Trophy ranches in the American west...a good thing?

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Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 6, 2018 - 09:41pm PT
Thanks, Pete_N, that sounds a worthy read. It is amazingly liberating to just park, or get off the bus, and light out across the land in Britain and Scandinavia. I aver it does everyone good in the sense of shared stewardship as it were and responsibility. The vast majority of the time when you’re walking on private land there you are on a path and it would be most untoward to stray from the straight and narrow. If large land owners here had any sense they would welcome hikers and twitchers by marking trails and such.

I’ve not had any run-ins with angry cows but have encountered some scary sheep!
Hard to read those beady little eyes!
Hard to read those beady little eyes!
Credit: Reilly
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 7, 2018 - 11:21am PT
If I allowed people to "roam" on my ranch it would quickly get torn up by ORVs and covered in trash.

We live in a country of slobs.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Nov 7, 2018 - 03:03pm PT
There is some truth to that. Sometimes when I go fly fishing I get upset about private stretches of river, but then if you go to somewhere with easy public access it's trashed. So I hike into wilderness areas.
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Nov 7, 2018 - 07:44pm PT
"Trophy ranches" are symptoms of income inequality which, beyond some ill-defined point, is socially and economically destructive (obviously).

"Private property," as more-or-less uniquely defined and imagined in America for reasons related to history, is a weird and socially undesirable anachronism by any reasonable world standard, but one which is probably impossible to alter.

GB's "right-to-roam" concept is a good one and not at all unique, but which unfortunately, won't be applied here. Call me when we adopt the metric system!

*

I don't feel especially sorry for demise of family ranch. It's a tiny group of people who were affected. (They had to sell their acres to Ted Turner? No oil? Tragic.)

Plenty of economic dislocation affecting millions has happened in past decades and it continues. Lotta pain and trouble. Beats living in Yemen !
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Nov 7, 2018 - 08:20pm PT
The local forests are deemed multi-use which means who ever has the most destructive internal combustion toys can monopolize and discourage other users from recreating on national forest roads making them impassable...I'm talking about the moto bikers and razor wankers who , besides destroying national forests roads , continue to illegally drive off designated roads onto the forest under-story to hoe and disc more natural resources... what Toker villain says is sadly true about Americans'.... A River passes thru it...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 8, 2018 - 11:07am PT
Yeah right; "income inequality"!!!

Boo fukking hoo.


So much easier to gripe about all the injustice than work your ass off and sacrifice to improve one's lot in the world.

I have a friend who came here from China on a student visa.
She is now an American citizen, a business manager, and well on her way to her first million in less than 10 years.

That said, some have it pretty hard. Karen Kor got laid off so McCall and I are helping out.
AKDOG

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Nov 8, 2018 - 11:34am PT
The biggest issue with trophy ranches IMO is when they surround and block access to public lands. In California, there have been lawsuits when the rich try to block access to the beach.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/technology/vinod-khosla-beach.html?module=inline

According to a study from the Center for Western Priorities, 4 million acres of public lands in the Rocky Mountain West (Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico) are considered “landlocked”, blocked off by private landowners who control adjacent properties or roadways.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/21/public-land-battle-private-landowners-montana
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Nov 8, 2018 - 02:59pm PT
Unfortunately, I forgot to get rich.

Teddy Roosevelt perceived income inequality as a threat. He was terrified of a Bolshevist revolution happening in the United States. Thus his various policies that came to be called "progressive." Don't know what became of HIS "trophy ranch." A national park?

A Japanese economic official, traveling in the U.S. in the 1980s, was asked about the "executive compensation " issue that was then emerging. He said it had the potential to damage the "social consensus."

Trump is a middle-stage symptom of the problem. It's probably too late to address circumstances that have been developing since the 1970s. Humpty-Dumpty is doomed, I guess.

Enjoy the ranch! MAGA!!
couchmaster

climber
Nov 8, 2018 - 07:19pm PT
I'm with Jim on this one.

Batrock noted:
"I don't think anyone would choose to live in a congested crowded city if they had a choice."

Right here. We made that choice. Literally. We both came from/grew up in, rural areas. The choice was to live full on inner city or outside the burbs, country: like we had grown up with. (In the west anywhere, inner city isn't like living NY City or Baltimore inner city of course) We discussed it extensively a long time back and chose inner city. Heart of darkness. Living in the burbs was too wasteful to us. The interesting part for us was watching our neighborhood change in the 33 years we've lived in the 2nd inner city home we had. I will confess that I don't miss the colorful neighbors, shootings, the plentiful prostitutes I never availed nor walking out on the back deck early one morning and picking a .45 round off the deck or waking up reading about the drug deal that went bad and 3 Mexican fellas just down the street each getting blasted right in the head by someones 9mm at 2 am.

