Check back here regularly to find out what's going on in the sage grouse battle. All of my updates will be stored here in date order. Thank you for reading, Patrice
August 14, 2018 - Our family went in and presented our plan to cut fire danger by restoring livestock grazing to the Humboldt County Commissioners two weeks ago. Today, we are scheduling appointments on Capital Hill and with State Officials. I really hope that they will listen and act. It's a longshot, but every good idea starts somewhere. Still no leads that the BLM or HCSD are discussing on the fire. I sure hope they catch the people who did this. Our BLM range con seems to think that maybe UNR will lead the efforts on how to rehab our permit and they may listen to us about going out early next year with loads of cattle to take down cheat grass early. Sure hope that is the case. We still have no idea how we will operate next year. Scary.
PS, later today, we are going to a party to say goodbye to a very special person, Tim DeLong. He passed away at the end of July. He was a great cattleman and friend. He will be missed. All of my love and best wishes to his family who are hurting and missing him very much, especially my Aunt Jhona and her family.
July 24, 2018 - savethegreatamericanwest.com JOIN THE MOVEMENT!!!!!
Let's take our tragedy and turn it to victory for everyone who loves the great wild range of the West. We will educate, then demand that Congress and the Trump Administration RESTORE ALL SUSPENDED AUMs for livestock grazing NATIONWIDE!!!! We cannot continue down this road one step further. Livestock grazing is great for our environment and the only reasonable way to lower fuel loads and reduce fire risk. Call my mom, Kris Stewart at 775 304 9399 to get on board. She is even making plans to visit DC and lobby our congressional delegations. Join us!!!!
As for our family, this fire is kind of like a death. So much land that we have loved and done our best to care for is gone, and it will never be the same again in any of our lifetimes. Our lands had not burned in at least 154 years, that is how far back our records go. For those of you who have never ridden through man-high sage...you cuss it when you are pushing cattle through it, but you should know that you are riding through the same amazing brush and landscape that buckaroos rode through a hundred years ago. I wish I taken a moment to touch it, smell it and realize that last month was the last time I would ever experience it. We are mopping up, and putting one foot in front of the other. I look at my poor parents and I have seen them both age since this fire. It's knocked all the stuffin out of them. We are all strong and we'll come back somehow. Today my mom has to go shoot one of her little Hereford bulls. He has burned up feet and he is bleeding from his nose and mouth, smoke inhallation. Seeing the determined but heartbroken look on her face makes me want to spit on the federal land managers who caused this. Leaving so much fuel on our range is criminal. They say the fuel loads were 200-1000% times normal and they still made us move off the BLM because our dates of use were over. HEY, BLM, USFS and USFWS, nature doesn't look at your calendar. How about a tiny bit of common sense. Stop being so afraid of doing the right thing and standing up to idiots like Western Watersheds and Katie Fite. Where is old Katie now??? No where to be seen.
July 5, 2018 - I know I need to report this, but it's hard to even type the words...The Martin Fire, now known to be the largest wildfire in modern Nevada history has wiped out hundreds of thousands of acres over 3 counties in Northern Nevada.
It has destroyed 100% of our family's BLM permit as well as those of 8 other operations in Humboldt County. We also lost over 6200 acres of our private land and two dwellings.
The fire is thought to have been started by a campfire or fireworks. However, no matter what the ignition source, the cause is rooted in horrendous land management by the federal agencies over the past 5 decades. Fuel loads on our range were 200-1000% normal when the fire erupted.
There is simply no way to describe how these events will affect our operation. For the first time in 154 years, we truly wonder how we will go on.
June 2018 - I am so glad to be home. I have two friends from school helping us ride and hay this summer, and I think it's going to be a great season. Sure, I start my day at 2:30 am, but once it gets light, there is nothing more beautiful than a Northern Nevada sunrise. The sounds and smells of the range in the early morning are like nothing else.
