–By Amy Brunvand
In January, armed militants occupied the Malheur bird refuge in Oregon demanding a “right” to pillage public lands for their own profit. Naturally, there is a Utah connection, and it’s not just the overheated political rhetoric surrounding the Transfer of Public Lands Act signed by Governor Herbert in 2012.
Members of the self-appointed militia say they are inspired by Mormon religion and that God told them to occupy the refuge.
The LDS Church issued an official statement that “Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those who have seized the facility suggest that they are doing so based on scriptural principles.”
In any case, it seems that God directed the anti-federalist anger at the wrong target. The management plan for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is a model example of stakeholders working with federal government to find common ground through public dialog.
High Desert Partnership: highdesertpartnership.org