Checking in with APR
First, a big thanks to the Courier’s editor, James Walling, for agreeing to provide a forum for the start of this conversation. While the Q&A format has its limits, it has allowed us to get a good feel for the kinds of misinformation that is shaping opinions of our organization in Glasgow. And, wow, is there a lot of misinformation out there!
For starters, you can rest assured that there is absolutely zero truth to statements from opinion pieces on these pages that APR received any kind of preferential treatment from any state or federal agencies, just as there’s zero truth to the idea that we are relying on anything other than scientific data to guide our research and land management policies. And the idea that we are trying to kick people off of their land in order to establish this park is completely at odds with the evidence, including our willing buyer/willing seller land acquisition model and our Wild Sky rancher program, which not only encourages people to stay and ranch but provides financial incentives to do so. This only skims the surface of the apparent misunderstanding of our project based on the questions we received.
Despite this disconnect, we’re not giving up on reaching an understanding with the people of Glasgow. As we stated in earlier responses, American Prairie Reserve has not been able to focus on large-scale outreach until now — we simply didn’t have enough people on staff to do so. We do conduct person-to-person meetings on a daily basis in and around the Reserve, and have found them to be the best way to really connect with our neighbors.
And if this Q&A series is any indication, that has not changed. Even as we have tried to address your questions as fully as possible within the length constraints, much goes unsaid. We very much want to establish an open dialogue with members of this community, but I’m afraid this format has limitations. That said, I encourage you to talk with members of our team one-on-one at our next community event in Glasgow. I know from our person-to-person meetings that our neighbors come to see that what we have in common — largely, the love of this landscape and the desire to take part in its stewardship — is far more powerful than any differences we have regarding how that is done.
We don’t need to see eye to eye on everything in order to treat you and your ideas with respect. We know from experience that when people are willing to do the same with us, we can bridge the misinformation gap and have the kinds of conversations that result in a better understanding.