April 2018 - Spring Turn Out - Wholly cow, considering the crummy winter we had, the rains we got recently have made the grass grow like crazy. We'll have to haul water and things are getting dry very early, but man is there a lot of grass out here. I brought friends from my Horse Production Program at TVCC to help us move cows this Spring and I'm really proud to show them our range. People don't think of Nevada as pretty, but it's plum gorgeous - and I love it when the wildflowers start. God Blessed Nevada with His Own Hand!!!
September 2017 - I love our ranch and I love riding out on our permits. Nothing makes me feel closer to God or to my heritage. I can feel my Pa, Les Stewart right beside me. I'm headed back to school, but my heart stays on our mountain and desert lands and on the Ninety-Six Ranch in Paradise Valley!!
March 2017 - School is great and College Rodeo is so much fun, but there is nothing better than coming home to brand calves. We'll turn them out in April and start the big circle. Our family has been grazing these lands since 1864. We predate the federal agencies that now offer more tyranny than guidance by many decades. Today we graze our cattle at less than 30% of historic averages and this is not making the range better.
Dangerous fuel loads are building and it is only a matter of time before a wildfire takes it all. I hope to God that it doesn't happen in my lifetime, but I fear its just around the corner.
It is sick the amount of plant matter we have to leave when we move from pasture to pasture. It has no other use than food for livestock and wildlife or fire kindling. Scary!!!
September 2016 - Brought cattle home from the mountains before heading off to college. It's a glorious time in the Santa Rosa Mountains. I'm sure that I live in the most beautiful place on earth. I thank God and my family for my many blessings.
June 2016 - I just graduated from high school and in the fall, I'll be off to Treasure Valley College in Ontario Oregon to study practical horse production and ag business. I'm still engaged in the sage grouse and grazing issue, and with my move to Ontario, I'll keep spreading the word that LIVESTOCK GRAZING IS SAGE GROUSE CONSERVATION THAT WORKS!
As we end 2015, and start a new year, I thank God for all of our many blessings. I also thank Him for the snow and rain we have received over the past ten days. Just these modest storms will make our Country bloom this Spring. The winds have pushed snow into drifts which will fill our reservoirs this Spring. There is little doubt that we will have enough water to allow a full turn out of our cattle in April and enough water to irrigate our fields and make the hay we need to feed our cattle next winter. If the weather cooperates, most if not all ranchers and agriculturalists in our State are more than happy to go it on our own, without any help from government. If we can dial back LUPA, we can thrive again. Let's hope and pray for good weather and a much more limited government in 2016. Happy New Year to all. My family and I wish each of you a blessed 2016. Patrice
December 26, 2015
For people who are a little impatient like me, this sage hen issue is really moving. It's almost scary how fast it is moving. Our federal lawsuit will be heard in Reno on the morning of November 17th. Our lawyer, Laura Granier, from Davis, Graham and Stubbs will be seeking an injuction to stop the feds (department of interior, et al) from implementing their LUPA - Land Use Plan Amendments. I'll update you as I know more.
In other smaller news, I'll be speaking at the Nevada Cattlemen's State Convention in Winnemucca, Nevada on Thursday, November 12. I believe it's at the the Rangeland Committee meeting. I'll also have a petition, brochures, bumper stickers, patches and t-shirts. I would really like people who care about this issue to pick up items for me and display or wear them. It helps our cause a lot. There is NO CHARGE for any of our items, it's all about telling my family's story and that of all teh ranchers of our region who are set to be put out of business by the LUPA as the feds like to call it. I would really like to thank Ron Torrell and Rachael Buzzetti for letting me tell our story at NCA this year. Thank you to everyone who has already signed the petition. It means a lot! Patrice, November 5, 2015.
