Maybell residents don't deserve racist label

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To the Editor:

I was shocked to see that Maybell had been labeled as a "white supremacist enclave that is a breeding ground for racists activities."

I know firsthand that the good people of Maybell do not deserve that label not by any stretch of the imagination. The people of Maybell that I know are real salt-of-the-earth types that would do anything to help you out if you were in need. It is unfortunate that they have been slighted for no good reason.

I was equally shocked to see the quote in Thursday's Craig Daily Press attributed to Mr. Larry Spalding saying that Bureau of Land Management workers "act like Nazis." When asked if that was too harsh, Mr. Spalding replied "Ask a Jew who lived in Germany in 1936 that question."

Come now Mr. Spalding, what on earth are you talking about? Have BLM employees been rounding up innocent people and imprisoning them simply because they happen to belong to a certain ethnic group? Forcing them from their homes and making them wear easily identifiable stars pinned to their clothing? Building gas chambers?

Of course not. Your comparison is ludicrous, reckless and totally unwarranted.

I have never met Mr. Spalding. As someone named in the "Heinrich Himmler Award" list, I have recently become interested in his Web site. It actually contains a lot of information about Maybell and Northwest Colorado that is interesting, amusing and useful.

It also contains many baseless accusations and misinformation. Regarding the anecdotes about BLM, I would suggest he get his facts straight, because as posted they are misleading and inaccurate. I was particularly interested in the story about "taking down this little old man," Mr. Klumpker.

The facts are that Mr. Klumpker approached Ranger Merrill voluntarily to come clean about his artifact collection, much of which he admitted was illegally collected from public lands. Being sensitive to the facts of the situation, particularly Mr. Klumpker's age, Ranger Merrill worked to find a way to handle the unusual case without citing Mr Klumpker for a violation of the law. The visits to Mr. Klumpker's house were by invitation and Ranger Merrill kept the Moffat County Sheriff Department informed of what was going on; no illegal entry, no forceful confiscation of the entire collection. When Mr. Klumpker changed his mind about turning in his collection, the portion of the collection that was in Ranger Merrill's possession was returned to Mr. Klumpker, no citations were issued, case closed. Ranger Merrill's handling of this case was professional, sensitive to the peculiarities of the situation, and respectful of Mr. Klumpker's civil rights.

The employees of the Bureau of Land Management, as well as those of the other natural resource management agencies, manage the public land and resources that belong to all Americans according to the laws of the land passed by your representatives in Congress and signed into law by the President. They do this in the most professional manner and under circumstances that are often difficult. The laws that we administer are not popular with some, I fully understand that. In fact, no matter what program we are engaged in; leasing coal and oil and gas, allowing responsible grazing, selling forest products, protecting cultural resources, fighting wildfires, preserving public access to public lands, protecting wilderness values you name it and there are those on every side of the issue who don't like what we do, but we follow the law of the land.

I am very proud of the public servants in the resource management agencies, BLM and the others, and the outstanding job they do managing public lands for all Americans.

As to whether Mr. Spalding's Web site portrays Maybell as racist, I encourage you to do what the Craig Daily Press suggested: go to www.maybell.org and look around. Decide for yourself.

As to the accusations that BLM employees "act like Nazis," Mr. Spalding is way out of line.

John Husband,

Field manager, BLM Little Snake Field Office

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