The Wildlands Project Comes to Hidalgo County (Part 16)

The Sky Island Alliance, Nature Conservancy, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and Wildlands Project affiliation is similar to an intricate puzzle. With your permission, I’ll try to explain the organizations and individuals involved in this collaborative effort - one piece at a time.

A Country Girl’s Musin’ by Judy Keeler


Having just returned from an Aldo Leopold Forum on El Lobo in Las Cruces, New Mexico, I felt it was time to address why we’re not making any progress in resolving conflicts between those who would like to see wolves running wild and those who would like to protect their economic investments. Designed to bring all the stakeholders to the table, the forum gave everyone an opportunity to lay their cards on the table and make their cases. I wondered, however, how many were really listening and what was achieved?

I’ve attended many a wolf meeting beginning with the scoping meetings for the recovery plan in 1995. Through the years I’ve sensed a majority of the people - at least 95% by personal observation - would like to see respect for each other’s positions and some semblance of “working together” for the betterment of the species, as well as those who are economically impacted by the wolves.

From the very beginning, however, the reintroduction effort has been plagued by an agenda, pseudo-science and faulty history. Based mainly on emotionalism, the program is doomed to failure, unless everyone starts caring about what’s best for the animals, not just their agenda. How did emotionalism gain the moral high ground in the debate?

Environmental groups chose to use university students for their experiment in social responsibility. Finding fertile ground in academia - rebels looking for a cause, and causes looking for rebels - wolf proponents denied historical evidence that wolves kill domestic animals, including horses, cattle and pets; that wolves were known to kill for the sheer pleasure of killing, not just for survival; and that wolves were exterminated by federal and state agencies, following the advice of leading wildlife biologists, including Aldo Leopold. Instead, they chose to demonize the ranching industry and gained ascendancy by essentially rewriting history to support their agenda to remove cattle ranchers from the West.

Once they had the students retrained, they set out to bring them to every wolf meeting that was held in close proximity to a university. Hiring buses to transport them, the students then booed, heckled and “wolf called” anyone who dared to question the wisdom of reintroducing wolves back into the tender desert environment.

The strategy employed by the environmental community is not new. Known as anarchy, the ultimate goal is to confuse the issues and, ultimately, to impose the will of a small minority upon the majority.

Every movement has its radical fringe groups. Joseph Farrah, editor of World Net Daily, likens the radical environmental movement to “green fundamentalists” that holds to be “self-evident the untruth that there is no difference between a child, a tree and a rock”.

This ideology also seeks to move man out of any area that has been targeted for inclusion into a wilderness preserve. Although this is a very radical strategy for most wolf proponents, one must view it as a part of the greater strategy.

As indicated by David Brower, Sierra Club’s first executive director, in an interview with E magazine in 1990, the environmental system was built to move the Sierra Club out of the radical movement and into the mainstream movement. “The Sierra Club made the Nature Conservancy look reasonable. Then I founded Friends of the Earth to make the Sierra Club look reasonable. Then I founded Earth Island Institute to make Friends of the Earth look reasonable. Earth First! now makes us look reasonable. We’re still looking for a group to come along and make Earth First! look reasonable.”

Funded by government grants and foundational giving so many groups have now been organized that the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy and even Earth First! appear reasonable alternatives.

At the El Lobo forum I was smitten with the realization that even the Defenders of Wildlife, Southwest Environmental Center and Center for Biological Diversity temporarily dropped their green fundamentalism and were trying to evolve into a “voice of reason”. On only a few occasions did they lower themselves into the anti-ranching rhetoric of the past. Instead they promoted the new concept of a federal buyout of grazing permits.

In the Fall of 2001, Scott McInnis, U.S. House of Representative from Colorado, wrote a letter urging environmental organizations to openly disavow the actions of eco-saboteurs like Earth Liberation Front and its sister organization, Animal Liberation Front. It caused a flurry of controversy and accusations that McInnis was trying to paint all environmental organizations with the same broad brush.

In rebuttal, McInnis wrote that it was not the letter’s purpose “to impugn or link organizations like the Sierra Club to ELF or ALF. The letter had just one purpose: to send a powerful message to the eco-criminals, and their sympathizers, that even those who share a similar environmental ideology deny and reject the use of terror as a tool to promote that ideology.”

As we ate lunch at El Lobo Forum, several of us mused why we kept having round table discussions, no consensus was ever achieved, no problems resolved. We would go home to a flood of new lawsuits, all designed to reek havoc and bring terror upon the ranching community. The agenda never changes.

In the end analysis it must be acknowledged that many mainstream organizations support, and the “fringe organizations” have grown up around, the Wildlands Project. There is an agenda – to implement the plan within our nation. If it requires anarchy, imposing the will of the minority upon the majority, that’s what will be used.

As history is being rewritten by academia and science is being reclassified to include conservation biology, young, zealous ideologists are easy to find. Our universities keep churning them out at an amazing speed. Unfortunately, everyone, including the plants and animals we’re attempting to save, will lose as we continue to rewrite history and force a largely untested science upon mankind.

Related Article:

Green Fundamentalism


These articles are being published in the Hidalgo Herald, a local newspaper. If you would like a copy of the articles in this format send your request to: Hidalgo County Herald -

Brenda McCalmon, editor
101 East 4th St
Lordsburg, NM 88045
Phone: 505-542-8705
Fax: 505-542-8704

If you enjoy the articles and find them educational, please feel free to share them with friends, family and associates.

Judy Keeler, rancher and activist!


Contact: Judy Keeler
Animas, New Mexico

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