to politics and hidden agendas. With that said, I also have a larger respect for the person that is in the field every day - the one who witnesses on a regular basis changes to the landscape, can compare those changes to evidence from years gone by, etc. These are the hunters, the trappers, the fishermen, the guides, the outfitters, the ones on the front lines nearly everyday. Any intelligently run fish and game department would be relying on these people’s eyes and ears for important information as to what is going on out there.
So, where have all the elk gone? Are they someplace where nobody can find them or do they just not exist anymore? Is the official elk count in Idaho only “official” because they haven’t official data that can render a change is official status? Are those claiming the elk are gone exaggerating their stories to embellish the truth? Are the wolves to blame? Are the bears to blame? Is it drought conditions or deep snow pack and extreme weather conditions? Is it a combination of all these factors or none of these? Some are claiming it is time to place the mule deer and elk on the threatened or endangered list because it is near extinction in some areas.
The other day I posted a brief comment from Robert Fanning of the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd. In Pray, Montana, which is just outside the northern fringes of Yellowstonewhere Fanning lives, the elk that usually winter there just aren’t there, according to Mr. Fanning. He writes, “There used to see page 10…
…continued from page 9 be 19,700 elk in the Mt FWP (Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks) winter range next to my home, now we are down to 400. No bulls. No calves.”
That’s a whole lot of meat on hooves that have gone somewhere!
I also received a copy of a letter that was written by an outfitter in Idaho, Shane McAfee. You can find a complete copy of his letter at the Western Institute for the Study of the Environment’s website.
McAfee says his business is suffering badly because there are no elk and deer left for his clients so they no long want to come to Idaho to hunt.
In 1996 our Unit 28 opening week saw ten hunters harvest nine bull elk (1-7×7, 6-6×6’s and 2- 5×5’s). All mature bulls, all happy hunters! Eleven years later, after the wolves multiplied here, this season (2007) we harvested only one spike bull and four deer out of twenty total hunters. On my first three hunts last year I went 15 days horseback guiding and never saw an elk! Almost all of the hunters never wanted to see Idaho again; and yes, they were very upset!
McAfee blames it on the wolves that are exploding in population and are being allowed to grow unchecked.
After I posted the short article mentioned above about Bob Fanning’s claims that nearly 20,000 elk have been reduced to 400, readers began leaving comments. I got a comment from Greg Farber who lives in Idaho. Here is part of what Greg said.
“I also have this information myself in my Master wolf file I’ve been building. Not only that the Largest Elk herd of the North West from the Selway is GONE guys. 26,000 elk in 1996 and four head have been seen at the Winter Ranges along the Clear Water in Idaho. As well the Middle Fork of the Boise River used to have 10,000+ elk wintering along this River from Atlanta to Lucky Peak, I’ve driven this road three times this winter and I have glassed 160 head. The South Fork of the Boise River should have 8,000 head along that drainage and I’ve seen 57 elk in there. The Payette River between Grandjean and Lowman Idaho where I grew up and still spend time at should have 4500 head of elk in those wintering spots, I located 54 cows, no bulls, no calves. I found 300 elk in the King Hill Area South of Bennett Mountain, there should be 5000 head there.”
I emailed Greg because I found this information staggering. I wanted to communicate with him outside of a public forum so that I could ask him if he thought there were explanations to the disappearance of all these elk other than wolves, bears and mountain lions.
“Tom-I don’t honestly know where the elk are, all I can tell you is for 35 years I have gone to these places with my uncle and myself to watch the elk and to gather horns which were shed at those sites. I have not located any elk sheds, I used to fill the truck bed with elk-deer sheds. Now I just try to find elk. I live in unit 48, which was a fantastic trophy bull unit, And I used to watch those monster bulls in winter here, they are not here. I would not take this tag for free, there is nothing to hunt. The voice of the people such as myself is not heard or listened too. IFG, and FWS, are covering up this ….I dont know what too call it…a crime I guess. I’m a packer Tom, with horses and mules, I will be out there in the saddle as soon as the snow is off for three months, Im not going to work, Im going to stay on the ground and do what I can for truth. The question in my mind is there is no place else these elk can be, there is no other alternative winter range in these places, if they are not there at the ranges, their under the snow and predation has gotten them as well. In all my years we were told too not chase or bother elk in winter due to heavy snows killing them, especially exhausting them by making them run in it, yet the wolf can do it? The bottom line here is elk in deep snow and hungry wolves is a recipe for disaster, this is what we have in Idaho. I guess if these public servants continue too lie, then perhaps we need to physically remove them and replace them with people whom have integrity and want too be fair. I just do not know what we can do too right this thing. The authority’s are being controlled by the wrong people, and it is not us. I tell everyone too stop buying tags, there is no sense in taking a gun out there and killing a cow elk, if you can find it. I thought since 1999 my skills as a hunter were fading, Ive taken 23 elk in the same darn place consistently, my last one was 1999. Same thing on mule deer, I hunted those big boys in the back country and have four 30”+toads on the wall and these guys are 200 classs bucks. I can not find any in the usual winter spots to gather their sheds and comfort myself basically that those big bucks are ok. There not ok. I wish I could describe too you the feeling I have inside me when I see what I see, and know in my heart what has happened and yet the agencies come out and lie to us about herd counts. Maybe the feeling right now is helplessness.”
Tom Remington is a published author who co-owns all of his Internet businesses with his son Steve. He is the managing editor for U.S. Hunting Today and is the author of several blogs, including the Black Bear Blog, the Daily Bag Limit, Blogging the Maine Outdoors and the Black Fly Blog. Tom is vice president of Skinny Moose Media, the umbrella company of all Internet websites and businesses co-owned by he and his son. Skinny Moose Media provides audio, video and text media for readers in addition to an outdoor sports and recreation blog network.

