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 The Trek: The Journals

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Team: South
Jan Nesset
Monday, August 26
Aldo Leopold As Ranch Manager
If you hate range cattle on your public lands and consider large landholders as greedy and selfish, what would you think about them if they were managed by Aldo Leopold?
We found what may be the closest thing in the land to an Aldo Leopold-managed ranch.
Babbitt Ranches, managed by Billy Cordasco, runs livestock on 750,000 acres of land. Babbitt Ranches owns about half of that acreage, with the rest being on public lands. How does that work? When you look at a map and see checkerboards of public and private land, you’ll get a good idea of how the Babbitt Ranches needs to manage its business. A checkerboard, yes, but chess is closer to how the public land/Babbitt Ranches game is played. However, for the most part both sides play so that each will win.
What is important is that open minds and thoughtful collaboration can work to achieve goals on both sides of public/private management issues. I didn’t copy down all the ideas that the Babbitt Ranches borrowed from Aldo Leopold’s “Sand County Almanac” to create its land ethic, but at the bottom were these:
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.
“An ethical obligation on the part of the private landowner is the only visible remedy for these situations.”
Ranch Manager Billy Cordasco, Coconino District Ranger Gene Waldrip, National Park Service Rep Kim Watson, and State Game and Fish Rep Rick Miller met us at our camp on the CO Ranch, one of the Babbitt Ranches, for a group discussion about the issues involved with landowners and public lands. It was an eye opener.
From what I learn here I take in an air of hope that people are tending to do the right thing. The top brass of Enron couldn’t get a job cooking grub for the folks at the Babbitt Ranches. Check for yourself: BabbittRanches.com.
Cordasco says that diversity in the Babbitt family is responsible for their approach to the land. “There are people in the Babbitt family who love cattle and others who hate cattle. As a result they have sensitivity to various uses of the land.”
The Babbitt philosophy, said Cordasco, is simple. “Just Participate!” And they do.
Arizona trust land takes up much of the public part but the Babbitt Ranches must work with several land agencies to get done what it needs to get done to make a profit and manage it land.

Wildlife management is another issue facing public land managers. Now that a drought has the attention of the nation, finally, the land managers are looking for ways to get water to stressed animals.
The drought, if it persists, will contribute to the die out of some populations of wildlife so efforts to reduce die outs are a focus of public land managers. Hauling water is an obvious solution but public land managers don’t have the resources or know-how to get the job done.
That makes landowners such as the Babbitts bite their lips. They haul water to animals every day. They’re experts.
Facing lean budgets and other get-the-job-done woes, land managers are having to pick their battles. So they are hauling water to where they believe it will do the most good. For example, here on the Kaibab National Forest, Game and Fish Rep Rick Miller says the leopard frog is one lucky recipient of water. “We are hauling water to the last site known to have the last population of leopard frogs on the Kaibab.”
Knowing what to do with the leopard frog is fairly easy but there are other species that require help that don’t have obvious solutions such as water. The Spotted Bat, for example, needs some help before it loses its grip on survival.
Miller said the Spotted Bats, known for their Holstein cow patterns on their bodies, live with their young at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. “What we need to do is figure out what’s worth it to them to fly 25 miles from their homes and 5,000 feet in elevation over the canyon rim. “If we figure that out we can figure out how to help it.”
A big juicy moth is suspected to be worth the trip.