Our ranching information was not allowed to be heard in court during the hearing before Judge Miranda Du in federal court last month. The US Attorneys successfully argued that we entered the lawsuit too late to be heard. As a result, our factual information was never heard or considered by the judge. The hearing for PI was denied, but the judge agreed to hear the suit on the merits on a fast track basis. The problem, our share of the PI hearing prep ended up being over $17,000.00. We are currently the only ranching party in this fight. The judge made clear in her ruling that ranches must fight their own battle and that Counties may not argue on behlaf of ranching or other private enterprise sure to be injured by LUPA. We are talking with JJ Goicochea and Nevada Land Action Association, Nevada Cattlemens and other established groups to decide if this is the best lawsuit for us to be party to. We must defeat LUPA, and we are doing our best to be a party to most effective litigation. The truth is that we cannot carry the water for the entire ranching industry, and whichever direction we move into next, we must have the help and support of other livestock producers in our State. We continue to believe that we have been harmed
by LUPA and the uncertainty they impose upon our operations. The judge seemed open to the idea that their was "potential harm", but could not hear our testimony or information. Our operation can show actual harm of over $180,000 to date. Once there is a hearing on the merits, we think we will prevail on merits. Money is main issue. We cannot afford to fight this battle alone. I will keep you updated when there is more info on how others can join the fight and/or help.
Even though the Gov and the AG are arguing over entering this federal lawsuit, it was the right thing to do. It will be heard in federal court on November 12 in Reno. I am getting to go and I am nervous but really excited to watch what happens. We are hoping for an injuction to stop the new ARMP from going into effect. Say a prayer for the future of ranching in the West. Patrice 10/28/2015
I just have to ask...how endangered could they be if we are still hunting them and teaching folks to cook them???
Upland Game & Waterfowl Cooking Class in Las Vegas
Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary
Arts in Las Vegas will host a series of wild game cooking workshops.
What - Workshop for preparing upland game and waterfowl
When - Saturday, November 21 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where - Le Cordon Bleu - Las Vegas, NV
Sign-up - Limited Seating. Register online through Le Cordon Bleu’s eventbrite
Topics covered include game care, processing and storage; proper use of spices
and marinades and the differences in handling and preparing wild upland game
and waterfowl vs. domestically raised. Numerous recipes will be demonstrated
and participants will be able to sample each of the prepared dishes.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and
wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat
conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees
and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat
conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license.
Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at www.ndow.org.
This is such great news for our fight. Thank you Governor Sandoval and Nevada AG Laxalt - you guys really are heroes! Patrice 10/22/2015
Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt joined a suit on behalf of the State of Nevada challenging the federal government’s greater sage-grouse land-use plan. Senator Heller supports this effort and had this to say:
“As I said before, the final greater sage-grouse land-use plans are not a win for Nevada – new restrictions on over sixteen million acres in our state alone pose a threat to our western way of life. I support efforts to stop these unnecessary regulations in their tracks and allow rural Nevada to thrive economically.”
Attorney General Laxalt’s full press release, including Senator Heller’s statement can be seen her:
Senator Heller’s previous statement about the listing decision, that “this is not a win for Nevada”, can be viewed here:
If you have any questions please contact Samuel Crampton at Samuel_crampton@heller.senate.gov in Senator Heller’s Reno Office, Andrew Williams at Andrew_williams@heller.senate.gov in my D.C. office, or State Director Ashley Jonkey at Ashley_jonkey@heller.senate.gov .