The Public Grazing Conundrum
By Daryl Hunter

The face of the west is changing, what was once a frontier populated with hard scrabble farmers, loggers, miners, cowboys and ranchers has been infiltrated and is getting gentrified by interlopers from the cities that have a new plan for their adopted home, part of this plan is to end the grazing of our public multipurpose lands.
Cattle grazing on our public lands has not always been an issue. Until recently cattle grazing was a natural part of the culture of the West. Cowboys, Indians, tumbleweeds and cows were the first thing to come to mind when thinking of the west. For the last couple of decades this perception has been muddied, a battle has been raging between cattle ranchers and environmentalists. The battle is rife with mistrust and misunderstanding by all.
Jon MarvelÕs Western Watersheds Project (WWP) is the driving force to form the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign (NPLGC). The NPLGC is pushing Congress to authorize the voluntary buy-out and permanent retirement of federal grazing permits. The WWP and the NPLGC believe a payment of $175 per animal unit month (AUM); will reduce the contentious and adversarial conflicts concerning grazing interests and environmentalists on federal land.
The buy-outs are voluntary, but the buy-out amount being almost triple the average value per AUM of federal grazing permits in today's market provides a powerful bribe for ranchers to succumb to the temptation. A rancher with 300 cows that graze on public lands for five months of the year, will net the rancher a $262,500 settlement. Some say that this expenditure is sound because WWPÕs asserts $500 million annually is spent to administer public grazing will have a payback period of about six years after retirement of all grazing permits. The land area involved in 11 western states is about 270 million acres.
The General Accounting Office of the US government report concludes that federal agencies spent at least $144.3 million in direct and indirect expenditures to support grazing activities on federal lands in fiscal year 2004. A far cry from the WWP and NPLGCÕs asserted figure. According the GAO grazing fees generated about $21 million in fiscal year 2004 less than one-sixth of the expenditures to manage grazing.
The WWP and NPLGC theorize permanent elimination of federal administrative costs of public grazing land will produce savings after the initial six-year payback. While the financial benefits of such a program are easily asserted, the environmental value of the plan seems to them even greater. By ending the negative impacts of livestock grazing will result in a rapid recovery of degraded riparian areas and all wildlife species dependent on them.
The WWP and NPLGC plan will change the face of public lands in the West. It will also greatly change the face of the private lands as well. Where there is great change there is also great opportunities for the law of unforeseen consequences
One unforeseen opportunity/ consequences that will result is millions of acres of previously useful hay production land of our western valleys that produced hay for the cattle that were grazed in the nearby public lands will have to find another use. These farms and ranches freshly freed from the bovine production industry will naturally evolve into something else, it isnÕt to hard to guess that the highest and most profitable use of land is to subdivide it for profit creating millions of buying possibilities for AmericaÕs new insatiable appetite for rural living, and technologyÕs facilitation for them to be able to do so. Public land ranching maintains open space. 107 million acres of private ranchland are tied into public land grazing. Without access to public land forage, these ranches would be forced to sell out.
According to Rangelands Journal, 11,300 acres of farm and ranchland are lost to development each day. The greatest threat to biodiversity of plants and wildlife is fragmentation of habitat and public land ranching protects millions of acres of open habitat for rangeland species.
The influx of millions of gentleman farmers/ranchers will decimate wildlife much more than the evil cattleman did, every farmette will have a dog to see to it that no pesky grouse or other varmint is trespassing on the property. What the dog misses will be picked off by a 14 year-old with a 22. The exponential population growth will be matched with equal increased visitation to all the beautiful public places. And the NPLGC and the WWP thought that a cow was destructive force of nature.
Daryl Hunter wrote this article in June of 2006. Daryl has a blog and Publishes the Upper Valley Free Press, a recreation and news resource for the Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Jackson Hole region. Citizens For A Freer America is a place he floats ideas, and his graphic design and photography can be seen at The Hole Picture.

