The Eco-Terrorist Shell Game – The Wildlife News

Enemies of Intelligent Conservation Disguised As Preservationists?

Who is behind the curtain at The Wildlife News? And who is George Wuerthner?

These are the first questions we need to answer in order to understand the motives for the screed that was published at The Wildlife News titled: 

‘WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE, PRESERVATIONISTS DON’T NEED ENEMIES (Feral Horses and Cascade Siskiyou NM), written by George Wuerthner. 

Wuerthner’s article attempts to disparage Vermont University’s excellent criticism of the poor management record of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (‘CSNM’) and the cited evidence of the mismanagement, which includes a failure to prevent wildfires from incinerating the CSNM. The recent accomplishments of Vermont Law University Environmental Advocacy Clinic are cited HERE:

Further, in contrast to settled-science, Wuerthner insists on improperly labeling wild horses as other than ‘native’ to the region.

At first glance, Mr. Wuerthner seems to be an independent writer-contributor, that is the visual disclosure made by The Wildlife News:

However, by hitting the ‘About’ button on the main webpage the viewer heads down the rabbit hole of failed disclosure to an interesting discovery:


The Wildlife News is now a project of Sage Steppe Wild, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to protecting our public lands and the wildlife that depend on them.

So now the question arises, who is the ‘Sage Steppe Wild

By clicking on the ‘About Us’ button at the Sage Steppe Wild, the following is displayed:

Meet our Board

George Wuerthner (President) – George is a professional photographer, writer, and ecologist. He has visited hundreds of mountain ranges around the West, more than 400 wilderness areas, more than 200 national park units, and every national forest west of the Mississippi. George is the author of 38 books on environmental issues and natural history including Welfare Ranching, Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, Energy: The Delusion of Endless Growth and Overdevelopment, Thrillcraft, and Keeping the Wild. His most recent publication is Protecting the Wild.

Ah ha!   

So, as we see, Mr. Wuerthner pretends to be published by an independent third party when he has merely published his tirade himself.  So much for building trust. It seems Wuerthner has demonstrated his willingness to allow deception of readers via a clear lack of disclosure. 

As it turns out, The Wildlife News is arguably George’s personal blog.

A smoke and mirrors deception that is arguably intentionally designed to fool most readers who Wuerthner knows won’t take the time to make a deep dive into the due diligence.

With that cleared up, there seems to be a debate about George Wuerthner’s article posted in his publication. So now, given the deception we’ve already uncovered, one might wonder about the commentors there. Are they real? Or are some or all of them merely avatars of George? 

Is he feigning interest in his article via more chicanery?

George seems to be more of traveling vagabond than anything, pursuant to his own claimed accolades; “visited hundreds of mountain ranges around the West, more than 400 wilderness areas, more than 200 national park units, and every national forest west of the Mississippi”.

It takes little imagination to realize that what is claimed would take a lifetime of days by itself, unless his idea of ‘visiting’ is via books and online? So, is this just more deception or maybe he’s counting online visits or book reviews to such places?

And without a real job, how does George fund his amazing travel escapades? Do the donors of the various nonprofits where he’s been provide the funding for these hundreds of vacation trips, or are they funded via a salary to George paid for with donations? Book and photo royalties are likely not nearly enough to fund living expenses for even one person combined with traveling expenses. I know, I am also a published author (Ulysses Press – The Nautical Prepper). 

At yet another of the many nonprofits where George’s bio appears it states the following:

“George Wuerthner is an ecologist who has been studying predators for four decades. In particular, he has been involved in wolf restoration efforts in Montana, and for years lived near Yellowstone National Park. He is also a licensed guide in Yellowstone National Park. He is the former Ecological Projects Director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology, and is currently the executive director of Public Lands Media.”

In a rebuff to an article printed about Mr. Weurthner by the Montana Stockgrowers Assn, he seemed to brag as follows:

“… the Montana Stockgrowers Association branded me the “Ralph Nader of the West.” It was not meant as a compliment. I’m not exactly sure what set them off. Perhaps it was something I’d said while president of the National Wolf Growers Association about wanting to restore wolves not only to Yellowstone, but throughout the West. Maybe they didn’t like my slogan praising the health benefits of eating meat – -Beef, real food for real dead people.” Maybe it’s because I have been known to say, in an unguarded moment, that the rancher’s cherished lifestyle should more appropriately be called a “deathstyle,” and that the dewatered rivers, wolfless mountains, and trashed riparian zones are epitaphs and tombstones to their way of life.”

