For years, the radical environmental movement has tried to paint the Western cattle rancher in the worst possible light to orchestrate public sentiment against him in the hope of putting him out of business. One environmentalist tactic is to suggest to the public that the rancher has treated the land like he owned it to the exclusion of other land users.

Despite the defamatory picture painted by the the likes of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance or Sierra Club, the only concern I've ever experienced from grazers in my life in Utah is that I close the gate behind me. That request hardly seems unreasonable and it hardly qualifies as staking a claim to the land.Now it appears that we have the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. A group called Eco-Challenge wants to stage an environmentally oriented "race" from Castle Dale to Lake Powell. Although the race is designed to focus on minimum impact recreation, The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance is already lipping off in opposition.

With out a doubt SUWA, along with other radical environmentalists, has done more to drive people off the land than all the grazers that ever ran the range combined. If ranchers were possessive, and few if any were, they were possessive within their own particular allotment. SUWA wants it their way and they want it all - and, unlike the grazers, neither SUWA nor the Sierra Club have ever been known to develop a water site to the benefit of wildlife.

If the public feels like it has fared poorly with grazers on public lands, just wait until these extremists are in full control. And they will be unless the majority of us here in Utah takes a stand against them.

Paul L. Young

St. George