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January 25, 2007

CONTACT:    Margaret Byfield (208-855-0707)
                       Katherine Lehman (

Landowners Learning New Strategies to Protect Their Private Property

A regional training seminar will be held in Yreka, CA, February 16-17, to teach landowners new strategies that will help them protect their property from restrictive land use policies.

Whether the issues are grazing reductions, ESA listings, EPA/DEQ restrictions, water use restrictions, wetlands restrictions, smart growth plans or other land use regulations, the seminar will teach effective ways landowners can protect themselves and their property.

The seminar leader, Fred Kelly Grant, president of Stewards of the Range, one of the sponsoring organizations, explains that every federal, state and local policy must be implemented at the local level.  “We teach people how to use the applicable laws to challenge and stop the actions that damage the traditions and values of the community.”

The program focuses on the use of “coordination plans,” which several counties across the west have begun implementing.  These plans are developed by local individuals and adopted by a local authority.  When in place, a coordination plan has two major requirements – federal agencies must coordinate their land use policies with the local authority, including giving them written notice of their plans prior to any public notice or involvement; and, the agencies policies must be consistent with the local plan.

It levels the playing field for citizens to help make decisions affecting their own back yard,” commented Sean Curtis, Resource Analyst with Modoc County, CA, which has had a coordination plan in place for the past 10 years.  “Using this approach, we have stopped ESA listings that would have driven our ranchers out of business, helped small mill operators secure more product, and even stopped federal land acquisitions that didn’t comply with the county’s priorities.”

“Landowners in the Northwest are being attacked from all sides,” commented Katherine Lehman, who lives in Ashland, Oregon and runs People For the USA Grange.  “We can’t afford another Klamath Basin crisis which is why it is so important that those of us who live here learn how to protect our piece of America from unreasonable regulations.”

Lehman attended a national property rights conference in Utah, last November, where these strategies were introduced to the national audience, and decided a training seminar in the Northwest would give landowners the help they need to fight off the numerous land use restrictions being implemented in the area.  Lehman’s group is co-sponsoring the seminar.  “We are very fortunate to have someone with the expertise of Fred Grant come into our community and teach us these valuable tools.”

Participants will be broken down into working groups to develop specific plans to attack the issues facing their areas.  Plans like establishing a watershed council to fight water rights restrictions, developing strategies for defending property rights related to liquified gas pipelines and port terminals planned for the Northwest, making conservation easements subject to a conditional use permit, and using a Memorandum of Understanding to bring Tribal Governments, non-government groups and government agencies into a work plan to protect private property interests.

“The laws are already in place that people can use to direct what will take place in their community, which is what we teach people how to do,” commented Grant.  “We believe the local people, not federal and state agencies or even county organizations, should decide the priorities of their communities. This is a people first program.”

The conference is co-sponsored by People for the USA Grange (Ashland, Oregon), the American Land Foundation (Taylor, TX) and Stewards of the Range (Meridian, ID).  Lunch will be served both days along with snacks and drinks during breaks.  Fee for the two-day seminar is $75 for members of Stewards, PFUSA Grange, and/or ALF, and $100 for non-members.

The seminar starts at 9:00 am February 16th, in the Winema Hall at the Siskiyou Golden County Fairgrounds, 1712 Fairlane Road, Yreka, California. To register or learn more about the seminar, go to www.stewards.us or call 1-800-700-5922.


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