US Senator Dean Heller
THE LATEST ON OUR MISSION - NOTES FROM THE FRONT LINES, 10-22-2015
I want to keep everybody updated on the latest on the sage grouse battle. As I have told you, even though the Department of the Interior did not list the sage grouse as threatened or endangered under ESA because they determined that a listing WAS NOT WARRANTED, they did something as bad or worse. For over a year, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has been working hard with State, local and federal stakeholders to come up with conservation measures that will work for everyone and really conserve the sage grouse. His plan wasn't perfect, but it was an honest effort that took everyone's needs into effect and it allowed people like us to keep ranching and grazing our cattle on public lands around our ranch. The Governor is a really good and honest guy and his effort is something we should be very proud of as Nevadans. After the Interior Department's announcement, the USFS and BLM gutted the Governor's Nevada Plan and replaced it with their own version, essentially leaving only the title intact. It withdraws land from use for mining, grazing and other public uses. It limits or eliminates our access to private lands, water rights and will effectively put us out of business. It is called the Amended Resource Management Plan, it is 278 pages and available online at USFS or BLM. Maybe more than any other threat over the past 151 years, my parents believe that if we leave this unchallenged, this will end our days of ranching here on the Ninety-Six. So, after looking at all our options, my folks, my grandma Marie and I agreed that we need to dig down and join the Federal Lawsuit to seek injuctive relief (a court action to stop) and reversal of this massive abusive of federal power. We did that last Friday. We are now plantiffs in the federal suit that also includes all of Nevada's Northern Counties and several massive mining companies. I think we might be the only single named ranch in the lawsuit, but that is ok. It was mighty expensive for us to do this and my parents explained that it will take sacrifice on all our parts to afford this, but if it saves our ranch, it is so worth everything. I am studying US Government this year and Federalism right now. I have been a US History buff for a longtime and I just want to say that what is happening right now is GOVERNMENT TYRANNY! Every single one of us as Americans should be very afraid, because if it happens to us today, it will certainly be you tomorrow. I think George Washington and the other founding fathers would be outraged with Barack Obama over what he and his administration are doing to our Constitution and everyday Americans. When kids wonder why all seniors have to take US Government in high school, I say "This is Why! We are about to go out into the world and one day soon, we'll be in charge, what kind of America do we want for ourselves and our own kids?" What this federal government has done with simple administrative rule making should be illegal. It is taking away our property rights, our business and our way of life. The worst past is, it won't save a single sage grouse. I'll keep you updated as things move along. In the meantime, keep your fingers crosses that Governor Sandoval will let Adam Laxalt join the same federal lawsuit we are in and add Nevada's strong voice to our cry for freedom and what is just. Everyone needs to remember, science and common sense are on our side. Period.
THE LATEST ON OUR MISSION - NOTES FROM THE FRONT LINE, 10-15-2015
The US Interior Department's Decision not to list the Sage Grouse as endanagered last month IS NOT the end of the story or good news for ranchers and other land users in the West. As the Wall Street Journal reported last month, it is "THE SAGE GROUSE SWITCHEROO". The Land use plan that the USFS and BLM have written will effectively put my family's ranch and many others like us OUT OF BUSINESS! It will tie up hundreds of thousands of acres of public and private land and make them unavailable for any practical human use. This is just the start of the battle. State and Federal politicians and misinformed media outlets would have us believe we have won, but we have not. The USFS and BLM federal use plan for sage grouse is a "slip through of massive government regulation and land controls without any oversight". Please follow this story and help us fight this massive federal power grab in Nevada and the West. These new regulation could prevent YOU from driving across public lands (on established roads) near our ranch to hunt, fish, hike, etc. They could also prevent us from moving our cattle to our PRIVATE lands, or effectively using any of our grazing permits or the water rights we possess on these lands. The sad part is, these new rules (278 pages of them) won't save a single sage grouse from its greatest threat - wildland fire. Less overall use WILL INCREASE fuel loads on the range and WILL increase the chances of devastating wildfire losses of birds and their key habitat. THAT IS THE HARD TRUTH AND THE REAL SCIENCE ON THIS ISSUE. This is not really about protecting sage grouse, it is about the federal government and the radical environmental left seizing power from local hands. Just yesterday, our permit partner saw three environmental "scientists" out at Greeley, counting pigmy rabbits. They were so angry and rude, that one simply walked away, unwilling to speak with him, the other two were likewise rude when asked what they were working on. Ask yourself...would real scientists who wanted real factual data behave like this? A real scientist interested in the truth would welcome input from people who live and work in the area. He or she would see locals as good resources, not enemies. This is just another example of how this War on the West is being waged. "Scientists" come out with attitude and their conclusions already set. This isn't science folks, it's environmental tyranny!!!! Patrice Stewart