Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens as President Donald Trump announces that the United States will designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
SALT LAKE CITY — Reporters on occasion show up to Dugout Ranch to press Heidi Redd for her views on land, the West and the changing nature of what appears to most who come here to be a spectacular unchanging landscape of red rock cliffs and open space.
The New York Times showed up 20 years ago when Heidi was 55 years old, divorced, and trying to figure out a way to save this expansive cattle ranch about an hour’s drive south of Moab. The answer then was to sell it to the Nature Conservancy which made a commitment to keep Redd here, keep the ranching life alive, and also use some of the land as an ecological preserve. It made national news.
In the summer of 2016, KSL and the Deseret News were here, looking at one of the ranch projects. As John Hollenhorst wrote: “Scientists at the ranch about 20 miles northwest of Monticello are currently monitoring 4,000 young cottonwood trees that volunteers planted last year as part of an elaborate climate experiment. It’s just one of several research projects aimed at the future of ranching and the health of Western landscapes in the face of climate change.”
Our Deseret News reporters were back here again in May, chronicling the information-gathering hike Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had with Redd. The hike was at the Dugout Ranch, which now resides in the Indian Creek region of the year-old Bears Ears National Monument. The Interior secretary wanted to hear the views of someone who is both an environmentalist and a cattle rancher. Redd had his ear.
She’s worked hard to keep a strong measure of stability during her 50 years on the ranch. We went back there this week with Deseret News reporter Jesse Hyde joining her at the ranch for a conversation about what’s next for the land and the impact President Donald Trump’s actions in Utah Monday are expected to have here.
“It’s time to sit down and make a master plan. We’ve avoided it because we keep fighting about…