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#11 craig333

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 04:50 PM

Thanks for clarifying the issues.


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#12 rando

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 05:11 PM

I am not sure how this could be interpreted as a 'Federal Land Grab'?   This is a privately funded effort to purchase private land and associated grazing rights.   This does not create any new government (Federal or State) owned land.   This certainly appears to be a misuse of a populist rallying cry.


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#13 Foy

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 06:42 PM

I am not sure how this could be interpreted as a 'Federal Land Grab'?   This is a privately funded effort to purchase private land and associated grazing rights.   This does not create any new government (Federal or State) owned land.   This certainly appears to be a misuse of a populist rallying cry.

I don't disagree, in principle, with criticism of those who would refer to the overall aim of the APR being a Federal Land Grab, but I do believe there are strong undercurrents of such which are imaginable in skeptic's minds. Today's lunchtime reading included some scrolling through the AMR's main web pages, where the "big picture"  goal of the APR is well stated as an effort to link the Upper Missouri Breaks NM, the Charles Russell NWR, and the BLM lands in between the two in order to form a "seamless ecosystem" without fences or other unnatural barriers to interfere with wildlife migratory patterns. In order to do so, it would seem that the grazing leases on general BLM lands which are acquired along with deeded acreage would have to be eliminated since the leases are "animal unit" specific and that must translate to maintaining fences to avoid exceeding the lease's inherent carrying capacities. Also mentioned are recent acquisitions of deeded lands which had grazing leases within the Charles Russell NWR which "could not transfer to new owners under the lease", so large grazing areas were removed from the NWR.  With the previously identified MO of acquiring grazing leases tied to deeded acres and continuing to use the leases commercially, the APR is essentially saying it is in the livestock business---for the time being. It also seems clear that the BLM and US Fish & Wildlife Service are willing cooperative partners to some degree, probably as they should be.  With all of that, skeptics who see the influx of private donations and realize that over one-third of the private donations consist of Federal income tax reductions given to the donors, with another one-seventh provided to donors by high tax states like California and New York, and who see the culmination of the process as elimination of certain types of economic activity within the APR's area, probably have a colorable argument that a land grab is under way and the locals will be effectively forced out.  

 

But as the PERC article correctly and eloquently stated, economic conditions were already forcing ranchers and farmers off of the Montana prairie long before the APR was founded.

 

Over lunch I also read through much of the material on APR's main website. It's a very well done portal for the programs, policies, procedures, and plans of the organization.  The annual audited financial statements and Forms 990 are all linked to make it easy to access and review.  The financials show substantial amounts of "visitation income" and rental income, indicative perhaps of access not being free all of the time, and perhaps indicative of the business income elements previously discussed. 

 

Foy


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#14 JaSAn

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 09:14 PM

I have family and friends in Montana, so I hear their side.

 

The Federal Government owns ~30% of Montana.  Timber and mining conglomerates own lots more.  Now this.

More and more of Montana is controlled by people that don't live in Montana or care about (or are hostile to) the culture.

 

Add any young person who doesn't inherit a ranch or wants to expand an unprofitable one is being priced out of the market by rich out-of state buyers.

 

I hope I'm wrong but I don't think this is going to end well.

 

jim


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#15 Smokecreek1

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 10:23 PM

JaSan, out here in the high basin,  we have the  same problem (as in all of the west). Corporations are buying up those old ranch  lands, then fencing them off and closing  the public from public lands on the other side.  At least if someone like the NC buys it up and then works with the local  users and the feds and states (and some corporations) to protect and manage it; we can still use it-a bit under maybe different rules-may be the future. What's really ironic here is that BLM was heading for that type  of holistic land management (management of whole ecosystems regardless of ownership or use [pvt, county, state, fed, grazing allotments and AUMs and other specialized LMPs] when I retired (2005).

 

In fact, the last  major proposed  mgt plan (LMP) I worked on  was based on whole ecosystems especially the natural drainage systems and how their individual parts interacted with each other. In our case, we had worked with groups like APR and the nature conservancy  for years on how to manage big horn sheep reintroduction (and domestic sheep mgt) which in our case covered two states, several counties and many different ecosystems. and lot's of often competing parts. We had a also had allot of experience in working with the many different interest groups  in working to  to develop mgt plans on a couple of National Conservation Areas. Needless to say, many, many hours were  spent talking to and working with all those who had an interest  in those lands, and in many instances those same groups were at odds with each other and us.

 

Sad to say but a few years ago, the BLM had to send this proposed new idea for future management plans to congress for approval  and funding; the GOP  controlled house rejected the proposed plans and insisted that we return  to our old planning systems because the new system would reduce the influence of local and state planners on future management.  The recent proposed moving of the BLM HQ's from Washington DC to Colorado (w/o any supporting studies and unfunded by congress) is in part based on such thinking.  In many past discussions here we have talked about our Public Lands and of how their future depends on us so please let those who are managing our Public Lands know how you feel by attending those meeting, writing letters and yes "vote".

 

Smoke


Edited by Smokecreek1, 12 December 2019 - 10:51 PM.

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#16 clikrf8

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 07:42 PM

Kanye West recently bought 2 very large ranches in Wyoming for $25 million. He wanted to escape building codes in California. He is having some trouble in Cody, Wyoming with building an amphitheater. 
 

We hope to explore the APR lands next fall which are near the Charles Russell Wildlife Refuge. It seems it is a great area to get away from people and see wildlife. 
 

We see many abandoned ranches in our western wanderings. Mostly, in Nevada but throughout the drier parts of the west. Simplot seems to be a major player. It is sad to see abandoned buildings knowing someone was either bought out by a bigger ranch or corporation or the conditions were too harsh. I am glad to see the wild prairies return. 


Edited by clikrf8, 16 December 2019 - 07:46 PM.

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#17 Taku

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 04:15 AM

Another interesting aspect of land buying in Montana is the Hutterite colonies. They often buy out ranches at prices that individual ranchers cannot afford, but like APR, they do so with willing sellers. The APR process, while some may not like it, is no different than has been going on since the colonies. Back in the 1970's about 20% of Illinois farmland had been purchased by Saudi cover companies. The list can go on and on. But this point, APR has developed and allows public recreation and seems committed to it. Unlike some of the other "new" landowners who have closed off some large BMA's - or the Wilkes brothers land purchases in Idaho. Them's who got the money will do as they please.


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