Unlikely Allies: Owyhees Initiative unites warring factions


That need for patience started eight years ago when an unlikely group first came together to find a solution for what to do with the Owyhees. With a combination that included Owyhee County ranchers, conservationists and recreational user groups, no one was quite sure what to expect.

…."We didn't think it would work," admitted Craig Gehrke, regional director of the Wilderness Society. "[We'd been] trading barbs for so many years with Owyhee County. Harsh things were said all the way around. "It took a long time for everyone to get off their high horse," he said.

….Those tenuous first meetings were full of small but measurable successes. "You don't know how many Rolaids we went through," Gehrke said. "We went in with low expectations, but enough positive [was] coming out to continue." Of course, the mark of a successful meeting at the beginning was if no one threw a chair, Gehrke said.