In fact, the gentrification and whitification of the neighborhood has been both funny and interesting. New neighbors are a differing breed: the ones 2 doors down just paid a million bucks for a home that was crammed full of poor folks during the depression but had been updated and is now de rigor "period" updated. They don't really work, he's a "poet", shes a "life coach". White folk's from the east coast. They're not shooting any guns off though, say, sitting on the front porch and trying to hit the metal fence post across the street, so there is that.

The huge benefit is that had we moved to the 'burbs, any house we would have purchased would have both cost much more and appreciated much much less.

"We all do what we can,"
We all do, and it all helps. I know folks that do much much more than us. Makes me feel lame at times.





Branching out, next subject:
"Taxes are too low when there are scads of rich SOB's able to buy up whole swaths of land out of their pocket change. We need more school, healthcare, and infrastructure spending, not tax breaks for the richest few."

Everyone in the US has shitload of Scratch. I support it too. We get folks from other country's often come visit and stay and they're shocked that even our poor live so well. Interesting that you don't mention the cost of our out of control overreaching military posture worldwide and massive government bureaucracy. Someone needs to pay for that unless the world goes up in smoke and ends, it ain't cheap. Just the rich should pay? We're borrowing to pay for it now, if the world survives the kids will have to pay for it, and regardless, no one believes that kind of expenditure and debt is sustainable for multiple reasons so maybe not worth discussing.
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Nov 9, 2018 - 11:58am PT
Teddy Roosevelt owned at least two ranches. He spent a total of maybe a couple of years on them -- shooting at Indians or whatever.

The general area in North Dakota is now a national park of about 100 square miles. Beyond that, am unsure of its history.

A few of these current "trophy ranch" guys will probably want some sort of posthumous public monument to themselves -- in the form of a park of one kind or another. Could be OK. Rockefeller did Teton NP, which at the time, really annoyed the locals. R. also did Acadia NP; He and Harriman (business partner of Bush) also did some good stuff, park-wise -- around NYC, setting up precursor of the (currently excreable) Palisades Interstate Park Commission.

But most will eventually just want to just "maximize their investment" in any way they can.

The 95,000-acre Baca Ranch in New Mexico was sold to NPS in 2000 for $101 million (after it got grazed and logged into the ground). Transfer involved setting up a "private trust," which held it for 15 years. Currently, it's NPS.

Originally, the land was a gift from the Feds to Baca family in the 19th Century.

Billionaire Ray Dalio is quoted in this week's Barron's, citing (with grave concern) a current federal reserve report that 40% of Americans," if faced with an unexpected expense of $400, would either not be able to cover it or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money."

Shitload of scratch-my-ass. Buy the Ranch!!!
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Nov 10, 2018 - 06:34am PT
thanks ^^^ https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2017/06/exploring-parks-valles-caldera-national-preserve
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Nov 10, 2018 - 07:26am PT
A column I wrote for The Weekly Sun in Hailey, Idaho a couple of years ago:

THE HARRIMAN LEGACY TO IDAHO
It is much larger than Sun Valley
by
Dick Dorworth

Most people reading this are aware that today’s Wood River Valley and its nearby communities would be very different, socially, culturally and economically, if Averell Harriman’s attention had not been directed to the area in the 1930s. Though Harriman was a successful businessman, politician and diplomat—he served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Governor of New York, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, U.S. Ambassador to Britain and was twice a candidate for the Democrat presidential nomination (losing both times to Adlai Stevenson, whose son John lives on a ranch near Bellevue)—he is best known in Idaho as the man who in 1935 gave Austrian Count Felix Schaffgotsch the job of finding a site for a world class ski resort in western America that could be reached by Harriman’s Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
The Count found Ketchum and Harriman found the Brass Ranch a couple of miles to the east and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. Sun Valley history. In a seven month frenzy of construction in 1936 the Sun Valley Lodge was built on the Brass Ranch and the world’s first chairlifts were installed on Proctor and Dollar Mountains. Eighty years after Schaffgotsch began his search Harriman’s legacy to the Wood River Valley continues to flourish, nourish and inspire local citizens, part-time residents and tourists alike. Sun Valley has shaped, touched and enhanced the lives of countless people living in Idaho and throughout the world in ways that can never be measured but which are acknowledged every day, all of it a legacy to Idaho from W. Averell Harriman.
And it is only part of Harriman’s legacy to the Gem State.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Idaho State Park System, which would not have been born without Averell Harriman and his brother Roland, and would not have survived and thrived this long without their foresight and stipulations in transferring the 11,000 acre Harriman Ranch in eastern Idaho to the state They called it the The Railroad Ranch and the brothers were interested in preserving it in perpetuity “…..to keep it from being chopped up into subdivision or resort developments.” Roland had met Robert Smylie in the mid ‘50s shortly after Smylie had won the first of three successive elections as Governor of Idaho on a ticket of creating a state park system. Despite a great deal of opposition from the state land board and other state fountains of political patronage, Smylie and the Harrimans negotiated for several years (much of it secretly) until the state agreed in 1965 to establish a professional state park system free of political patronage.
All of the Idaho State Parks exist as such because of those negotiations and the Harriman 11,000 acre gift to the state.
In 2010 Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter attempted to disband the Idaho’s park agency in order to fill a budget hole in his administration. But to do so would mean returning those 11,000 acres to the Harriman estate, according to the stipulations agreed to in 1965. Fortunately, he could not do that. Today Harriman State Park continues to be part of a wildlife refuge for moose, deer, elk, bear, and sandhill cranes, among other wild creatures. Two thirds of the trumpeter swans that winter in the contiguous United States spend the season in Harriman State Park. All of them and the hundreds of thousands of people who annually visit the state parks throughout Idaho appreciate the legacy of Harriman, even if they aren’t conscious of it.
Thanks Averell. Thanks Roland.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 10, 2018 - 10:19am PT
^^^^ Very nice, Mr Yeti. Life can be so very nuanced.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Nov 10, 2018 - 11:46am PT
what i get from yeti's post is that "individuals," making decisions based on that marvelous quality, character ... really do shape the course of history ... and history is huge as to the current set of facts on the ground.

