Western counties battling feds with use of ‘coordination’

RBC I Suzy Foss became a Ravalli County, Mont., commissioner during the 2010 Tea Party wave. Sixty-five years of age with a Sarah Palin vibe—stylish glasses, brown hair and bangs—Foss raises Arabian horses and border collies on a ranch abutting the Bitterroot National Forest, which takes up three-quarters of the county.

Federal land transfers get a boost from government

RBC I Over the last few years, a movement in Western states to “take back” federal lands has been gaining funding and followers. As we reported in October, eight states have considered the idea of late, but none so seriously as Utah. In 2012, Utah passed a law demanding 20 million acres of federal land, […]

Pros and cons: Should Bureau of Reclamation be abolished?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Former Reclamation Commissioner Daniel Beard tells how defunct water policy and the bureau itself contribute to drought. RBC I In March, Clinton-era Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Daniel Beard published a book calling for the abolishment of his own former agency. “Deadbeat Dams: Why we should abolish the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and tear […]

Guest Opinion: Pine beetles not a major cause of tree deaths, fires

RBC I Years ago, some good friends of mine bought a house outside of Fort Collins, Colo. An army of dry, red-needled trees—casualties of a massive mountain pine beetle infestation—surrounded their property. To me, the landscape looked ripe for a wildfire.

Guest Editorial: USFS sticks up for coal mining roadless lands

RBC I The U.S. Forest Service has announced it will try to reinstate the exemption to Colorado’s roadless rule that allows coal mines to build roads in protected areas of Western Colorado. The exemption was struck down last summer by a federal court because the government failed to assess the impact of that future coal […]

Wolf recovery signs in Yellowstone are mixed

RBC I Some come for the geysers and grizzlies, but I’ve traveled hundreds of miles to Yellowstone National Park simply to stand in the drainage of Elk Creek, stooped over a stunted willow bush. Tan branches, tinged with red, just reach my thighs, and narrow pale-green leaves blend into the wheat-like stalks of timothy grass […]

Coach Bill Turner: Mentor, friend and maker of men

MEEKER I People are brought into our lives all the time and it seems that after they die is when you find the true meaning of why. On Sunday, Feb. 22 I was on my way downtown when I received word that my wrestling Coach Bill Turner had passed away.

Guest Opinion: BLM wants more money; Congress deaf to requests

RBC I The director of the Bureau of Land Management sat across a big oval table from members of the U.S. House of Representatives last week and made his case for more money. The agency needs increased funding, he said, to manage challenges as diverse as a drilling boom and an overabundance of wild horses […]

One Person’s Opinion: Sportsmen’s bill may open public lands

RBC I U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, was hunting Barbary sheep in the southeastern part of his state a few weeks ago, and had a stark reminder of a problem he’s trying to fix with a bipartisan sportsmen’s bill.

GUEST OPINION: Federal lands should revert to the states

RBC I For more than a century the western United States has engaged in a debate over federal control of Western lands. This debate, which started early in the 1880s, gained popularity during the 1970s and ‘80s, when President Ronald Reagan declared himself a member of the Sagebrush Rebellion, a group that sought transfer of […]

One Person’s Opinion: Should we protect our federal lands for, or from, humans?

RBC I You may have heard that conservation biologists are arguing with each other. Some say nature should be protected “for” humans; others say it should be protected “from humans;” others say it’s possible to do both.

Guest Opinion: Utah’s federal lands not about to change over to the state

RBC I Plenty of ink has been spilled lately over Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act, the controversial law requiring the federal government to turn over 31.2 million acres of public land to the state of Utah without even a token payment to the U.S. Treasury. But should the American public take this proposal seriously?