In 1996, I had an anguished question on my mind: why didn’t environmentalists and ranchers get along better? In theory they shared many of the same hopes and fears – a love of wildlife, a deep respect for nature, an appreciation for a life lived outdoors, and a common concern for healthy water, land, food. . . That was the theory anyway…I felt anguished because this fight had all the hallmarks of a tragedy; both sides, and all of us in between, seemed destined to lose what was most valued by everyone-the health and diversity of the West’s wide open spaces and the wild animals that live there. . .lost to urban development and misplaced values. ~ Revolution on the Range, the Rise of the New Ranch in the American West, Courtney White
Today’s wild and working landscapes are very different than they were 100 years ago. This is the reality we must all work within. Considering increased human population and additional competition for open space, the human created boundary between ‘wild’ and ‘working’ lands has become unsustainable. As large predators, such as wolves, often depend on the large tracts of land that private ranches provide, co-occurrence of predators and cattle is certain. With this reality, we believe in the need to recognize and respect multiple views and values and the need to take steps toward each other vs away from each other.
We look forward instead of backwards; towards a transformation of mindset, actions, and activities that will ensure that healthy wild-working landscapes can adapt and thrive in the modern world.
WC recognizes that ranching, wildlife and land conservation efforts are not linear processes-nor can we continue to look at them as completely separate efforts. Conservation requires a strategic, meaningful, and comprehensive approach to ensure continuing success. WC partners with ranch families to discover and implement viable solutions to modern challenges so that working ranches and wildlife can succeed on shared landscapes.
We seek bigger-picture thinking as we strive to address the on-going concerns and conflicts both on the ground and socially surrounding large carnivore conservation and ranch sustainability. The vision is long-term and we believe that there are no short-cuts. Thus we recognize that implementation takes significant effort, time, patience, and resources.
"Focusing on growing what we want instead of fighting what we fear or don't understand is what achieves the results we are seeking." ~ Hilary Anderson, Crazy D Ranch The WC model works with the collective understanding that we are all learning together. Though we continue to make great strides forward and have demonstrated significant success, we make no promises of having all the answers or guaranteed solutions to predator-livestock conflict. WC is committed to ensuring best-practices in all of our efforts as we work to merge local knowledge and experiences with outside expertise and approaches that have demonstrated success in other areas. As such, we seek to support proactive wolf-livestock conflict reduction strategies along with regenerative land management strategies suitable to each region’s unique and diverse landscape and ranching operations.
Working Circle does not engage in political or legal activities; our focus is on-the-ground in the context of where ranchers ranch and wildlife resides--where it matters the most.
WC recognizes that each individual cattle rancher and operation needs to make their own decisions as to what level, or individual program components to engage in based on their needs, ability, and desire. WC is committed to meeting, supporting, and serving people where they are at.
Trust and relationships are the foundation for our work. We believe that openness of mind and heart are key to finding a better way forward for all involved.
Working Circle aims to create a space where diverse values and perspectives can confidently come together
“No other effort could have made the inroads that you have. Your approach is smart! And it’s working, for ranchers and for wolves. Unlike other groups that go around the root of the issue, you are willing to go right through it. It’s been enlightening to watch this unfold and it’s been an honor to work with you.” ~ Wildlife Project Manager (retired), California Department of Fish and Wildlife