Back to the Source
I thought you would be interested in knowing the original source of Ted Williams’s sentence “As the old saw goes, ‘No one’s making new land these days’ ” [America’s River, May-June]. It comes from Will Rogers, the great American humorist, who said, “Buy land; they ain’t makin’ any more of it.”
Marcie Waterman Murray
Finding a Middle Pasture?
Reading Ted Williams’s Incite [“Sacred Cows,” March-April], I thought it must be 1980 in America. Williams’s essay drives a wedge between two groups—environmentalists and ranchers—that should be natural allies. Half of the West is private land—land that is the most biologically productive, has the deepest soils, and is better watered than the half in the public domain. The ranchers that graze on the West’s public lands own approximately 107 million acres of the private lands, most of which serve as buffers against the harmful effects of development that is increasingly making islands of our protected areas. Although ranchers are compensated for the food they produce, they provide open space and wildlife habitat at little cost to society. This does not mean that ranchers should get a free pass. They will have to change, perhaps more than any of us. Across America, more and more ranchers are not only altering how they husband their livestock, they are organizing to protect their private lands. Presently, six western states have agricultural land trusts, rancher-organized and administered. As of last year they had protected over 1 million acres of private land in conservation easements. I invite Williams to leave his tired, old position on the far left and join the increasing number of us in the “radical center.”
Richard L. Knight
Ted Williams responds:
Reconciliation of the sophomoric dispute between Ronald Ericsson and Ted Williams [Letters, May-June] would come from their visiting with such people as Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, and rancher Jim Van Winkle of the Sandhills Task Force. They exemplify the partnering between ranchers and conservation interests to manage the vast virgin grasslands of Nebraska’s Sandhills for the benefit of all life.
The Reverend Roger W. Verley
Ted Williams responds:
Keep It Up
Kudos on the March-April Audubon. Sometimes the issues seem so filled with gloom and doom that I can hardly bear to read them. I know that we need to be aware of the problems—there certainly are enough of them—but we also need to be able to celebrate the good news and the victories so that we are motivated to keep up our efforts to correct the problems. That said, I did enjoy “Sacred Cows.” The article gives news about some of the tactics that are working, and that is always useful and heartening.
Jane K. Ward
Fair Is Fair
Audubon and Ted Williams in his Incite column [“Public Menace,” July-August 2005] have been leading the fight to kill more deer in the forests, in state game lands, and on private property throughout Pennsylvania. The reasoning goes that deer are causing severe damage to the landscape, which in turn is leading to reduced numbers of birds over the entire state. Since this has resulted in a large reduction of deer where I live, thereby saving the environment for more birds, could you please direct me to some of your preserves so that I can return the favor by thinning your deer herd? I am sure you would want to practice what you preach.
Audubon Pennsylvania responds:
—Timothy D. Schaeffer, Executive Director
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© 2006 National Audubon Society