Tag Archives: Wally McRae

Ravage Her, Ravage Her, Leave Her in Heaps: Update

courtesy: Kickstarter

courtesy: Kickstarter

A film clip from a documentary in the making:

“Things of Intrinsic Worth”

about Clint and Wally McRae’s efforts to save their ranch, community and culture.


April 29, 2013

May 31, 2013

Ravage Her, Ravage Her, Leave Her in Heaps: Links

Photo by David T. Hanson from the The Design Observer Group.  "Strip mine and abandoned farm, 1985"

Photo by David T. Hanson
from the The Design Observer Group. “Strip mine and abandoned farm, 1985”

Warren Buffet’s Coal Problem

Photo Gallery: David T. Hanson

Arch Coal Posts $70 Million Loss

Arch Coal, Inc. (ACI) stock chart

Arch Coal Laying Off 750 Workers in Appalachia

In Montana, Ranchers Line Up Against Coal

Federal Court Backs EPA Regulation of Mountaintop Removal

H. Paul Moon Video of Wallace McRae: ‘Things of Intrinsic Worth’


                                                            And nobody knows…or nobody cares…
                                                                  – Wallace McRae (“Things of Intrinsic Worth”)

My blood boiled after reading the April 26, 2013, L.A. Times piece, “In Montana, ranchers line up against coal,” (LA Times) not because Wally McRae is my friend, not because he’s been battling corporate coal miners since the mid-‘80s, but because it sounds so terribly familiar to our own thirteen-year rock and gravel battle on Dry Creek.

On the one side are the corporations, governments, towns and municipalities who expect to benefit from the growth derived from a one-time extraction of value, and they run the show. On the other are the Enviros and a few ranchers doomed to lose a generational livelihood of harvesting the renewable resources of grass and water with cattle. And with the loss of that livelihood, we all lose those elements of character and common sense that can only be acquired with hands-on experience of living with the land—things of intrinsic worth.

It’s really not a political battle of Democrats vs. Republicans, because the two parties are on the same side, because economic growth equates to votes, especially in hard times. Most of us involved in agriculture get paid once a year, and whether building a herd of cows or planting trees, we have to think in longer terms. Corporations think quarterly and local governments are always looking for the quick fix that growth promises, little thinking that after the infrastructure is in place, the opportunities for employment go away, leaving them poorer than before without the economic infusion that came from agriculture based on renewable resources.

Whether fracking in New England, oil exploration in the mid-West, or mining coal in the Powder River Basin, we’re all to blame for ravaging the earth for old energy sources when feasible alternatives are now available. Hauling coal nine miles through Wally’s ranch to be shipped overseas is more than an issue of eminent domain, but rings unpleasantly of Chinese Colonialism to me—but alas, now part of the price of a capitalistic planet.

Wally’s World

 Elko, 2009, by Jeri L. Dobrowski

© 2009 Jeri L. Dobrowski



Please take a moment to read about this battle brewing in southeastern Montana.



LA Times: ‘In Montana, ranchers line up against coal’





Remember that sandrock on Emmells Crick
Where dad carved his name in ‘thirteen?
It’s been blasted down into rubble
And interred with their dragline machine.
Where Fadhis lived, at the old Milar place,
Where us kids stole melons at night?
The’d ‘dozed it up in a funeral pyre
Then torched it. It’s gone alright.
The “C” on the hill, and the water tanks
Are now classified “reclaimed land.”
They’re thinking of building a golf course
Out there, so I understand.
The old Egan homestead’s an ash pond
That they say is eighty feet deep.
The branding corral at the Douglas camp
Is underneath a spoil heap.
And across the crick is a tipple, now,
Where they load coal onto a train.
The Mae West Rock on Hay Coulee?
Just black-and-white snapshots remain.
There’s a railroad loop and a coal storage shed
Where the bison kill site used to be.
The Guy place is gone, Ambrose’s too.
Beulah Farley’s a ranch refugee.

But things are booming. We’ve got this new school
That’s envied across the whole state.
When folks up and ask, “How’s things goin’ down there?”
I grin like a fool and say, “Great!”
Great God, how we’re doin’! We’re rollin’ in dough,
As they tear and they ravage The Earth.
And nobody knows…or nobody cares…
About things of intrinsic worth.

By Wallace McRae