Grant Gerber was the consummate Nevadan.
Gerber, 72, died of head injuries sustained when his horse fell during the coast-to-coast Grass March Cowboy Express to protest BLM mismanagement of federal public land in Nevada. His memorial service was, appropriately, on Nevada Day.
He never stopped fighting for the land and people he loved.
Gerber, before he was elected to the Elko County Commission, introduced me to the writings of explorer Peter Skene Ogden, who traversed Nevada about 1828. Gerber noted that Ogden’s diary illustrates — contrary to what the so-called environmentalists would try to tell you — that the people did not just occupy and use the land, but transformed it.
“There were times when we tasted no food, and we were unable to discover water for several days together; without wood, we keenly felt the cold; wanting grass, our horses were reduced to great weakness, so that many of them died, on whose emaciated carcases we were constrained to satisfy the intolerable cravings of our hunger, and as a last resource, to quench our thirst with their blood.”
Before the sheep and cattle came and trampled the earth and fertilized it, there was nothing to burn and no game to eat. There was no sage grouse to declare endangered, nor many desert tortoises. There were few wildfires, because there was nothing to burn.
Humans and their domestic animals are part and parcel of the rural Nevada environment, but don’t waste your breath trying to explain that to the federal bureaucrats and the so-called environmentalists.
Unaccountable federal bureaucrats were the bane of attorney Gerber’s existence and he often represented ranchers in their battles with the federal land agencies, too often pro bono.
Gerber had a way with logic and a way with words to illustrate that logic.
He told the Deseret News in Salt Lake City before he headed out on the coast-to-coast protest ride:
“There is absolutely no civil disobedience here in any way. The BLM manager is unelected and unaccountable, and everyone wants him removed, but they can’t do it. He is sitting in a position of total control and it is tyranny. That is why our message is ‘regulation without representation is tyranny.'”
May others take up his legacy and continue the fight for liberty.
Elko Daily Free Press obituary for A. Grant Gerber.
Commentary by fellow Commissioner Jeff Williams.
Commentary by Sherman Frederick.
Friends remember Gerber.
Gerber’s Smoked Bear website.