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Troy (and anyone else who is interested):

The story you tell about the mules is the only one I have heard.

The Jackass Bend CBC was compiled by Chris Hobbs. The circle covered both 
sides of the Missouri River. It is my belief that it was drawn to include 
the proposed Jackass Bend W.M.A. once it was developed, but I don't think 
the oxbow was covered very well on the count. The circle  included the 
Excelsior Springs sewage lagoons on the north and a small part of 24 Hiway 
on the south.  My party's territory covered the southern part of the circle, 
which included the Atherton Bottoms and Courtney Union School Road west to 
M-291. We got Lapland Longspurs in the bottoms most years, Snow Bunting one 
year and Prairie Falcon 2 years. One year, we saw two Pileated Woodpeckers 
in a wooded area along Happy Hollow Rd., and the area included a farm that 
produced blackbirds. The waterfowl on the Excelsior Springs sewage lagoons 
and bottomland specialties, plus the usual birds in the upland areas 
produced a respectable species list even without a developed Jackass Bend 
W.M.A.

Jackass Bend was not the first area considered as a replacement for Trimble. 
MDC's first choice was a farm in Andrew County. I remember attending a 
hearing in Savannah at which, speaking for BAS, I opposed the proposed 
acquisition on the ground that it was too far away from Kansas City. There 
was local opposition as well, and the deal fell through.

Again representing BAS, I spoke for the Jackass Bend location at a hearing 
in Orrick. The principle spokes persons against the project were local 
farmers, Keith Artman and Luman Offutt. (I don't know why Offutt opposed it. 
His farm was east of Orrick). A local farmer named Pigg supported it. (There 
is an access point named "Pigg's Landing," which I assume was named after 
him). If  my impressions of comments by local residents at the hearing are 
correct, Artman was not universally popular there, whereas Pigg was well 
liked. That may have influenced the result.

Both the Savannah and the Orrick hearings were held by the Corps of 
Engineers because the Trimble relocation was considered a mitigation for the 
Corps' taking of Trimble W.M.A. The Design for Conservation had not yet 
passed; MDC did not yet have the money for aquisitions it was to get from 
the 1/8th cent tax, and MDC was trying to get the federal government to pay 
for a replacment refuge.

The proposed replacement refuge was 4000+ acres, whereas Trimble W.M.A. was 
only about 1200 acres. Among other things, MDC was asking compensation for 
the flock of Giant Canada Geese it had developed at Trimble, plus a lot of 
Pin Oak trees it had grown there.

There was a change in each of the two Congressional Districts having 
jurisdiction while the campaign for Jackass Bend went on. Bill Randall 
retired in the Fourth District and was succeeded by Ike Skelton. Jerry 
Litton, the Sixth District Congressman, ran for the U.S. Senate seat vacated 
by Stuart Symington and won the Democratic primary. Tragically, Litton and 
his family were killed in a plane crash returning from the primary victory 
celebration. He was succeeded by a Republican, whose name I forget (but whom 
I did lobby personally at his office in North Kansas City). I also lobbied 
Litton by mail and personally visited both Randall and Skelton.

The principal argument raised by opponents of the project was  that it would 
attract large numbers of geese, and they would damage the winter wheat. We 
had some farmers on our side, who said not to worry about the geese. Farmers 
put their cattle on the winter wheat and it does fine.   The opponents 
replied, "Okay, you're right. The geese don't hurt the wheat by nibbling it, 
but they do damage it by trampling it with their feet."

Name dropping and getting someone who knows the legislator to contact him is 
an important aspect of lobbying for a pork barrel project like a W.M.A.  My 
contact at MDC was Mike Milonsky, who then led MDC's Wildlife Division. I 
had been co-counsel with Ike Skelton on a case, had hosted a dinner for him 
in the Democratic Primary and knew him fairly well. Therefore, I was 
assigned to lobby him. I don't know who was right about what geese do or do 
not do to wheat, but I remember that the issue appeared to have been 
resolved to Ike Skelton's satisfaction when I told him, per Milonsky, that 
Lowell Mohler, then a Farm Bureau official, was on our side. (Lowell Mohler 
is now one of the four Conservation Commissioners).

At Skelton's suggestion, I got Jerry Overton, a BAS member and my partner on 
the Jackass Bend CBC, to line up Harry Jonas, then Chairman of the Jackson 
County Legislature, to lobby Senator Eagleton on the issue.

Another issue in the push to acquire the land was condemnation. MDC has the 
power to condemn, but it does everything possible to avoid doing it. The 
Corps of Engineers could care less if it condemns private land. Opponents of 
the project did what they could to marshal general public hostility toward 
condemnation against the project.  I remember lobbying Stanley Fike, Stuart 
Symington's Administrative Assistant, whom I knew. Fike had apparently 
already heard from the opponents. "Isn't this a case of the Conservation 
Dept. trying to get the federal government to do their dirty work for them?" 
was Fike's question to me.  Symington was out of office before the issue was 
decided in favor of the project, only to have the funding taken away by 
Jimmy Carter's anti-pork-barrel veto.

When the Design went through, one of MDC's first acquisitions was what is 
now Cooley Lake CA. Eventually, it also purchasd Settle's Ford CA, Four 
Rivers CA, Bob Brown W.M.A. , Bilby Lake CA and others with Design money. I 
don't know how it MDC was compensated for the loss of Trimble.

That's all I remember about the push to acquire the land. It was a very 
interesting time!

 Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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