Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Poem by Cowboy Poet Roy Smith

Threats to agriculture, Water rights

A few weeks ago, Roy Smith hard-copy mailed this poem to Pie N Politics.com

This cowboy is an incredible poet with an astonishing humor and wit. And he also has really good handwriting.

He probably forgot that I had taken this photo of him about 8 years ago — give or take a year or two. This is in the mountains between Yreka, California and Klamath Falls, Oregon near what was once a lumber town of Tennant.  Or Roy probably hoped I couldn’t find the picture in my deep file of photos.

It is past time that we publish this poem.  Roy is a rancher in neighboring Shasta Valley fighting the same problems as Scott Valley with the intrusion of the California Fish and Game agency trying to reduce the amount of water that ranchers can use.

It needs to be remembered that this water, the government wants,  is a legal Water Right and as such is a property right.

Does the government have a right to de-value your property?

“The Fish and Game”

We have to save the Coho salmon

But, the records are so very new

Was there ever very many?

Was there always just a few?

They ruined families, homes and towns,

So the Spotted Owl could have its way.

But, we’ve never really heard

If the owl is better off today.

We fenced our land along the creeks

It’s not as scenic as it was.

But everybody volunteered.

They said it was a worthy cause.

We went to meeting after meeting

Just to learn what we could do.

We learned, we were expendable

And they want the water too!

In the cruelest trick of all,

If the Fish and Game should have their say;

We will have to buy a permit

To give our Water Rights away?

By Roy Smith

For Pie N Politics.com

Here a young cowboy is trailing the cattle back to the corrals in the Tennant area.  It was autumn and time for the cow herd to go home to the valley pasture and ranch before the deep snows hit. Mt. Shasta isn’t far from this high plateau and was looming in the distance.



  1. Louise Gliatta  •  Jul 19, 2010 @9:07 am
    I loved the poem. How can I get in touch with Roy Smith to ask permission to reprint this poem (giving him credit)? I have a source who might put it in an on line newspaper. We need to get the word out to the rest of California in any way we can.
  2. Karen Dunford  •  Jul 19, 2010 @12:28 pm
    It is the Heart and Soul of America we are trying to preserve here and in so doing pass our heritage on to the next generations!

    Great poem, Roy….thank you!

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