Issue Position: Open Spaces
I remember three a.m. mornings gathering cows for the drive to the mountain. Mom and Dad would tell my sister and me to, "Wait here and when you can see, take the cows that way." My sister and I used to call it "waiting for the dawn syndrome." She was older than me, so I don't know if she was as terrified as I was when the horses moved off and the silence of the land enveloped us again in the dark. But, I would wait, and then slowly all of Wyoming would open up as the sun approached the horizon. That is the Wyoming I love!
Since I was a little kid driving with my dad to rodeos all over the state, I have loved what Wyoming offers in every part of the state: The rolling plains and beautiful rimrocks of the southeast, to the ponderosa and plains of the northeast, to the majesty of all of our mountain ranges, to the fields of our farmed lands and the wonders of our reservoirs and lakes. Later I enjoyed camping, fishing and hunting, and learning to climb and kayak. Wyoming is an amazing state, and it becomes part of anyone who lives here very long.
I grew up with people who understood the responsibility of stewardship. I have spent my life, as have many other ranchers, promoting that sense of stewardship to a country increasingly losing touch with the land. I have worked across party lines, with environmental groups and oil companies to advance the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt's famous quote, which hangs above a door in the U.S. Capital, "Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."
Even though a significant portion of Wyoming is affected by the federal government through federal agencies; it is our private lands that make up some of the most valuable open spaces and high quality wildlife habitat. Furthermore, it is our ranchers, farmers, and citizens who have given Wyoming the chance historian T.A. Larson referred to when he said, "Almost no other part of the country has the opportunity now facing Wyoming,: to demonstrate what America could have been if planners and developers had traded some short-term profits for long term gains."