Julie's Reports and Articles

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February 24, 2001 Range Fighters Conference Report

They journeyed as far as 2,500 miles in mid-winter, sixty strong, not for fame nor glory, but to share. From all the Western states, Ohio, Virginia, and Washington, DC, they converged on a conference room in the Frontier Hotel Casino for twelve hours of intense think-tanking.

Co-sponsored by the Paragon Foundation and People’s Alliance for Jobs and the Environment (PAJE Foundation), the event was precipitated by the RangeNet2000 Symposium in Reno, NV, in November, 2000. At the former, strategies were unveiled which would ultimately lead to the extinction of the American rancher, due to the cessation of all public lands grazing by domestic livestock. The agenda was clear, concise and well-structured. Those who favor deep ecology, a Canada-to-Mexico "wildlife movement corridor" through and over which human beings are banned, are choreographing this western cultural genocide. Their mode is to generate sympathy by casting wildlife as the "victims" of resource-providers, and they are skillful manipulators of public perception. How much the Endangered Species Act is costing every man, woman and child in America, is carefully avoided in their professional advertising.

At Las Vegas, the agenda was as clear as a snowmelt-fed mountain stream:
RangeNet2000 MUST NOT HAPPEN. Those in attendance were a diverse group, from ranchers and ranch wives to litigation experts, from freelance writers to freelance property rights activists, from concerned citizens to a retired right-of-way surveyor to a radio talk show host. Cognizant of the importance of hammering out solutions, no time was wasted in getting down to business.

After introducing the meeting, co-chairmen Jay Zane Walley and Jim Tenney led the group in a heartfelt pledge of allegiance to the American Flag, while Mrs. Sara Walley gave the moving opening prayer.
Bob Jones, founder of the Paragon Foundation and a rancher in both Texas and New Mexico, gave his view of the origins of the problem, including the involvement of foundations using environmental groups to further their business agendas. He stated that the difficulties had surfaced over thirty years earlier, but were only just recently being learned about by those outside the sparsely settled, vast, open reaches of the West.
Other comments included the fact that ranchers and other resource providers, being isolated and self-sufficient, often were silent in the face of the maligning of their lifestyle by the distant environmentalist movement. They did not feel the need to lobby their side of the story, and the advent of computers was a saving grace.

The perpetuation of the ESA by its self-fulfilling agenda of "late successional species" when many species need disturbance regimes, was a vital point made by Bill Drewien of the Oregon Cattlemans Association.
Media public relations was discussed at length, with several committees formed to target different facets and areas. Melding all areas of resource-providing, from ranching to mining, hay to oil and gas exploration, into public understanding, sympathy and involvement, was deemed vital. "Public education without overstating our position," as one commented.

Public service announcements on radio, including Talk Radio Network, owned by author Ron Arnold, of Bellevue, WA, were discussed. Ron stressed the importance of context and allowing the public to respond.
A computer resource database, available to all, with court cases and precedents, possibly listed by state, was suggested by several, and is being worked on by Paragon Foundation. Exposing the foundations who are the major funders of such non-economic agendas as RangeNet2000, was the main focus of the Range Fighters Conference. Networking to keep the funders of the siege before the public eye is of major importance.

Both Range Magazine and the Paragon Powerhouse agreed to work on improving public awareness through their publications, including reaching more people with subscriptions and advertisements.
The timeframe in which to successfully counter and combat RangeNet2000 is short, the adversary, strong and well-funded. With this in mind, the American patriots at the Frontier, numbering similarly to the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and keenly aware of this year 2001 meetings significance, brought forth ideas.

The websites http://paragonpowerhouse.org and http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org are worthy of visits by as many new people as possible, and the reading of Paragon Powerhouse and Range magazines, are needed. Frontiers Of Freedom - People For The USA (FOF/PFUSA), a driving force of people from all across America, is working in cooperation with the Paragon Foundation in developing a data resource bank and making information available on their website at: http://www.ff.org.

Funds are necessary to the success of our position, as well as energetic volunteers to fight the good fight! Please call Paragon Foundation at 1-877-847-3443 for more information on how you can make a difference! It remains to be seen, as history is written, how RangeNet2000 will be defeated, but this writer feels that the Range Fighters Conference was a giant step for humankind to remain a viable species, stewards of the lands and waters that God so ordered.

 Author Julie Kay Smithson is an Ohio patriot, a property rights researcher and activist who is available for speaking engagements across the country. She may be contacted at [email protected] or by writing to 213 Thorn Locust Lane, London, OH 43140-8844
January 2001 Darby Update 

The land- and water-use war goes on! So long as the twin motives of power and control are uppermost in the minds of those who covet private Americans' rightful ownership and use for their own agendas, we must needs keep firing those soybean (ink) bullets! Public education and public outcry are the two main weapons we have to regain the glory of our beloved America! The "proposed federal wildlife issue" is not stalled, but skulking in the backrooms and alleys of Washington, DC. Those sources (Columbus Dispatch, AP wire, etc.) would very much LIKE for everyone to think so, but the fact is, in December, 2000, both Bruce Babbitt, head of the Dept. of Interior, AND Jamie Rappaport Clark, head of US Fish & Wildlife Service, WERE scheduled to visit Madison County and "pitch" the refuge to us again. The fact that Bush's election made such a visit unlikely, and that the visit did, in fact, not materialize, does not mean the siege is over.

