The meeting was dominated by questions about the decline of natural resource industries in a region including Washington County and its rural neighbors. Most of the meeting focused on a dispute that threatens to remove sheep grazing from the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area because they are believed to risk the health of wild bighorn sheep.The Forest Service, in an effort to keep bighorn sheep free from disease, seems to be gearing up to remove domestic sheep from grazing allotments in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. The sheep ranchers and their supporters in the area are angry about this.
Sheep rancher Ron Shirts of Weiser, said
"I'm damn mad," Shirts said. "I'm getting my head cut off right now."And
"We draw a line in the sand and we tell the federal government and these environmental agencies we're not taking it any more," Shirts urged, winning hearty applause.Obviously this guy doesn't like the "federal government." Here's what I don't get. Mr. Shirts wants the federal government to leave him alone. But, he wants to graze his sheep on federal land. Clearly he thinks he's entitled to use that federal land, since he's been doing it for years. He hates government when he doesn't get his way, but he loves to take advantage of what it offers, to the point where he thinks he's entitled to the benefit. He wants to have his cake and eat it too.