public land access

yall when communists say they want to eliminate private property, they mean things like public land everyone needs access to, or the means of production, like factories, or homes that aren’t occupied, or landlords, roads, and so on.

Personal property is not something communist seek to eliminate, for instance, no one expects you to share your toothbrush, except capitalists who believe if you can’t afford a toothbrush you must make due with what you have, which may be a communal toothbrush.

Collaborative conservation pays off for one of Idaho’s rarest plant species

Packard’s milkvetch (Astragalus cusickii var. packardiae) is one of the rarest plants in Idaho. The native plant is only known to grow on an approximately 10-square-mile area in Payette County in southwestern Idaho. Photo by Michael Mancuso


By Leith Edgar

Leith is the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Idaho state office.

Cardiologists advise patients to avoid tobacco use, exercise regularly, and stick to a heart healthy diet to prevent heart attacks. Sticking to the doctor’s directions often prevents costly and painful trips to the Emergency Room.

For some species of native western plants that ER is the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although plants don’t smoke, skip exercise or eat too much fatty food, many species face threats to their wellbeing. In some cases, stewardship determines how at risk they are for extinction – or in human terms, the probability of a fatal heart attack.

Fortunately for such plants in precarious positions, there are proactive conservation actions that can be taken early on – before there’s an acute condition to prevent the botanical equivalent of a myocardial infarction. Such botanical checkups prevent costly trips to the ESA. For Packard’s milkvetch (Astragalus cusickii var. packardiae), one of the most rare plants in Idaho, such a trip was never needed.

Pat Packard first discovered this rare plant in 1980, hence its name. It occurs on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Payette County in southwestern Idaho. The plant wasn’t documented again until years later, when Boise botanist Michael Mancuso relocated it.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) later hired Mancuso to routinely monitor the plants’ health.  In 2010 Mancuso’s routine checkups on the plant indicated the unique plant was showing an acute case of habitat destruction caused by unauthorized off-highway vehicle activity. A local off-highway vehicle park had recently closed, shifting use into the Big Willow area and damaging the unique and limited habitat needed by Packard’s milkvetch.  As a result, the plant was designated a candidate for listing under the ESA.

The Service applied an adaptive management approach to conservation of Packard’s milkvetch. Monitoring helped biologists identify potential issues early on and informed the conservation actions that were developed with partners to help alleviate the threats and protect the rare plant species. Photo by USFWS.


“In the Service’s Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office, we apply an adaptive management approach to plant conservation, and monitoring is a critical part of that.  It helps us identify potential issues early on, and it also informs the conservation actions we develop with partners to help alleviate the threats and protect rare plant species,” said Karen Colson, a botanist with the Service.  

Steve Duke, a former senior biologist with the Service, agreed. “By committing more resources for monitoring upfront, we were able to use the resulting information to work with the BLM and private landowners to address the threat, and avoid listing by effectively conserving the plant.”

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We finally made it to the Oregon Vortex in Gold Hill, OR! The tour was very enjoyable and the guides were so nice.

We talked with them in the shop about our journey to find the statue and they love seeing all the people come in talking about the show, but they themselves don’t know about the whereabouts of the statue. They had a good sense of humor and were excited about where they could watch the show to learn more. I even introduced another family at the time with young kids to the show :)

Now, the tour guides have posted in their gift shop a large email that was sent to them detailing the hunt for the Bill Cipher Statue and are willing to help if they get any info on it. They told us the best thing we could do since the surrounding area of the Vortex is private property is to go to the Bureau of Land Management in Medford, OR to get a map of all public land and public access roads.

(We wanted to search for the statue as was posted in google maps recently but again all of that land is PRIVATE property. The last picture was private property around the other side of the Oregon Vortex but it was named Bill Hill which made us Highly suspicious)

Overall, the road trip was still really fun. Alex Hirsch meant for us to go out and have an adventure anyway, statue or no statue. I’m sure I’ll find it one day…

This land is your land.
At Western Rise we see the value of public land access as one of the highest assets of our great nation. Creating a bond with nature at an early age builds a conservational mindset. That is why we choose to donate a portion of each sale to @westernriversconservancy. WRC rehabilitates fish and wildlife habitats and opens private land sections for public use. Check out their page, give them a follow, and show them your support.
#TrustTheWild | #RiversMatter
Great photo of a current @westernriversconservancy project on Colorado’s Rio Grande from @schnitzerphoto. by western_rise