The problem with George Weurthner’s brand of preservation, rewilding and wildlife management is that he has a ridiculous, myth-driven ‘one-shoe fits all’ belief that is not compliant with the compelling economic and political realities on the North American continent. Simply put, you can’t have wolves, mountain lions or wild horses running down the streets of towns and cities, no more so than having factories or football stadiums in the middle of longstanding wilderness areas. We have to manage each situation and area according to what’s best for the ecosystem and wildlife, and for the health, safety and well-being (includes financial well-being) of Americans.  And there is a clear path to accomplishing the needs for all stakeholders and the wildlife in a sensible manner that is a win-win-win for all stakeholders and the wildlife.

These links provide the sort answers to proper wild horse management in a manner where all stakeholders win big, including taxpayers, ranchers and the wildlife (wild horses) wilderness advocates:


Nevertheless, the fact remains, George Wuerthner has very little, if any, genuine empirical experience and in-depth boots-on-the-ground experience with forest management, wildfires, or wild horses. I have to even question his knowledge of wolves, because his idea of re-introducing wolves into areas where livestock production has been underway for 2-centuries, which has resulted in a differential livestock-evolved ecological landscape, is begging for trouble ecologically and economically. Wolves need to be in deep wilderness, not on the Wildland Urban Interface (‘WUI’), not in longstanding livestock production areas, and not wandering in the streets of towns. Wolves need to be in the presence of their natural co-evolved prey, which happen to include horses as well as deer, elk and other cervids. We also know that lions and bears are also the natural co-evolved predators of horses.

In the real world of people who actually work in the areas of wild horses, forestry and wildfire on a daily basis, from my perspective, George Wuerthner is merely an occasional bystander attempting to form an opinion through his binoculars and telephoto lens over a sandwich.

The Vermont Law Environmental Advocacy Clinic’s criticism of the past 24 years of management of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument was spot-on, and derived from many of the BLM’s self-admissions via what was not accomplished over the last 24-years (found in the 2000 CSNM Range Management Plan – ‘RMP’) and continues to be listed as to-dos in the recently proposed updated Range Management Plan (RMP).

Wildfire prevention and mitigative vegetative management in the CSNM have been complete failures. 

Mr. Wuerthner conveniently left-out provision of a link to Vermont Law University’s Letter since he clearly wanted to censor and selectively offer his skewed interpretation of that Letter. The Clinic’s Letter can be found HERE

Unlike George, I have lived full-time on the southern edge of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument and Soda Mountain Wilderness for the past decade (10-years), studying the ecosystem daily, with a focus on the behavioral ecology of the wild heritage horses here. It has been my life for the past 10-years, full-time. And other than time-out writing about this amazing ecosystem and the co-evolved flora and fauna, I am in the field making observational study daily. Additionally, I have done 10 years of observational range analysis of the effects of the wildfire-grazing by all of the combined local herbivores, including the deer, elk and heritage horses.  

In August of 2019, I completed my preliminary 5-year Study (2014-2019) of the ecological benefits of the heritage horses on and around the CSNM, which was published by ReWilding Europe at their wildfire-focused online journal ‘GrazeLIFE’.

Then in October 2019, I took Lauren Brown (BLM CSNM ‘Monument’ Manager) and her boss Elizabeth Berghard (BLM District Manager-Medford OR) on a nature hike into the area of the CSNM near the California border, which they’d never seen before, even though they manage it.

CSNM Manager Lauren Brown (left) Elizabeth Berghard BLM District Manager (rt). Photo: William E. Simpson II

Both Lauren and Elizabeth saw huge snags that had been struck by lightning and burned furiously, but the fire was held in check to a very limited area around the snags by the grazing of the ground fuels by the heritage horses, which had clearly been in the area as evidenced by aged horse dung. 

Left to right: Elizabeth Burghard, William Simpson, Lauren Brown.

As is seen, I have some great selfies of myself with Elizabeth and Lauren, and photos of both Elizabeth and Lauren (BLM) standing together by one of the burned snags to which I refer. They saw the truth, and that too was documented.

As is seen, I have some great selfies of myself with Elizabeth and Lauren, and photos of both Elizabeth and Lauren (BLM) standing together by one of the burned snags to which I refer. They saw the truth, and that too was documented.  

Author-researcher – William E. Simpson II was the technical advisor to CALFIRE commanders for 9-days during the deadly 38,000-acre 2018 Klamathon Fire at the Camp Creek fire-line. This was the last photo ever taken by William’s wife of 47-yrs. Laura Simpson, who was killed by novel toxins in the wildfire smoke. 

