I don't like ATVs wrecking nature. But I also don't like the attitude of "welfare ranchers" who get to graze livestock on public land for ridiculously low fees, then complain that they're not able to do just what they want on their property.
Such as killing wolves, even though these natural predators account for only a minuscule percentage of livestock losses.
Also, keeping people off of leased public land. On the Portland Oregonian's editorial page today I read "Trespassing by ATV: We need to protect ranching and recreation" by Ambers Thornburgh.
What caught my eye was this paragraph... (bold is my addition)
Over the past several years, I have noticed a steep increase in the number of people using ATVs in central Oregon. As a result of repeated trespass, I continually have to sign and post my private lands to protect my home and my cattle. This has required considerable time and resources to fortify the fences and gates and continually post "No Trespassing" signs.
Which didn't fit with the next paragraph...
Despite these efforts, reckless riders still illegally cross onto my land. The damage from off-roaders to signs, fences and land I lease from the Bureau of Land Management has been so extensive that I have had to reduce my number of cattle.
Leased land isn't private land. Not really. In a way it is, but in another way it isn't -- especially when the land is being used for grazing livestock instead of a habitation (as is the case with leased lots on Forest Service land where private cabins have been built).
I'm not excusing the ATV'ers. However, they probably figure that they have a right to be on public land, just as the rancher is.
It'd help if ranchers paid higher lease fees that truly covered the cost of both the grazing right and the environmental damage done by their livestock. Then they'd have a better argument for keeping other taxpayers off of the public land they're leasing.
I wonder where this is as we have seen ranchers in southern Oregon who do put up gates to keep the public off public roads that lead to public land. I guess if they can get away with it, they will. It's not right though and just paying more wouldn't make it be right. Most can't pay a lot more anyway as they have to make a profit on the beef and that land doesn't have huge amounts of grass, less if the ranchers don't move the livestock frequently.
Posted by: Rain | May 29, 2011 at 07:29 AM