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Finding Common Ground

Finding Common Ground: Governance and Natural Resources in the American West

Ronald D. Brunner
Christine H. Colburn
Christina M. Cromley
Roberta A. Klein
Elizabeth A. Olson
Copyright Date: 2002
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Finding Common Ground
    Book Description:

    Over the past century, solutions to natural resources policy issues have become increasingly complex. Multiple government agencies with overlapping jurisdictions and differing mandates as well as multiple interest groups have contributed to gridlock, frequently preventing solutions in the common interest. Community-based responses to natural resource problems in the American West have demonstrated the potential of local initiatives both for finding common ground on divisive issues and for advancing the common interest.The first chapter of this enlightening book diagnoses contemporary problems of governance in natural resources policy and in the United States generally, then introduces community-based initiatives as responses to those problems. The next chapters examine the range of successes and failures of initiatives in water management in the Upper Clark Fork River in Montana; wolf recovery in the northern Rockies; bison management in greater Yellowstone; and forest policy in northern California. The concluding chapter considers how to harvest experience from these and other cases, offering practical suggestions for diverse participants in community-based initiatives and their supporters, agencies and interest groups, and researchers and educators.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12790-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 Problems of Governance
    (pp. 1-47)
    Ronald D. Brunner

    On the morning of March 6, 1997, just north of Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner, Montana, Rosalie Little-Thunder heard gunfire while participating in a prayer service for the spirits of slain buffalo. It was “a crackling sound, like dead branches snapping,” she said. About a mile away she and several others found officials of the Montana Department of Livestock in the snow dressing out the bodies of eight Yellowstone bison they had just shot and killed. Little-Thunder later recalled: “It was like murder in the church parking lot during the service. . . . It was shocking, the disrespect they...

  6. 2 Water Management and the Upper Clark Fork Steering Committee
    (pp. 48-87)
    Elizabeth A. Olson

    The Upper Clark Fork River basin, covering 22,000 square miles of southwestern Montana, is a region of extremes. On its trip from Anaconda to Missoula, the river’s tributaries roll through isolated wilderness, open farmland, and busy municipalities. The basin is home to the mighty Blackfoot River, a wild and beautiful river immortalized by Norman Maclean inA River Runs Through It.¹ Although some reaches of the basin still resemble the pristine trout waters of Maclean’s youth, most do not. Today’s Upper Clark Fork is home to four Superfund sites, hundreds of miles of dewatered streams, and struggling fisheries. Despite its...

  7. Chapter 3 Wolf Recovery in the Northern Rockies
    (pp. 88-125)
    Roberta A. Klein

    Aldo Leopold, one of the foremost wildlife biologists, experienced a transformation in attitude toward the wolf that anticipated a recent shift in societal attitudes. Once viewed with hatred and fear, the wolf was nearly eradicated from this country with a fierceness that many now find hard to understand. Nevertheless, to some Westerners the wolf still represents a threat to the traditional Western rural lifestyle. To others, however, the wolf has become a positive symbol of nature and the last vestiges of wilderness and wildness. And this is the problem: The wolf is largely a symbol. “Wherever he goes, whatever he...

  8. 4 Bison Management in Greater Yellowstone
    (pp. 126-158)
    Christina M. Cromley

    “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people” are the words engraved on the grand arch welcoming visitors to the northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. This phrase expresses an ideal established with the Park in 1872 that Yellowstone and its unique natural resources should be managed in the common interest, the interest of all the people. One of those resources, the bison, is depicted on the seal of the U.S. Interior Department and on the badge worn by its employees in the National Park Service. Under the policies of recent decades, however, the management of Yellowstone bison has become...

  9. 5 Forest Policy and the Quincy Library Group
    (pp. 159-200)
    Christine H. Colburn

    Forestry policy has long been a contentious issue in the United States, pitting the culture and livelihoods of many Americans against the conservation values of others. Lives have been threatened, and indeed, bullets have been fired over the issue. It was not uncommon around 1990 to see stuffed spotted owls strung up by loggers, or environmentalists strapping themselves to trees in the Pacific Northwest—both potent symbols of protest and tension. A new alternative has gradually emerged in forest management, however: community-based forestry. Citizens in forestry-dependent towns have begun to come together to search for common ground.

    One such town...

  10. 6 Harvesting Experience
    (pp. 201-247)
    Ronald D. Brunner and Christine H. Colburn

    What might be done to realize the potential of community-based initiatives, both to advance the common interest through policy in particular communities and to contribute toward constitutive reform in America? Whatever that potential may turn out to be, the pivotal factors in realizing it (or not) will be the policies implemented by the people and organizations most directly involved. This chapter focuses on the policies of participants in and supporters of community-based initiatives, organized interest groups in and around the agencies affected by such initiatives, and researchers and educators who converge on such initiatives.¹ The purpose is to suggest policy...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 248-288)
  12. Index
    (pp. 289-303)