Larry. A Human of the Working Wild
Humans of the Working Wild is a collection of stories from people in the West who are living, recreating and working with and among wildlife on working lands, lightly edited from their own spoken words. Humans of the Working Wild speaks across the rural-urban divide, sharing common human experiences on working lands that provide important wildlife habitat. We are inspired by one of the most successful profile series of all time, Humans of New York.
“I moved to Idaho from England and prior to that lived in Manhattan. In those days, I was working in television news. When I made the decision to move to Idaho, it was a conscious decision to completely reorder my life, how I live, where I live, what I would do. I was very selective about where to move and chose the Blaine County community, which for a long time has been among the fastest growing counties in the United States. I got involved in public life pretty quickly and served as a Blaine County Commissioner from 2007-2019.
“Before I served as county commissioner, I was farming full time. I raise small grain and forage crops. Today, I farm only my own property and one leased property and on both, manage to balance farming with what is essentially native area and wildlife habitat. So, creek bed and forest and scrubland which is full of wildlife, full of game and watchable wildlife as well.
You know, we may own this property, but it was here a long time before I ever got here.Larry.
“I’ve lived in a lot of places, both in this country and abroad and it’ll be thirty one years in March on this property. And one of the things I think about is the sense of place. Coming to understand the natural rhythms of the place. Using all of your senses, really to feel and understand and appreciate what is already there. You know, we may own this property, but it was here a long time before I ever got here.
“One of my highest priorities is the protection of nature. Pristine habitat and wildlife. My farm operation has experienced a lot of depredation, particularly from ungulates grazing my crops, bedding down in my crops, trailing through my crops. You know, that’s been a challenge, not just financially, but I guess I would say emotionally and intellectually. But, there has to be a place for wildlife.
“Having been involved with the Wood River Wolf Project for 13 years now, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. I’m very proud of demonstrating that it’s possible for humans and wolves to share the same landscape with minimal harm to either. We ought to do the best we can to coexist with all forms of life on this planet. In my world view, it’s not just about us, it’s about all beings.
I always felt very strongly, and when I ran for county commissioner, I campaigned on the idea that rural and urban are two sides of one coin. Urban communities and rural communities depend upon each other for a whole.Larry.
“I always felt very strongly, and when I ran for county commissioner, I campaigned on the idea that rural and urban are two sides of one coin. Urban communities and rural communities depend upon each other for a whole. Even before I was county commissioner, I was on a volunteer committee tasked by the then county commissioners to think about ways in which we can accommodate urban growth, but not disrupt rural landscapes.
“Among the ideas gleaned from all this study we did was the idea of transferable development rights, also known as TDRs. So, you get more density near the urban centers and you’re also paying the landowner a fee by buying their development rights. These types of programs are important in the sense of being environmentally responsible and finding a sustainable way of living in a world of ever-increasing population and demand for resources.”