With the Interior Department soon to be headed by Gale Norton, former Attorney General of Colorado, hope shines bright on the spring horizon, but we must not allow ourselves the fool's hope that someone else will now fight all our battles. Our willingness to help Mrs. Norton point the Interior Department and its agencies in the right direction will make the difference between a mediocre improvement in our country's land and water use for private property owners, and a giant leap forward in the retaking of our great nation's sovereignty!

The Nature Conservancy hired Dan Anderson in December; his job is to be the Madison County "TNC ambassador," and "mend fences with the locals." A snowball would stand a substantially better chance in Hell, but TNC apparently thinks they can fly in the face of the adamant NO DARBY REFUGE sentiment.

Another interesting development, and a "can of worms" in its own right, is the proposed landfill to the west, straddling the border of Madison and Clark Counties. A 1,200-acre farm is being readied for this landfill, and the local citizenry have formed an opposition coalition. One of their "helpful partners" is none other than US Fish & Wildlife Service! The price? The sale of property development rights and conservation easements. The land in question is a neat puzzle piece, fitting EXACTLY into the August, 1999, stated scope of the "proposed refuge Study Area," 53,692 acres in Madison, Champaign, Clark, and Union Counties. That was the only time that USFWS publicly stated that they wanted part of the proposed refuge in Clark County, in Pleasant Township. The public outcry stemming from Stewards of the Darby's superhuman efforts to education the area's citizens was enough to get the boundaries pulled back, out of Clark and Champaign Counties, but it apparently did not stop USFWS from "going around to the back door."

Another interesting twist: in the spring of 1999, the 780-acre Treacle Creek Ranch was sold to Countrytyme Realty for $2.5 million, with 400 acres of the land to be developed into "high-end housing" of 5- to 65-acre single-family sites whose lot prices range from $21,900 to $149,900. The Nature Conservancy, as of 1-31-2000, was "negotiating a deal to preserve 180 acres, possibly under a USDA wetland reserve," said Scott Davis, associate director of The Nature Conservancy's Ohio Field Office. 600-foot wide easements are in the works for Treacle Creek, which flows into Little Darby Creek. This land is in Clark and Champaign Counties, and on the northwest edge of the August, 1999, "proposed refuge Study Area" boundary. John Grieser, district conservationist with the Clark (County) Soil and Water Conservation District, noted, regarding the wetland reserve program, "We've offered....it's been in our newsletter....we have no takers yet. ...As long as they're willing to pay for the easements...landowners are not going to give up their property rights if they're not paid for it." With no takers, and the only advertisement being in the Soil and Water District's newsletter, coupled with the fact that the newspapers in Clark and Franklin Counties will not print anything about Stewards of the Darby, and our opposition to such measures, how can the public make informed, educated decisions, or know the whole story? In addition, the Madison County Commissioners put together a "plan," to "counter the Fish & Wildlife's plan," according to Commissioner David Dhume. This plan takes not only the Little Darby Creek portion running through the proposed refuge study area, but actually encompasses the ENTIRE WATERSHED in Madison County, and recommends from 500-1,000-foot setbacks (or buffers) from ALL streams in Madison County! This is reminiscent of the old saying: "Jumping from the frying pan into the fire!"

US Senator Mike DeWine, still reportedly "obsessed" with making the proposed refuge "his legacy," OWNS LAND in Madison County, though his home is in Greene County, forty miles southwest of the proposed refuge. This land is owned in partnership with John Baird, under the name "DeWine Enterprises, Inc., and is in two adjoining parcels of 149.1 and 95.1 acres very near Madison Lake and the Madison Lake State Park, in Fairfield Township. These are puzzle pieces, fitting together as well as the Columbus Metro Parks and the Franklin County (next county east of Madison, and the county containing Columbus, Ohio's capitol city) sewer planning area extending out to "coincide and interlock with" the very eastern boundary of the proposed refuge!!! This sewer planning area includes 902 acres under the name of Ag Lands Ltd., just outside the proposed refuge study area boundary on the east, owned by none other than the John F. Wolfe, chairman, publisher and CEO of the Columbus Dispatch newspaper! The same Ag Land, Ltd., owns 774+ acres just south of the proposed refuge study area boundary, and adjoining Ohio State University land that makes up the Farm Science Review complex and Molly Caren Center. While the proposed USFWS refuge may be out of the major media eye, for the moment, complacency is not the byword in Madison County, Ohio. We who live and work here are very much aware that "they" are committed to the war for our lands and waters, beyond the first few skirmishes. We remain more dedicated than ever to keeping the truth and the facts before the public eye, as the 11,000 website visits to http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org in the sixteen months since its inception are proof of! Please visit our website; we are linked by bonds of cooperation and commitment to the Paragon Foundation, and many other private property rights groups nationwide. We are Stewards of the Darby, and we are available to help you with your land/water-use issues, from the angle of emailing and networking. We are not attorneys, and we do not profess to be experts, but we have substantial knowledge gained from working to fend off the unwanted and UNNEEDED advances of USFWS and their 69 "partners." Our lands and homes have ofttimes been in the same families for upwards of 200 years. This is a commitment to stewardship of land and water that the questionable agenda of those who seek to move us off our lands cannot match!

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