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Ron Arnold – Father of the “Wise Use Movement”

Feb 15, 2022 | 30x30, Farmers and Ranchers, Standing Ground | 0 comments

A giant of a man named Ron Arnold passed away last month, January 4th.  He was 84 years old.  

When we began our fight for property rights in the early 90’s, there were several individuals who had blazed a wide trail for those of us who followed in the movement.  One such gentleman was Ron Arnold.

Ron was a soft-spoken man with broad influence and extremely effective ideas and actions.  

He was considered the “Father of the Wise Use Movement,” founded in 1988.  It was described as a “broad ranging, loose knit coalition of hundreds of groups in the United States which promote a conservative agenda.”

We remember the Wise Use Movement as an alternative to the destructive environmental movement that came of age when Richard Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act in 1973.  The Wise Use Movement gave millions of Americans a strong political voice that achieved many victories, including rewriting the ESA to give more weight to economic considerations and moratoriums on many new federal environmental laws.  Ron claimed George Bush didn’t sign the Biodiversity Treaty at the Earth Summit in Rio de Jannero because of pressure from the Wise Use Movement.

Ron authored seven books and founded “The Free Enterprise Press” in 1987 to create an outlet for important free enterprise authors, including “Storm Over Rangelands, Private Rights in Federal Lands” written by Wayne Hage, father of Margaret Hage Byfield.  

One of Ron’s books, Ecoterror: The Violent Agenda to Save Nature (Free Enterprise Press, 1997) exposed the Unabomber who killed Thomas Mosser and Gil Murry claiming he was only “saving nature.”  Ron also taught us about the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Firsters who used tactics called “monkeywrenching” to spike trees to sabotage timber harvesting in the Northwest.  

In a prophetic note, Ron’s book warned about Tracy Stone-Manning, President Biden’s nominee to be the director of the Bureau of Land Management.  Manning, according to sworn affidavits, collaborated with, and assisted eco-terrorists in spiking trees in the Clearwater National Forest in 1989.   Unfortunately, the Democratically led Senate confirmed Manning to be director of BLM, the federal agency in charge of managing the majority of our federal lands on June 8, 2021. ( 

Ron was born in Houston, Texas in 1938.  He studied music at the University of Texas at Austin and played the French horn in the San Antonio Symphony before finally settling in the Seattle area.  He worked as a technical illustrator for Boeing for 10 years before starting his Northwoods Studio where he made tradeshow films for the timber industry.  He also wrote a regular column for the Bellevue Journal-American, and the Washington Examiner.

For many years, Ron organized an annual Wise-Use Conference gathering the small independent groups together with key policy makers.  We are certain he would be pleased to see his students following suit, gathering together the new generation of property rights advocates to Stop 30×30, on the environmentalist’s celebrated Earth Day, April 22, 2022.

Ron was a true giant among property rights advocates.  A true American who fought for individual liberties, property rights and limited government.  We will miss him dearly and could use his grit and determination today to help save this Land of Liberty.

God speed Ron!