Jon Marvel vs. the People of Idahoby Ted Hoffman, Guest Editorial
Idaho Farm Bureau News, August, 2001
Add another chapter to the book of jon Marvel vs. the People of Idaho. This book, largely written by Jon Marvel himself, details his over-arching desire to rid Idaho of cattle and ranchers and alter the character of our culture.
The book now has plenty of evidence to prove this point. It is prefaced by statements made by Jon Marvel such as, "I want you to know that our group will redouble our efforts to put [a rancher] and their neighbors out of the ranching business permanently..." said to federal employees. Or by the quote in the High Country News that said he "would plant larkspur, a native poisonous plant to livestock, as an inducement for ranchers to keep cattle from the area." And another quote, as stated by Rocky Barker, "The Idaho Statesman, "Marvel says he files lawsuits like this one to destabilize the cattle industry... he's trying to drive them to the brink sooner rather than later."
In this last chapter to the book, Jon Marvels actions speak louder than words. He refused to pay the annual rental fee this spring for one of his state grazing leases. consequently, the Idaho Department of Lands had no choice but to cancel the lease. The land within the state lease is an unenclosed portion of the Bremner/Middle Fork allotment near Fairfield and is surrounded by Forest Service land currently permitted to graze cattle-a fact known by Marvel when he purchased the lease. In forfeiting the lease, Marvel stated that the presence of cattle prevented him from achieving his goals. This clearly displays the true agenda of Jon Marvel and his Western Watersheds Project.
Over and over again, Jon Marvel has shown an arrogance and unwillingness to work proactively with federal and state land managers, as well as with the people who make up the communities of Idaho. He has made headlines throughout the state as he has contested the presence of cattle on the land.
He has bombarded government agencies with lawsuits and by so doing personally threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of people. He has bid on several state land leases-the land which provides funds for the school endowment. Claiming he is motivated by the welfare of the environment and our children, he has only made management of the land more difficult and administration of the leases more costly, thus depleting the funds available for education. It has been a thinly veiled attempt to move his anti-grazing campaign forward.
There is a moral to this story. It is the ranchers who truly care for the land and the kids. After all, it is their livelihood at stake and it is their children who attend the schools and it is their dollars that support the communities and infrastructure of Idaho.
So what now? When the pages of this latest chapter are read and analyzed, what will be the result? The lease will return to the knowing, able hands of the rancher who has spent his life caring for the land so that if will care for him. Just as ranchers in Idaho have done for generations-and by so doing, they have played an integral role in preserving the character and qualities of Idaho that we all find so endearing.
It's time to put this book on the shelf.
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