Ramona Hage is the daughter of Wayne Hage, rancher and author of “Sagebrush Rebellion.” Her family has been in conflict with the BLM, the Forest Service and other government agencies since 1978. They have fought in federal court in three major cases and other water adjudications, “Just to defend what we were lawfully allowed to do in the first place,” she says.
This video was recorded in January of 2015 at the National Press Club’s meeting of the CSPOA (Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association). Copyright CSPOA.
This interview with young Cody Parker was conducted in 2005 on Bobby Parker’s front porch in the Mojave Preserve. Bobby was trenching a new water line with his privately-owned water directly adjacent to his cabin when Ranger Dingman, with the National Park Service arrived with another ranger. Dingman demanded that Bobby stop trenching and pulled his gun out. Bobby’s adopted dad, Leo Spatziani, saw what was happening and went to his pickup truck, pulled out his rifle, held it up in the air and told the rangers to leave. A few days later, Leo was arrested for assaulting a federal officer and ultimately convicted. The then 66 year old spent six months in prison. This is an excerpt from one of the interviews with Cody recalling what had happened. The interview sound bite itself is unedited, so you hear Ms. Catania’s voice in the background.
“I was there the night she had the heart attack” (J.C. Kelley, American Coal Miner, New River, 2005)
This interview was conducted in 2005 on New River Road in Hinton, West Virginia. According to sources there, the National Park Service at first told the residents that they would fix the road and wanted permission to do so, but that mandate was changed by creating “scenic parkway,” focusing on “land acquisition options for resource protection.” The residents fought but many gave up. Some passed away during the process. Years later, many of the homes taken away from the original owners to “preserve the beauty of the river” lie in disrepair and much of the property has been resold and subsequently redeveloped by others.
EXCERPT FROM THE INTERVIEW:
INTERVIEWER: What do you think is going to happen?
JC KELLEY: Well, you can’t fight city hall. They’ll eventually take it away from you because they got more time and money than we got. Just like uh, just like uh Doug Talbert says that we can wait ’til some of the people dies, and which they have.
INTERVIEWER: Have people gotten sick over this, has this been hard on people?
JC KELLEY: (TALKS OVER) Yes. I know of one lady that it killed. It killed one lady.
INTERVIEWER: Who was that?
JC KELLEY: Uh it killed uh, uh–
INTERVIEWER: Was that Mabel?
JC KELLEY: Mabel Flannigan’s the one it killed. I was there the night she had the heart attack when she seen the picture.
INTERVIEWER: What picture?
JC KELLEY: Of uh, the one they had computerized for her and had her home gone. Where it took her home away from her right up here. And she said that night that she would uh die in her house before she’d let them take it, and she, they had to force her to go to the doctor and to the store and stuff. She would not leave her home. And she died right there in her house.
JC KELLEY: I was there the night she had the heart attack. I was there the night she got sick.
Cindy and Tommy Mullens spent 12 years building their dream home on the New River in Hinton, West Virginia, only to be forced off when the National Park Service began seizing property along what was going to be a scenic byway.
After dozens of landowners relinquished their homes, many of the properties fell into disrepair. We noted some that were fenced in, falling down and blighted. According to the residents, some of the land that was seized was sold to a lumber company by the Park Service and private homes with new owners were rebuilt on the areas that had originally been confiscated.
This is a short excerpt (1:30) from a longer interview with Cindy Mullens. To see the longer version of her unedited interview (questions were taken out to avoid distraction, but the interview is presented as it occurred in 2005).
And here’s the full interview with Cindy:
For more information, go to http://www.sustainingamerica.com
Wayne Hage, Sr., interviewed here shortly before his death in 2006 at the age of 69, struggled for years to preserve his rights as an American property owner and dedicated rancher. His book, “Storm Over Rangelands,” is an important chronicle of what has happened in the West in the last three decades.
It is largely because of Wayne that I am making these films. He made me promise to tell the stories.