Struggling with ranch, Bamberger warns of national collapse




I had the pleasure to tool around conservationist legend David Bamberger’s ranch with the man himself (above) on Saturday, considering, for a story this week, the stranded scimitar-horned oryx (also above), soon to be listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Since playing a pivotal role in bringing the African animals back from the brink of extinction (where it now grazes more comfortably, with perhaps a century’s worth of genetic diversity to subsist on), Bamberger now has little to do — little he can do — with the herd. Factor in continued financial challenges at the working ranch and preserve in Blanco County, and it’s no wonder he’s considering all his options these days — including, from the oryx's perspective, some not-so-pleasant ones.

Perhaps it's melodramatic, but it's hard for me not to feel a bit of Yeats’ oft-quoted “Second Coming” in the ranch’s current challenges (Turning and turning in the widening gyre Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold) and in Bamberger’s dire warning about the consequences of the breakdown of national political discourse (“If we don’t get past this, we’re like Rome: we’re on our way out”).

Including a few thoughts from Bamberger here on our vanishing Hill Country, continuing habitat destruction, and sanity. I’ll be finishing up my article for Wednesday about plans Bamberger is putting into play to save his remarkable preserve, one of the largest open tracks of land where one can find real wilderness within a short drive of the population ooze that is the I-35 corridor.

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