Some southeast Oregon ranchers near Burns can sympathize with the armed group that’s taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ranchers in Harney County said they are frustrated with federal policy that can complicate ranching, logging and farming.
But some families said they hope the armed group will end their occupation without a fight. They believe that there is room for more public discussion about how federal and state lands are managed and how mandates come down that would affect their livelihood.
But they don’t believe guns and violence or any kind of standoff with the federal government is the best approach.
Threatened and endangered species, fire and clean water management policies have been at the center of heated debates for years across the rural Northwest. Although, in the last several years, some Northwest cattle groups have started up new partnerships with government managers to protect waterways, wildlife and ranching.