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have." - Attributed to Barry Goldwater.

A BIG thank you to VFRAW's April Newsletter writers for submitting and/or allowing recopies of their fabulous articles. Please take a moment and visit each link within this newsletter, as you stand to benefit as I have greatly from their work.

I need writers for May's VFRAW newsletter, so send me the story of your family's ranch, an experience of yours in the great outdoors or somewhere in rural America. Be sure to send me your photos as well and introduce us to Grandpa the grumpy old ranch-hand with down-to-earth common sense... Join me on this exciting ride to save our environment, rural America!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sportsmen Should Beware the Clean Water Restoration Act

April 15, 2008 From David Almasi (202) 543-4110

Sportsmen Should Beware the Clean Water Restoration Act

Conservationists, Boaters, Fishermen, Hunters, Users of All-Terrain Vehicles and Others Could See Activities Restricted by Oberstar/Feingold Measure

Washington, D.C. - The Oberstar/Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act, scheduled for a hearing in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Wednesday, would do more to threaten the cherished pastimes of hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts than it would to ensure the cleanliness of our nation's water, charges the National Center for Public Policy Research in a new study.

"The study shows that under the Clean Water Restoration Act, a wide array of outdoor activities, including habitat creation and conservation, could be heavily regulated or restricted," said David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, which released the study. "Hunters could be required to obtain costly permits under CWRA, and could be cited as 'polluters' for firing shot. Boaters would likely find the construction and repair of fishing piers and boat docks receiving enhanced scrutiny from the federal government. Fishermen risk losing access to some of their favorite rivers and streams. Other outdoor sportsmen could find their activities constrained."

The study, "Sportsmen: Beware the Clean Water Restoration Act," follows release April 9 of a coalition letter warning the legislation would increase confusion over what waters are regulated by the federal government. The letter was signed by representatives of 19 state farm bureaus, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Public Lands Council, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the Family Farm Alliance, the Family Water Alliance, the National Water Resources Association, the Blue Ribbon Coalition, the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy, the California Land Institute, and very many taxpayer advocacy, policy groups and think-tanks.

Another letter, signed by 100 representatives of other organizations, was sent to Congress in October warning the legislation would reduce property values in an already depressed real estate market. It also expressed concern that the bill transfers legislative authority to the judiciary, which the letter termed "counter to the principle of accountable government."

Read the study
View the April letter and list of signers
View the October letter

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation based in Washington, D.C, now in its 26th year.

When are the American Sportsman going to wake up?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Huge Dakota Oil Pool Could Change Energy Climate Debate

Bakken Formation in the Great Plains, Al Gore’s anti-fossil ad campaign
By Dennis Avery

"Al Gore is launching a $300 million ad campaign to support the banning of fossil fuels. But our faith in man-made global warming will now be tested by news that up to 400 billion barrels of light, sweet crude oil for America’s future can be pumped from under Manitoba and North Dakota. That’s more oil than Saudi Arabia and Russia put together.

This high-quality oil isn’t controlled by Moslem zealots, or hidden under a federal wildlife refuge. Moreover, it can now be cost-effectively retrieved with computer-directed horizontal oil wells, probably at $20 to $40 per barrel.

The U.S. is blocking new coal-fired power plants. With no coal to burn, natural gas is becoming impossibly expensive. Biofuels are proving worse for the environment than gasoline. Nuclear is “dangerous.” Erratic and expensive windmills have seemed the best the West could do.

