Local Rancher Wins National Recognition

Wink Crigler Of The X-Diamond Ranch in Eagar won the National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rangeland Management and Rangeland Research and Development.

She was nominated by Springerville Ranger District employees Jeff Rivera, Virginia Yazzie-Ashley, and Mark Willis. "It was a flattering surprise," Crigler said of the award. She attended the national conference of the Society for Range Management in Denver in February not expecting to receive the award.

Joel Holtrop, Deputy Chief of the Forest Service presented the plaque, signed by Tom Kidwell chief of the Forest Service, to Crigler at the conference.

Crigler Is A Fourth Generation Arizona Rancher and the granddaughter of Molly Butler. She and other family ranchers established the Ranching Heritage Alliance (RHA) in 2008 in an effort to transform conflict into collaboration and to work with diverse stakeholders, agency personnel, environmentalists, and the public towards a common vision for landscape stewardship.

In Their Nominating Letter, the Springerville ranger district employees wrote, "Wink Crigler has been an advocate for proper use of natural resources to maintain and restore rangeland and riparian ecosystems on private, state, and National Forests. She was instrumental in inviting the National Riparian Service Team to come to eastern Arizona in the spring of 2008 and the summer of 2009 to share their insight on proper livestock management in the ecosystems."

Crigler's Grazing Allotments on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest have become a showcase for restoration and long-term sustainability of rangeland and riparian ecosystems.

As A Former School Teacher, Wink has a strong desire for learning and sharing her technical knowledge. Because of her stewardship of the land, opening up her ranch for workshops and conferences, and working closely with government officials, Wink has inspired other grazing permittees to become better range resource managers.

 

"Good Rangeland Management Of Livestock Is Key to sustainability of beef production, wildlife populations, healthy watersheds, biodiversity, community stability, economic viability, and family heritages," said Crigler. "Through collaboration, the changes of the land passing through time can be accommodated and fulfill the needs of future generations."

Credit:  White Mountain Independent