Open Letter to Secretary Zinke regarding the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

In the greater scope of your monument review process, my letter may not materially impact readership, but I live face-to-face with this monument. The designation of the OMDPNM impacts my life every day and I have come to feel helpless in the preservation of my life’s investment and the continuity it represents since before my great grandfather trailed cattle across our ranch on the Butterfield Trail in 1888.

Do you suppose the FedGov gives a rat’s ass about any of that? — jtl, 419

The Honorable Ryan Zinke

Secretary of Interior

Monument Review MS-1530,

U.S. Department of Interior
1849 C. Street, NWWashington, D.C 202240

RE: Open Letter to Secretary Zinke regarding the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (OMDPNM) review

Dear Secretary Zinke:

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersIn the greater scope of your monument review process, my letter may not materially impact readership, but I live face-to-face with this monument. The designation of the OMDPNM impacts my life every day and I have come to feel helpless in the preservation of my life’s investment and the continuity it represents since before my great grandfather trailed cattle across our ranch on the Butterfield Trail in 1888.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual He watered at our headquarters at a spring then known as Neire Springs. It was one of only a few natural waters in the big dry stretch of country from Picacho Peak to Ft. Cummins. Arguably, it was the most dangerous stretch of the trail from St. Louis to San Francisco.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View  We have reason to now believe his partner was Boze Ikard, the enduring character the world now knows as Deets in the made for television series, Lonesome Dove. Both had ridden for Charles Goodnight in Texas. Ikard was with Goodnight and Loving in the horrendously difficult first trips up the Goodnight-Loving Trail while my grandfather came later and trailed JA and PAT cattle north on the Palo Duro- Kansas railhead routes.

Combat Shooter's HandbookTheir partnership was the unheralded but hugely difficult task of driving “mixed” herds (cows, calves, and bulls as opposed to mature steers) with the intention of establishing permanent ranching operations as opposed to driving cattle to markets. In that process, they assumed the responsibility of not just the stewardship of those cattle, but the creation of infrastructure that allowed them to exist. Today, there is diminishing understanding of the implications of that undertaking.

Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute They joined what my friend, Myles Culbertson, refers to as the “economic and cultural phenomena of a grazing society” that remains uninterrupted since the era of settlement following the Spanish exploration. It is a society that provides 99.7% of every drop of water that is available to livestock and wildlife alike in the OMDPNM footprint. It is also a fragile society. Within the agriculture community in Dona Ana County, the county most impacted by The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfitsthe designation, recruitment of next generation stewards is 17%. That means that only 17% of the farming, ranching, and dairy segments has a young steward standing in the wings. We can’t offer assurances or robust opportunities because of the uncertainties emanating from federal land use dominion. Please remember that all this “iconic” monument land is simply reshuffled within a framework of government owned land that already consumes 94.5% of the entire county!

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)Our private land, therefore, is ever dearer in order to create infrastructure that makes our operations more productive and secure. This raises the two points of this letter. The first deals with the proclamation setting forth the creation of the monument and the disposition of private lands landlocked within the footprint. This concern arises from the NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARRACK OBAMA vested authority clause which states that Lands and interests in land within the monument’s boundaries not owned or controlled by the United States shall be reserved as part of the monument upon acquisition of ownership or control by the United States.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand the implication. The United States intends to control our lands. It can be further determined from the maps wherein our private ranch properties are not excluded by boundary demarcations (unlike the upper end imbedded residential developments along the Organ Mountain face).

Certainly, we are subjects of existing rights, but, when the allowances of the Antiquities Act are considered, only two protected objects are allowed. Those are scientific and historic. That doesn’t include “iconic landscapes, ecological diversity, general and widespread southwestern fauna and flora, or prehistoric matters that may or may not be “ripe for discovery” without qualification. Likewise, they are not authorizations to pick winners or losers. You mirrored our fears when you said, “Monuments should never be put in a position to prevent rather than protect.”

There are 90 families directly impacted by this monument that exist only because of the land on which they fill the role of steward. If they wrote you a comment, they would represent three tenths of one percent of the number of public comments you received the first week of the comment period. Like mine, their letters may not “materially impact readership”, but they also live face-to-face with this monument and feel totally exposed and unprotected.

What they represent is historic in every sense of that word, and has been recognized as so by the local conservation district as well as the seven-member Council of Border Conservation Districts.

This, my second point, elevates the requirement of federal law to observe and deal with local governance in land use planning. When you offer your recommendations to President Trump, you must recognize this designation treats the matter of historic in antagonistic juxtaposition to valid local land use planning. Your task of resolution is not just proper and fitting.It is required by law.

I look forward to meeting you and discussing this. My colleagues, this local cadre of a greater organized society, do as well. We take our stewardship very seriously. In this unbroken four century historic relationship, future generations should be elevated into the consideration of purpose of land designations rather than a conditional use.

It is that simple, and it is that important.


Stephen L. Wilmeth
OMDP Monument Rancher
Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “There is a big storm brewing over the status of these monuments that was under estimated. The size of these designations are simply too monstrous. The outcome is likely going to be greater political tit for tat over which only deeper resentment and distrust will result. We have all been put into a terrible situation.”


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Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualPlanned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers.  Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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