Triangle/Chino Winds NRCD
Our mission at the Triangle/Chino Winds NRCD is to advocate for all local agricultural producers. We are dedicated to coordinating with governing agencies and local landowners to achieve conservation goals.
Voices From The Past
By: Reuben Vernon
We Americans are known for having a very short memory. We all wear watches, but it seems we never have time to spare. One of my favorite parts of ranching is the constant contact with history that it provides. I still regularly encounter old yellow stock driveway signs left from the open range days, a constant reminder of how different life was for stockmen here a few short generations ago. In the summer 1863 the Army built the Overland Trail, connecting the Beal Wagon Road near Flagstaff to Prescott. They reportedly wore wool uniforms while building it. There are several cedar picket holding corrals along this route, with axe-cut posts and antique rusty wire holding them together. These all predate WWII, when fence
builders used axes and were built of sterner stuff than today.
Further back than that is the graffiti left by the stone age hunter-gatherers. They left very little evidence of their presence, which implies to me that making a living here without horses, cows or centerfire rifles was harder than we can appreciate. I would not want to attempt it.
While many of the experiences of people from that era are beyond our reach today, many of the things I do on a regular basis reflect closely. Everything from the smell of a good rain on a hot day, to the feeling of satisfaction from shoeing a horse, resonate with echoes of the past. The details obviously differ (I don’t wear wool in the summer), but realistically the regular activities of basic stockmanship haven’t substantively changed since 1800. It is a modern occupation with very old roots.
History may not always repeat itself, but it certainly does rhyme. The older I get, the more closely I listen to the wisdom of our forefathers for perspective. While historical context obviously matters a great deal, questions like why they tried so hard for over 80 years to extirpate wolves are worth asking. The trials of our forefathers, and the relative ease of daily life which we have experienced since, is worthy of circumspection. As is the safety and security that most of us take for granted. Modern conceit makes us think that our challenges are uniquely different, or more difficult, than those borne before us. A careful ear turned toward voices from the past might give us some valuable perspective.
Board Member Spotlight
The effort of raising up the next generation is often referred to as a legacy. Legacy in the agricultural industry can be how your father taught you characteristics to look for in replacement heifers or when and what crop to plant. What was handed down to you was valuable information that would sustain you and your land for years to come.
This generation’s ability to encourage and
inform the next is one of our most important jobs. Guiding the future in worthwhile projects and committees has become as essential as knowing our seasons and preparing for what they bring.
Legacy is not only what you were taught but is what you leave behind. It is the example that you set with your actions as well as your words. Shelley Blackmore comes from a long line of ranching. She was taught as a young girl to work hard and get the work done. Her family left a legacy of ranching in Arizona, and she has continued that tradition in her own life today. Shelley has also left a legacy with those outside of her family. She has rolled up her sleeves and given her time and efforts to increase the capacity of Triangle Natural Resource Conservation District. Locally Led conservation concerns and solutions have been her primary goal. She does not take no for an answer when problems persist. Her fellow board members have never heard Shelley say, “It can’t be done”.
Persistence and dedication define her efforts and are why Shelley Blackmore is the 2022 AACD Teddy Roosevelt recipient