So many people cave in and bend over backwards to accommodate the most ridiculous requests of federal and state governments, but this story is a reminder of how we all should respond when bureaucrats come knocking at our doors.
Recently, Oregon ranchers Larry and Amanda Anderson received a letter by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife asking for permission to survey their land in order to track a nearly endangered species. The letter requested use of the landowners’ creek to document the amphibian life represented, specifically the foothill yellow-legged frog which is noted to have recently declined in population. If the Anderson’s agreed to give the department access, they were ensured as being responsible for “the conservation of this important species.”
But the Andersons weren’t exactly interested and noticed an opportunity to turn the tables on the request and apply a little “Golden Rule” justice, or at least doing unto the government as is so often done unto them.
The Andersons constructed one of the best come-back letters of all time. The only way to truly appreciate it is to read it in its entirety:
Dear Mr. Niemela:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding accessing our property to survey for the yellow-legged frog. We may be able to help you out with this matter.
We have divided our 2.26 acres into 75 equal survey units with a draw tag for each unit. Application fees are only $8.00 per unit after you purchase the “Frog Survey License” ($120.00 resident / $180.00 Non-Resident). You will also need to obtain a “Frog Habitat” parking permit ($10.00 per vehicle). You will also need an “Invasive Species” stamp ($15.00 for the first vehicle and $5.00 for each add’l vehicle) You will also want to register at the Check Station to have your vehicle inspected for non-native plant life prior to entering our property. There is also a Day Use fee, $5.00 per vehicle.
If you are successful in the Draw you will be notified two weeks in advance so you can make necessary plans and purchase your “Creek Habitat” stamp. ($18.00 Resident / $140.00 Non-Resident). Survey units open between 8am and 3pm but you cannot commence survey until 9am and must cease all survey activity by 1pm.
Survey Gear can only include a net with a 2″ diameter made of 100% organic cotton netting with no longer than an 18″ handle, non-weighted and no deeper than 6′ from net frame to bottom of net. Handles can only be made of BPA-free plastics or wooden handles. After 1pm you can use a net with a 3″ diameter if you purchase the “Frog Net Endorsement” ($75.00 Resident / $250 Non-Resident). Any frogs captured that are released will need to be released with an approved release device back into the environment unharmed.
As of June 1, we are offering draw tags for our “Premium Survey” units and application is again only $8.00 per application. However, all fees can be waived if you can verify Native Indian Tribal rights and status.
You will also need to provide evidence of successful completion of “Frog Surveys and You” comprehensive course on frog identification, safe handling practices, and self-defense strategies for frog attacks. This course is offered online through an accredited program for a nominal fee of $750.00.
Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you. Otherwise, we decline your access to our property but appreciate your inquiry.
Larry & Amanda Anderson