But the Bakken Formation in the Great Plains holds a monster oil deposit. Estimates of its potential range as high as the U.S. Geological Survey’s figure of more than 400 billion barrels. The Saudis have 260 billion barrels of proven reserves, the Russians just 60 billion.

Until recently, Bakken was thought too expensive to drill. But oil is now at $100 per barrel. Even more important, new computer-controlled drills can go sideways for hundreds of feet to suck the petroleum out of oil-bearing shale strata, instead of just punching short vertical holes through shallow rock layers.

At the higher end of its potential, Bakken could change the political economics of the world. One hundred billion barrels would be worth $9 trillion at today’s prices. Will America turn its back? Will we give up our autos, airplanes and air conditioners if the oil to power them is affordable and “home-grown”?


-The net global warming since 1940 is a miniscule 0.2 degree C, even after 70 years of unprecedented human CO2 emissions.
-Meanwhile the forcing power of additional CO2 has declined by perhaps three-fourths. -There can’t be much left.
-Seven years ago, NASA discovered a huge cloud-controlled “heat vent” in the sky over the Pacific. It emitted enough heat during 1980-2000 to have dealt with a doubling of greenhouse gases.
-The earth has not warmed since 1998, despite a continuing rise in atmospheric CO2.
-NASA now admits the oceans “stopped warming” about 4-5 years ago. The end of the warming trend was documented by 3,000 high-tech Argo ocean-diving buoys.
-The planet actually cooled in 2007, attested by three major temperature monitoring sites. The decline was apparently predicted by a downturn in sunspots that began in 2000.

The earth’s recent warming seems to be part of the moderate natural 1,500-year climate cycle controlled by the sun—which was discovered in the Greenland ice cores in 1983. The three discoverers of the cycle won the Tyler Prize, the “environmental Nobel,” in 1996.

Short-term, there’s a strong 80 percent correlation with both the sunspots and the cycle in Pacific sea temperatures. Both now seem to be predicting a moderate 22.5-year decline in global temperatures. We had a similar decline from 1940 to 1975—also while CO2 levels were rising. Such “double sunspot cycles” factor heavily in our records of rainfall, droughts and monsoons, as well as in temperatures.

Bottom line: We now find massive man-made warming only in unverified computer models that have consistently predicted far more warming than we’ve gotten. With a downturn in temperatures—and lots of homegrown oil—Al Gore’s anti-fossil ad campaign may not be fully persuasive".

$300 million ad campaign to brainwash people into accepting this new Global tax. Read Al Gore's solution -None- just another tax on the people... as if gas prices are not high enough.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lawmakers May End Premises Registration

Think your call doesn't matter?

Make sure you tell everyone it is not a Premises you own, it's private property.

Across the state there have been groups and individuals calling their legislators and explaining why the 3 part National Animal Identification System is an invasion of their personal property and will not accomplish what USDA says is the intended purpose.
In Illinois, there was bi-partisan effort by legislators who understood the underlying concern with this program and they sponsored legislation on behalf of the people. Legislation to stop Part 1, which is the Premise ID numbering requirement passed in the House of Representatives unanimously.
An RFID tag and premise ID would NOT prevent disease. The small producer would NOT be the culprit because his animals are already traceable. But it would be the small producers who are put out of business. Extensive paperwork is already required to enter livestock at fairs and shows... the cost and mandates to implement NAIS is useless because it would only accomplish tracking animals already easily found. Large producers already keep extensive records on their herds.
NAIS would not help in the threat of terrorist infiltration to the food chain. Terrorists would target the large suppliers. The ones who benefit from NAIS will be big pharma, keepers of the data, and the supppliers of the chips and tags...and central control of your property. There have been reports of these implants causing cancer in the animal. It is NOT about food safety or herd protection.
Thanks to Attorney Judith McGeary from the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance for all her help and legal expertise in wording legislation to relieve the 4-H and FFA exhibitors from the Premise ID mandate.
Continue making calls to move this bill through the Senate. The latest report was that HB5776 needs to be moved out of Rules Committee....where a lot of Illinois bills are currently stuck.