In 2018, I was the Technical Advisor to the CALFIRE (Fresno) commanders at the Camp Creek fire-line on the south side of the CSNM for the first 9-days of that 38,000-acre wind-driven blaze.  I documented how, exactly, the fire-grazing by the horses benefited the suppression efforts, created fire breaks of low-fuels, and larger safe zones for men and equipment that safely staged in-front of the oncoming wind-driven wildfire.  

Interestingly, that inferno, called the Klamathon Fire (2018) was stopped in the immediate area where the heritage horses had managed annual grass and brush fuels for centuries.  And the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument was saved from total incineration.

This was all documented and photographed. And the BLM District Manager Elizabeth Berghard and Lauren Brown are also aware of these events.   

Funny, I didn’t see the so-called wildfire expert George Wuerthner anywhere around during that wildfire! He has no clue as to what happened or what benefits the heritage horses provided to CALFIRE’s suppression efforts. 

In fact, it wasn’t until 3-days into that inferno that even the BLM’s assistant CSNM manager Joel Brumm finally showed up and opened-up the tank-gate to the north of the fire-line so we had an emergency way out in case we didn’t stop the fire at the areas managed by the horses.  

As far as I know, George has never fought wildfire or even seen one close-up. I have been so close, I have felt the heat of blaze, and heard the last sounds of dying animals and smelled their burning bodies. 

Unlike George, I have fought the occasional wildfire back in the day. I’ve looked into the eyes of the dragon, heard its roar and breathed his deadly breath, and it levied its toll upon me and my family.

It’s so-called experts like George who arguably have zero practical experience, yet, continuously muck things up. Books, videos and field trips only get you so far. 

But that’s not to suggest academics are useless. 

I too have many years of university study, but it was augmented by years of full immersion into the subjects via empirical, boots on the ground experience.  I have been studying the behavioral ecology and ethology of the heritage horses on the Monument for 10-years, full-time 24-7 on and immediately around the CSNM, including depredation of these horses by bears, mountain lions, wolves (wolf-coyote hybrids), coyotes and bobcats. I have documented the forensic evidence of the depredation of dozens of horses, young and old, during that time as well. 

More here:

I have videos and photos of the bands of heritage horses in the CSNM resting and using riparian areas with mountain springs and streams without any degradation or change in the turbidity of the water as they have for centuries! If they were indeed damaging the landscape as is ignorantly posited by Mr. Wuerthner, then the CSNM would not been declared as ‘pristine’ in the year 2000 when the Monument was formalized, or 24 years later as seen in my hundreds of photos and videos of the areas used by the horses, still pristine

ReWilding Europe felt that my 5-year Study was very relevant, and when they launched their wildfire-focused online Journal ‘GrazeLIFE‘ they asked to use my Study for the inaugural article!  

Here it is:

Frankly, suggesting that George is a 1/4-inch deep and a mile wide on the subject matter is accurate. The man arguably has no real depth of empirical experience and focus on any area of subject matter at hand, namely wild horses and the CSNM, or wildfire.  

And what I mean be that is the years of daily involvement in the field full-time that is required to have the prerequisite knowledge that informs a genuinely relevant, in-depth opinion. 

I spent the late 1960’s and early 1970’s going to university and also doing forest management (logging and occasionally fire suppression). I spent a lot my formative years as a teenager hanging-out with my brother-in-law (A Klamath Native American) learning the old indigenous ways, including tracking, hunting, fishing and logging in the area now considered the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, well before a bunch of city folks moved into the area and discovered that pristine area (even at that time, with hundreds of horses present in the CSNM), and deemed it needed to be a ‘Monument’.  

The horses on and around the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) have been on that landscape for the past 440-years, making them heritage horses and an integral part of the natural history and tradition of the region, including the CSNM.


  1. Kristi Lawrence

    Thank you for exposing yet another fraud in this eco-terrorist game. I really appreciate your continued research into these people. I greatly appreciate your work with the WHFB. Keep doing what you do. Iam so happy you are part of our community.

  2. J. Perdue

    Nice detective work. It would be interesting to learn a bit more about George Wuerthner: where does he live, urban area, suburbs, his education, what does he look like (photo), etc. It’s a good thing you are publishing in Siskiyou News. Jim Perdue.

  3. Mr. Simson, you are a sad man who cannot take any criticism. George wrote a counterargument to your horse brigade and you respond by calling him deceptive and even going as far as creating fake profiles and emails to respond to his own article. Really? You even say he doesn’t have “a real job”. Mr. Simpson, I can argue that you don’t have a real job either because it seems all you do is write bogus articles about how people hurt your feelings because you’re smarter than everyone else. Have you ever thought that maybe you don’t get royalties from your book because no one wants to read it?

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