The Western Range Revisited has ignited a firestorm of controversy
since its original publication. Angry critics have called, not just
for Debra L. Donahue's dismissal, but for the dissolution of the
University of Wyoming College of Law, where she teaches. Citizens
on all sides of the issue have voiced opinions through letters to
the editor in Wyoming state newspapers.
Sparking this debate is Donahue's proposal to eliminate
livestock grazing on large blocks of arid land administered by the
Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho,
Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Her
arguments are two: First, the BLM grazing program produces only a
tiny fraction of the nation's livestock products, and it costs far
more to administer than it generates in revenues. Second, livestock
grazing adversely affects all other uses of public land, causing
potentially irreversible damage to native wildlife and vegetation.
Donahue argues that eliminating livestock on arid public lands
makes economic sense, is ecologically expedient, and can be
achieved under existing law.
In response to those who view livestock grazing on federal lands
as central to the history and culture of the West, Donahue debunks
the cowboy myth along with traditional notions of the importance of
public lands ranching to western society and economies.
The Western Range Revisited makes a persuasive case for a
land-management strategy that until now has been "unthinkable". For
anyone concerned about the landscape of the West, this book is
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