i've been watching this play out since bush vs. gore. one guy holds the door for others as a matter of habit, another walks thru cuz he's no chump.

for this we got neocon adventurism, and climate change denial as policy


~~~~

i'll attempt redemption with a subsequent, on topic post

(edited)
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Nov 10, 2018 - 01:54pm PT
These ranch pretenders should be stuffed and placed over real ranchers fireplace mantles.
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Nov 10, 2018 - 02:32pm PT
Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Harriman's biography is something I should read.

Harriman's decisions were maybe based on character, but also on his father's railroad money, which was based on a series of sweetheart land deals with the federal government.

Wasn't it "Bush Bros., Harriman" involved with some weird stuff in Germany?

The younger Harriman was NY governor, a democratic and thought he had a shot at being president at some point.

I had the chance to steal a "No trespassing " sign with Averll Harriman's actual signature. I think it was shortly after he died as an extremely old man in the 1990s. It was too much trouble.

As it turned out, I got thrown personally out by another guy, only slightly less rich and famous and old, who was his neighbor---Hamilton Fish..the Third..or Fisk.. I think. Taken together they had a big chunk of land jutting into NYS Harriman State Park.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 10, 2018 - 05:50pm PT
“Real ranchers” equals “welfare ranchers.” 94 % of grazing fees on BLM land are paid by “you” the American taxpayer and you are most likely to live in an urban area. Ranchers love to sit around with their weak morning coffee in rural cafes badmouthing city folk, welfare mothers and big government...a nasty bunch of ignorant hypocrites.
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Nov 10, 2018 - 06:16pm PT
As usual, Donini calls it like it is. Ed Abbey called 'real' ranchers 'welfare parasites.' Check this: http://www.angelfire.com/mi/smilinks/environment.html
Lituya

Mountain climber
Nov 10, 2018 - 06:35pm PT
@BraveCowboy say: hermit master obviously does not often need to acquire drinking water from the same sources that the cattle are stamping into cowpie muckpits. maybe city folks are just silk-tummied lilywhites, wanting good water left relatively good, but then....

Hmmmm, where does San Fransisco get its water, I wonder?
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Nov 10, 2018 - 08:19pm PT
"Are trophy ranches a good thing?"

Could be in the public interest, probably, sometimes, maybe.

One imagines the enlightened and benevolent billionaire land trust, putting slippers and diapers on their cows and keeping the frackers at bay, while temporarily "preserving" large land blocks.

A recent book indirectly questions this. Review says: "Have we lost the essential premise of a just society when we substitute private action by individuals for government policy and public debate?"

https://ssir.org/book_reviews/entry/are_the_elite_hijacking_social_change

Answer seems pretty obvious, and fairly hopeless.

But it feels good to get a few greasy bones thrown from the table now and then, I suppose.


The review, in a publication associated with Stanford University, goes on to note that currently, there are eight (very very smart) individuals whose combined "resources" equal that allocated to half the world's population.

Presumably it's "the other half."

Am assuming most wannabe-cowboy billionaires are Texas right wingers. High-end "Western Art" galleries in Santa Fe suggest this sensibility: gun-nuts & etc. A sort-of Neo-Hudson River sub-branch of expensive paintings.
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