By Gabriella Morrongiello –
A group of horseback riders and grassroots activists rode into Washington, D.C., last week after traveling nearly 2,800 miles from the California coast to raise awareness about the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to revoke their grazing rights and the federal government’s extensive ownership of land and natural resources in the West.
The group, which calls itself the Grass March Cowboy Express, departed from Bodega Bay, Calif., for a transcontinental ride to deliver petitions and personal testimony about abuses by the federal government in states such as Nevada, Utah and Kansas. The riders often traveled 12 to 15 hours per day along state highways to ensure their punctual arrival in the nation’s capital 20 days later.
Although small in size—only 11 riders went the whole distance—the group arrived in Washington with substantial demands.
“I was born and bred to be a rancher and to have your life taken from you, they just shouldn’t have that power,” Eddyann Filippini, a fourth-generation rancher from Battle Mountain, Nev., told The Daily Signal.
According to the ranchers, the Bureau of Land Management has improperly restricted their access to private and publicly owned land and denied them the opportunity to graze livestock on land they own or lease from the federal government, despite having grazing permits from the agency to do so.
“It’s regulation without representation. It’s tyranny is what it is,” said Filippini.