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MAKE A RANCHING WILDERNESS BILL

The things a cowboy needs to preserve the ways of the old West are a few good horses, a header and a heeler, some cows, a rail stop and some open range. The rest comes with the territory.

But as everyone knows, the open range is gone. Or is it? Cowboys need to put every piece of unroaded land they can think of into this wilderness bill. Make it a ranching wilderness bill. I'm talkin' statewide 15-20 million acres. Get the seismic rigs, the logging trucks, the coal freights - get 'em off the road so you can have a cattle drive.Instead of goin' in debt for a semi-truck of your very own, you get the cowboy way of life, not some feed-lot farmer franchise. Gov. Leavitt has sold the real cowboy down the river. You can graze wilderness land, and you can have as much of it as you want if you put it into the bill.

Keeping land out of the bill won't stop the land trades, the guest resorts or the tourists. They'll come either way. Putting land in the proposal will give ranchers a little more control over who gets to do what on the land they have always used. Free up the ground for grazing, the roads for cattle drives, and you'll be able to ranch the old way for as long as you want. Cowboys deserve something real; after all, the Indians at least got a reservation.

Patrick Contor

Salt Lake City