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This page was last updated on January 06, 2009 .

About Rangeland Pearls
by: Larry Walker, 3/6/99

I retired from the Bureau of Land Management just over two years ago. During the weeks before my retirement, co-workers frequently asked me what I was going to do after I retired. My standard response was, "I'm going to go into the Pearl Business." When they asked me what I meant by the pearl business, I advised them to come to my retirement party and find out.

Well, the evening of my retirement party arrived, and it had been scheduled to coincide with a familiarization workshop I was leading on the OAESIS rangeland database. This resulted in a number of out of town BLM folks, several folks from the Forest Service, and one from academia being present in addition to local BLM staff and retirees. Many had heard about my intent to go into the "pearl business", and they asked me to explain what I meant. It went something like this:

All oysters are capable of producing a pearl, but not all oysters produce pearls. For an oyster to produce a pearl, it requires a grain of sand or other irritant.

Now, let me digress for a moment. These days the BLM, Forest Service, and other federal agencies are into things like consensus groups, advisory counsels, partnerships and the like in a big way. Sometimes these efforts actually produce something useful, but frequently their only accomplishment is to schedule the next meeting. It has been my observation that when these groups actually get something done, it is usually in self-defense against some kind of external threat or pressure. An irritant if you will.

After I retire, I hope to assist the BLM and Forest Service in producing a great many very fine pearls!

When I finished my statement, I heard a little voice from the back of the room say "Forest Service first!"

Now you know all about "rangeland pearls", and you are reading one of my "oyster beds".