David here and I want to address the internet personally regarding the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by Ammon Bundy and his gang of thugs. The actions of this band of vandals has caught my attention since the whole fiasco broke out after Winter Break.
I have been an Oregonian for 17 years now. I lived in Montana before moving here. I was born in New Jersey but I have lived west of the Rocky Mountain Front longer than I lived east of it. I love living in the West, mostly on account of the Public Lands found in all directions from my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon. My second job here, after a brief stint in residential gutter cleaning, was with Americorps. I served my country by battling invasive species on public lands and helping farmers re-plant pastures with native tree species on private lands.
Since then I have worked in the non-profit sector with Cascadia Wild!, engaged in a citizen science partnership with the Mount Hood National Forest. Together we taught people to use animal tracking skills to identify and record signs of rare carnivores. We also set up remote sensor cameras to try and capture photograph evidence of elusive animals like the wolverine. I had some children of my own to teach me about responsibility to the future. I worked in the jam band rock and roll industry back in the Horning's Hideout days. I learned all about Oregon's prankster lineage and then I came back to conservation work with the idea that today's kids needed to be educated about the big picture of time and how natural systems are formed over millions of years. The dusty halls of Natural History needed to be, well, dusted off, shined up, and re-presented as the fascinating hall of wonders that is life on Earth. That is how Craigmore Creations was born.
I have stayed put in Oregon because this state has done some things right. There are public lands protected by the Metro Regional Government (here) There are State parks galore (here) There are National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) There are BLM lands (here), National Forest lands, National Grasslands, We even have a National Park and a bunch of National Monuments. There are all sorts of Public Lands here and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Oregon has a long history of conservation work done by citizens in partnership with the Federal Government. It did not happen overnight and all of these land holdings were made by the efforts of concerned citizens and their Public Servants.
Women like Annie Montague Alexander who studied fossils and men like William Finley who observed the birds, both shaped the destines of universities and the landscape of the nation because of their passion for learning about the earth and their desire to protect what was observed and discovered in their studies. Oregon was their classroom. It was Finley who brought the Malheur Lake region to the attention of President Roosevelt. The birds of the Malhuer were in need of protection from poaching and overhunting.
Malhuer is in need of protecting once again. Out of state interlopers have moved into the NWR with an agenda that is threatening to the wildlife of the preserve. The Pacific Flyway is a very important component of the North American ecosystem. The wetlands within the Basin and Range system are critically important to the environmental health of the region.
In fact. most of the "basins" within the Basin and Range land were lakes during the Ice Age and they are all now in the process of drying up. Conserving these wetlands for the birds is of utmost importance to the health of the entire planet. No one person's livelihood is more important than the health of the planet. And it will take a healthy planet to ensure the livelihood of all the people.
Take the time to review those links. Take some time to study your history. A real patriot knows their place in time. They know the land beneath her feet because they took the time to understand where they are.
These guys under Bundy claim to love their county, but they do not know their history. The talk about their rights, but they ignore the rights of those who worked hard to create PARTNERSHIPS in order to protect the land and their livelihoods.
The Bundy thugs do not come from Oregon and should not be identified as Oregonians. That's not what we are about here. If I have learned anything from living here, it's that one must put in a good deal more time into living and working here before they call themselves an Oregonian.
And even then, we know this was never "our" land. We recognize the indigenous people of this land as the original stewards.
I stand with the Sage Grouse in support of a wise policy to protect the Basin and Range, the Columbia Plateau, and all of the associated grasslands, wetlands, wild lands, and free range. You can too. Go visit. Don't stay beyond your welcome, but kick your heels up for a bit and take it all in. Eastern Oregon is amazing and those communities could use the tourist money. But go there to learn, observe, and humble yourself before the greatness of space. Don't loaf about and demand "your" piece, rather breath in and be grateful for all that is "our" land to enjoy.