Rules eased for fair exhibitors’ ID

Lawmakers may end premises registration

By Adriana colindres

Responding to the outcry over a new state rule about who may exhibit livestock and horses at Illinois fairs, legislators are considering lifting the mandate. In the meantime, the state Department of Agriculture has decided to ease the rule for now, making it voluntary. Advertisement

Late last year, the department announced that anyone wanting to show livestock or horses at state, county, 4-H or FFA fairs would have to provide a “premises identification number” specifying where the animal is usually kept.
Agency officials said the requirement would help them react more quickly to animal-disease outbreaks and pinpoint the locations of horses or livestock that might have come into contact with sick animals.

Obtaining a premises ID number requires filling out a questionnaire that asks for a facility’s name, address, phone number and the types of livestock raised. It doesn’t ask about acreage or herd or flock size.

Opponents say the rule is an unnecessary invasion of privacy.

“They (federal and state agriculture officials) already know where we are. They have our addresses,” Sam Zumwalt, a farmer in Hancock County, said Friday. “It’s total repetition and waste of money.”

Rep. Richard Myers, R-Colchester, and Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, are the main sponsors of House Bill 5776, which sailed through the House on a 108-0 vote earlier this month.

The measure, which still needs approval from the Senate and the governor, would prohibit the state from requiring premises registration unless the federal government makes it mandatory. The legislation also would permit people who have signed up for premises IDs to remove their names from the database.

Myers and Sullivan said they’ve heard from many constituents who are upset about “premises registration.”

“They felt the FFA and 4-H kids were being unfairly singled out because if the parents didn’t want to register the property, it would be the kids who suffer,” Myers said.

Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Paris Ervin said Friday the agency has decided the new rule will be voluntary for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Department officials also working with industry groups about premises registration “to come up with a plan that everyone is happy with,” Ervin said.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Southern Idaho Off-Highway Restrictions- Again

The Times News in Twin Falls Idaho has an editorial today entitled "Changing the rules for ATVs in South Hills demands open dialogue" on the Forrest Service's new travel plan. It seems the Forrest Service neglected to follow federal guidelines when making the changes, and off-highway vehicle users (ATV/Motocross/Etc) are on it. The "South Hills" area has long been a popular recreational area in southern Idaho. According to federal guidelines put into place in 2005, off-highway vehicles in this area and the entire Sawtooth National Forrest are restricted to designated roads and trails.

A big kicker is that trails created by vehicles over decades (existing, established pathways) weren't included in the plan. The changes to the previous rules snuck in on a number of off-roaders. And these aren't likely to be the only folks affected by this:

"...There's a widespread feeling among trail users that the Forest Service didn't go out of its way to involve them, or alert them that drastic restrictions were in the offing.

There's no question that the Forest Service faces major challenges in protecting the lands it administers. In the Magic Valley, ATV registrations climbed 71 percent between 2001 and 2005, to 11,953, according the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The back country boom is taking a toll on wildlife and habitat, forest officials say.

Sediment loads in Rock Creek, which runs through the South Hills, are increasing and threatening fish, partly because off-highway vehicles are speeding erosion. Hunters complain that noise and commotion from off-highway vehicles scare away game.

But motorized user groups say they're being pigeonholed, and that crowding more riders onto fewer trails will stir up more dust, escalate conflicts with campers and make roads less safe.

It's also likely to increase ATV use of less-restricted, fragile desert habitats controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.

Horse riders, hunters and ranchers may also be in for a rude awakening because some closed routes may limit their access...

...There's a perception, dating back from the agency's badly received efforts to collect fees from visitors to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, of a campaign to drive ordinary Idahoans off Forest Service lands. That sentiment has only been reinforced by the new travel plan."

From my point of view as someone who spends time in this area in the summer fall and spring, there are many many deer and a successfully growing introduced elk herd as well as many other species. The problem with wildlife in the South Hills as I see it is this: The deer herds are nearly all female (does) with very few bucks in comparison to other Idaho areas we recreate in. There are many many buck tags issued and this has been unchanged for a while- yet ATVs are the reason for wildlife issues in the south hills???? Granted, certain uses can have detrimental affects on land and animal- Yet I don't see personally that his is the issue in this particular case. In America, we're granted certain rights and freedoms, and those weren't originally intended to be whittled down or taken away as I see it.

Spending a few days in part of the area a few weeks ago- it seems deer tend to trot off a few steps then stop and stare at ATVs and vehicles, yet don't blast across the hills away from the noise stressing themselves.

Read the entire article...