for Monday, August 26
North South Both




Biographical
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Team: South
Jan Nesset
An experienced outdoorsman, Jan Nesset knows that everyone has to pitch in at camp
A native of Montana and the third of four children, Jan Nesset joins American...
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List of All Journal Entries
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Wednesday, April 28
Jan Nesset
American Frontiers: Part II: Taking Stock
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Sunday, December 1
Jan Nesset
Canyonlands in December
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Thursday, November 21
Jan Nesset
Snow Raspberry Bounty
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Sunday, November 17
Jan Nesset
The Bisti Badlands
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Friday, November 15
Jan Nesset
Public Land Flows Through It
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Thursday, November 7
Jan Nesset
A Day At Earth Analytic's Home
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Tuesday, October 29
Jan Nesset
Slot Canyon Adventure
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Monday, October 28
Jan Nesset
Some Things Never Change
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Sunday, October 27
Jan Nesset
Back To The Wave
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Monday, October 7
Jan Nesset
The Thing About Summits
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Saturday, September 28
Jan Nesset
A New Beginning: National Public Lands Day
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Thursday, September 26
Jan Nesset
Big Day of Sneak and Salvage
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Wednesday, September 25
Jan Nesset
History-Coated Strawberry
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Tuesday, September 24
Jan Nesset
The Last Of It
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Monday, September 23
Jan Nesset
Dinosaurlandia
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Sunday, September 22
Jan Nesset
Over The Edge
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Saturday, September 21
Jan Nesset
God Bless America
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Friday, September 20
Jan Nesset
Sometimes It's A Tough Life And We Get To Do It
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Thursday, September 19
Jan Nesset
The Niche Near You
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Wednesday, September 18
Jan Nesset
Snow Day
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Tuesday, September 17
Jan Nesset
A Capitol Reef Bull's Eye
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Monday, September 16
Jan Nesset
A Lucky Rift
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Sunday, September 15
Jan Nesset
Riding The Hog's Back
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Saturday, September 14
Jan Nesset
Oh Rhythm My Rhythm
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Friday, September 13
Jan Nesset
Precious Images
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Thursday, September 12
Jan Nesset
From the Hole to the Staircase
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Wednesday, September 11
Jan Nesset
Happy Days
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Tuesday, September 10
Jan Nesset
Do You Believe In Magic?
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Monday, September 9
Jan Nesset
The Bridge Over the River Why
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Sunday, September 8
Jan Nesset
Public Lands And…Not You?
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Saturday, September 7
Jan Nesset
That Place So Special
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Friday, September 6
Jan Nesset
Just Looking To Have Some Fun – Be Dammed!
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Thursday, September 5
Jan Nesset
Do The Wave
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Wednesday, September 4
Jan Nesset
The Condors Are Coming!
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Tuesday, September 3
Jan Nesset
Fires Are For The Birds
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Monday, September 2
Jan Nesset
Back On Top
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Sunday, September 1
Jan Nesset
Perfection
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Saturday, August 31
Jan Nesset
The Wheels Have Left The Tarmac
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Friday, August 30
Jan Nesset
Star Light
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Thursday, August 29
Jan Nesset
The Traditional Connection
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Wednesday, August 28
Jan Nesset
Onward and Upward On Mountain Bikes
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Tuesday, August 27
Jan Nesset
Checkerboard Kings and Queens
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Monday, August 26
Jan Nesset
Aldo Leopold As Ranch Manager
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Sunday, August 25
Jan Nesset
A Story In Everything
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Saturday, August 24
Jan Nesset
Fire In The Whole
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Friday, August 23
Jan Nesset
"Good Morning, Flagstaff!"
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Thursday, August 22
Jan Nesset
Hoping For The Best
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Wednesday, August 21
Jan Nesset
Could Get Stinky
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Tuesday, August 20
Jan Nesset
Wheels Asunder
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Monday, August 19
Jan Nesset
Hurt Me, Thank You!
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Sunday, August 18
Jan Nesset
Roads Aplenty and Rocks of Pleasure
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Saturday, August 17
Jan Nesset
Of Dragons and Fire
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Friday, August 16
Jan Nesset
Motorcycles and the Zen of Route Mechanics
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Thursday, August 15
Jan Nesset
Puzzled
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Wednesday, August 14
Jan Nesset
A Day Off, Sort Of
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Tuesday, August 13
Jan Nesset
A Delightful, Light Day
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Monday, August 12
Jan Nesset
Courage On Eagle Mountain
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Sunday, August 11
Jan Nesset
Farewell
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Saturday, August 10
Jan Nesset
My Aching Back In The Saddle
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Friday, August 9
Jan Nesset
Back In The Saddle
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Thursday, August 8
Jan Nesset
In The Saddle
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Wednesday, August 7
Jan Nesset
Shut My Mouth!
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Tuesday, August 6
Jan Nesset
Diversity and Song
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Monday, August 5
Jan Nesset
An Unraveling
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Sunday, August 4
Jan Nesset
A Bagged Peak
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Saturday, August 3
Jan Nesset
Lines On A Map
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Friday, August 2
Jan Nesset
GPS-Marriage Made In Heaven
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Thursday, August 1
Jan Nesset
Free Wheelin'
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Wednesday, July 31
Jan Nesset
An Excellent Start
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