Western Lands Preservation logo
Western Lands Preservation logo WesternLandsPreservation.com



Founder's Blog – 18 February 2023

So we attended the 2023 Western Hunting and Conservation Expo here in Salt Lake City recently.  Even though it is mainly geared towards hunting, we figured there would be a lot about the outdoors and might spark some ideas for WLP.

First thing I noticed was the massive Mule Deer Foundation booth front and center.  Of course, I had to go talk with them and see what they were up to.  I had heard of their name before, but did not know what they did.  Learned that the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works on conserving the habitat of the mule deer and black-tailed deer.  Sounds similar to WLP, right?  That's what I first thought, too.

Thoughts on Mule Deer Foundation . . .

  • MDF does not own any of their land.  They work purely with leases and contracts letting them do work on land, but they never own anything.  As a non-profit/NGO, even if they did have land, they wouldn't really own it and have no stake in it (see more details of this reasoning on our Why For Profit page).  But, they don't even own any of the land they don't really own.  That is like plus ungood!
  • MDF may be a private organization, but they do the government's work.  The vast majority of land they work on is government land, made available to them through leases.  But ever since we Americans reached the West Coast and the Census Bureau said there was no more frontier, the US has been very, ahem, protective, of their land.  The land the government leases to the MDF may be improved, but it will never be able to be enjoyed by many people.  That's the difference in our visions.  WLP is working to let others enjoy nature, not to make it nice and then hoard it from the evil heartless humans who will gleefully destroy it.
  • Near the end of my conversation with MDF's Director of Outreach, he said that I should contact the folks at MDF to sign over WLP's land to them as a lease.  Then they could work on it and improve it like they do so many other tracts.  Gracious, they want to take our land!

The point of that last mention is that the MDF was against our philosophy of leaving our land in its natural state.  To them, if we're not doing something to improve it, then we are letting it be destroyed.  I believe this approach reeks of hubris.  There are no signs anything has been ruined on WLP's Preserve, and I don't think it's right to try to turn it into how we think it may have looked before, or how we think it should look, even if it's a noble goal like building wildlife habitat.  At this stage, it's best to keep it from being affected as is.

And there you are.  Just some thoughts from me after a conversation with the Mule Deer Foundation, who by the way, spends about 33% of their funds on salaries, benefits, conferences, conventions and meetings (from their 2020 990 Form filed with the IRS).

Could not help but share this picture from a recent winter snowshoeing trip to Wyoming in March of 2023.  There was plenty of snow that made the landscapes beautiful, when we spotted this wolf.  This is the first wolf I've seen in the wild.

– Steven Whitney

First Preserve
12 September 2022
First Member Hike
5 August 2023