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The news out of Oregon is not good. A few armed crackpots have taken over the unoccupied headquarters building at a wildlife refuge in order to protest the incarceration of a couple of ranchers who were convicted of arson.

Nobody should break the law in this way. But the history behind this standoff goes a long way back. And Ozarks residents probably hear some familiar notes in the complaints of the ranchers. In a smaller and more geographically limited way, the creation of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways caused the same kind of wounded feelings, and had an impact on the lives of longtime residents, as the actions of the Bureau of Land Management did out West.

Any time a government agency moves in to take control of land for a perceived greater public benefit, or to take ownership of privately owned land, the same tensions will come up.

Here’s an interesting article on the history of land acquisition by the National Park Service for the Ozark Riverways.

 

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