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Liz Writes Life 3-7-17

Liz Writes Life

March 7, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Snow covered the blooming purple violas this weekend, several times, and something has eaten, at least one of the primroses. We decided to plant snow peas last week, before this round of storms hit, and I also made a good-sized 4 x 4 foot seedbed for lettuces and spinach. Spinach will take up the bulk of the space as just a quarter of that will grow lots of lettuce for May and June.

Wolf kill

The threat from wolves is getting closer as the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the death of a calf on private property in neighboring Jackson County. On Feb. 25, 2017, ODFW confirmed the attack was from a wolf as the internal organs and entrails were ripped out and bite puncture wounds creating deep tissue damage were found at the armpit of the calf. This is follows the typical attack from a wolf. Plus there were wolf tracks around the dead calf and no other predator animal tracks.

It just breaks my heart to think of our livestock being threatened and killed by yet another predator. There are already enough bears, mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats in California. Actually, back in the late 1990s, game wardens in the CA. Dept. of Fish and Game (it was Game back then) told me they were not pushing for the introduction of wolves into California simply because California had too many predators.

Timbervest property

I thought there would be more info on the Western Rivers Conservancy purchasing the vast amount of Timbervest property on the west to south sides of Scott Valley. I haven’t learned much more, except Peter Colby is continuing to pressure the county and other groups to support its bid. If the conservancy purchases the property, water right holders will need to pay close attention to the possibility of losing some availability of their water allotment.

JH Ranch

The saga does continue for the Friends of French Creek, who will be asking the Siskiyou Co. Supervisors to hold strong in enforcing the current permit that JH Ranch Mountain Resort is operating under. JH Ranch has been trying to expand its operation with a new permit application, which would increase the number of clients they can house at one time. Friends of French Creek believe the current level of 387 clients is taxing the environment and invading neighbors privacy. They have been actively opposing JH’s expansion plans.

Cal Fire also has to approve JH’s expansion permit because of fire and emergency access requirements. In a nutshell, French Creek or Miner Creek Roads are not wide enough for fire engines to pass each other on certain narrow areas of the road; and that would put everyone in the French Creek area in grave jeopardy if there was a forest fire. It would be extremely difficult to safely evacuate 387 occupants at JH, plus the surrounding neighbors. As a result, last year, Cal Fire did not approve the expansion of JH’s permit.

So, it appears JH does not like Cal Fire’s objection and is now suing Cal Fire. Cal Fire has held firm saying JH must abide by the same fire and emergency requirements as everyone else.

At the same time, JH has continued to obtain more housing permits for 15 single family residences, 12 dormitories and nine tents providing beds for 172 employees. Wow! Previously, JH obtained an Employee Housing permit for seven units allowing for seven beds in 2015. So, it looks like JH is dead-set on continuing its expansion no matter what.

Hage saga

Attention ranchers and property rights supporters: The Wayne Hage battle received a blow last week, when a federal judge ordered Wayne N. Hage to pay $587,000 and remove his livestock from federally-managed Nevada lands. Hage was given 30 days to pay penalties, fines and grazing fees racked up from Nov. 2004 to June 2011. His deadline is March 31, 2017.

More than 25 years ago, federal agencies and courts began doing battle against Hage’s father, Wayne Hage, who butted heads with the U.S. Forest Service over his water rights for his Nevada ranch. The original Wayne Hage died in 2006. Soon after, the Hage family finally won his case in court. But that didn’t last. Eventually, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Hage family.

The younger Hage is working on an appeal against this recent decision, where Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro, in Las Vegas, ruled the federal grazing permits held by Wayne Hage did not transfer to his estate or to his son — an extremely detrimental decision for ranch owners. The federal judge also banned the Hage family from grazing livestock on any public land administered by USFS or BLM. Hage said he does not have any cattle on public lands.

This does not bode well for ranchers that have water rights or grazing permits on public lands. Sorry for the bad news.

Bundy

March 2nd, wrapped up the second week of testimony of government witnesses in the first Bundy Ranch stand-off trial being held in Las Vegas. The surprise for me is that the federal agents were told to stand-down on April 11, 2014 – the day before the tension-filled stand-off occurred on April 12, 2014. Three government agents testified they maintained their position, throughout the night, fully anticipating a bloody gunfight the next day.

None of the three officers, on the stand explained, why they were ordered to engage the protestors after being told at least twice to stand down, abandon their efforts to round up private cattle on federal land and leave.

April 12th was the climax where several hundred armed federal agents came face-to-face with over 100 Bundy Ranch armed supporters. This should be good for the defense as the government certainly escalated the situation. Check out Pie N Politics.com for more.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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