Rural System, Inc.
 Sustained rural lands; sustained profits

  Design and Overview
...a continuation of The Trevey. See Business Plan Contents as needed.

deviate (to meet these objectives) in certain areas. The results allow discussions and further analyses to be concentrated on these areas of difference rather than on efforts to prevent or block an entire project (already having been decided that it will be implemented, the location being the remaining question.) There is no good place to put any development. There will always be change that results from the development and some change will be viewed by some person as bad. The solution to many land use problems may be formulated as a least-bad or cost minimization problem. Risks can be included in such a formulation as "expected cost" or the product of an expectation-value (i.e., 1.0-risk) and the estimated discounted costs.

All of this work, all of this detailed analysis of human objectives can be dispatched in the blink of a socio-political eye. All people are not equal; one-person, one-vote is not a rule followed in land use planning. Neither cynical nor naive, development in The Trevey has the potential of computing the will of the people (or an appropriate subgroup or simply the owner of a large tract of land, one of the Pivotal Tracts) and computing and presenting how to achieve it. There are many reasons why a project may fail, but these are the same reasons that unaided people will also fail to match their actual condition with their desired and needed condition. Most peoples' objectives are poorly known and the formulation above helps them to be at least as well (perhaps "better") expressed as ever before.

Once developed and the power of The Trevey documents is seen by the public, there will be fewer apparently single-interest, self-serving judgments made by those in authority. The unpopular can be justified; the apparent disclaimed. The system's results can be used to support rational, informed decisions in the public context, those that meet citizens' long term needs.

If there was only a single landowner or chief executive then there would be one "public" and one set of numbers and the system would work to achieve that person's objectives. The design has been to achieve a system for both public and private interests.

The Dynamics

The Trevey is to be a living system. By that is meant:

Major changes do occur in land use, ranging from sweeping tax rule change to price support programs. A forest fire, industrial development, or flood can cause significant change in data about an area. These data, when entered, change proportions, indices, tax bases and many other numbers linked in some way. When a change occurs in one place (say creation of a new lake), many files are changed throughout the system and a new book or "plan" is produced that includes the lake but changes also in biodiversity, climate, recreation, motel service, transportation, school service, groundwater risks, waterfowl migration, fire fighting services for residential areas, and others.

Use rates of The Trevey will be monitored and a decline in use will trigger investigations into causes. Acceptance of The Trevey results will be monitored and causes for failures identified. Exciting intra-system policy issues are ahead for addressing revisions in the system to increase acceptability of recommendations versus those that improve the technical content but perhaps reduce the acceptance of recommendations.

The system will be judged to be suitable if it is responsive to the dynamics of technology (computers and communications); the land itself; knowledge about the components of the system (gained from experts and research); citizen objectives; and the staff operating the system.


Computer power opens new alternatives to wildland or rural land use planning and alternative means to control use. The Trevey provides answers to whether a proposed land use (or land related practices) may be approved based on (1) a large set of citizen (or land owner) objectives with eight components, (2) non-linear optimization, (3) extensive computer mapping capabilities, (4) large data sets, and (5) dynamic changes. The dynamic system in the computer available from the internet replaces conventional plans or books for they-are no longer timely. The system delivers on demand electronically an entire report or its parts. Sections or data are responsive to user needs. The system may also respond to preliminary queries about possible land use approvals, thereby reducing costly delays and risk-related rejections. The system is believed to provide a major alternative to zoning but raises issues about planning policy such as who are the representatives, how comprehensive should the system be, how stable must the objectives be, what models are to be used, and the levels of confidence that are appropriate in making any rural land use decision. The use of The Trevey has potentials of reducing conflicts and their costs, encouraging cooperative efforts and partnerships, and creating opportunities for improved quality of life in the future.


Estimated costs for future development $150,000. At 50 users per year @ $5,000

Walnut Vales

Within the scope of active work of The Forest Group and The Arborist Group is the concept of specialization. We shall develop a specialized central interest in the black walnut (Juglans nigra) and perhaps later, other tree species. This is a highly-valued tree and grows well only on some sites. The trees are often found open-grown in small valleys, thus the "vales." By knowing the characteristics of such site, locating them with the computer-mapping power of System Central, buying or leasing the acres or cooperatively buying walnut crops, it will be possible to develop extensive highly productive walnut forests as suggested in The Trevey. The wood is valuable. We shall harvest walnut trees under contract. We'll process them to maximize the value. For example, a log sawn locally into furniture parts or gun stock "blanks" produces far more value to the Pivotal Tract and its people than shipping whole logs to North Carolina furniture mills or to unknown users. Small amounts will be sold to The Sculptors.

We cannot depend exclusively upon tree growth for adequate profits because that is slow. The right number of acres can be amassed to stabilize the harvest and money flow. A smaller but important money flow will come from harvesting nuts. Many people have walnut trees. Few people use the nuts because they are difficult to prepare. Few know about commercial nut-meat producers. We can unify the small producers (as well as increase the number and rate of growing trees on contract land).

By planting trees at optimum spacing, maximum total long-term value (not necessarily maximum nut production or clear wood) can be gained, with spacing traded off between the worth of volume added to the tree bole and nutmeats and products.

Literature, contract work, developing models, and exploring secondary uses of the toxic nut hulls and tree bark, and excellent pasturage are all parts of this forestry specialty. One idea to be explored is to explode hulls under heat and pressure (a 1999 Virginia Tech process). Liquid extraction of toxins from this substance (along with grape seed waste) may be used along trail and roadsides to develop specialized communities without using petrochemicals. A market for the hulls for use in burnishing metals and sculpture may be developed.These areas are also designed with barriers as stream flood control areas. A regional center (office, lab, and library) of interest and expertise can be created.


Development costs (salary, vehicle, and office): $50,000

The Arborist Group

The Arborist Group has now affiliated with Mills Associated Arborists of Blacksburg, Virginia (540-953 - 1173 or 381-1953). The current work of Mills Associated Arborists includes removing small and hazardous trees, pruning trees and shrubs, consulting and giving advice on the role of trees in the landscape, suggesting tree selection and planting, diagnosing insect and disease effects, removing brush, and providing emergency services related to trees. The affiliation with Rural System, Inc. provides a new dimension to the business that grew under the leadership and expert knowledge of Mr. Mills over many years. Now owned and operated by Mr. Lance Moore, Mills Associated Arborists has become an integral part of The Arborist Group.

The Group is dedicated to cost effectively caring for and managing individual trees in the rural and small-town environment. Clearly profit oriented, the Group gives special attention to enhancing the environment around homes and rural structures, reducing unfavorable views, achieving energy economies, and retaining the value in ancient trees and those of great beauty and historical importance. It has an educational role, one of increasing the appreciation for the beauty and functions of trees and shrubs in the human environment. That appreciation must lead to improved tree care, improved roles of trees, and, secondarily, to improved forest management in the larger rural environment.

Obviously attuned to the science and knowledge base of forestry, the work of the group is much different than that of The Forest Group. It deals with the specimen tree, the landscape shrub, vine, and tree-group. Esthetics and economics assume special prominence over that usually encountered in forestry activities. The affiliation with Mills Associated Arborists brings to The Arborist Group expertise, an operating successful respected business, ideas, experienced workers, advertising, recognition, and capital equipment.

The planned activities of The Arborist Group include those listed above as well as:

  1. Providing computer-aided tree valuation for insurance and other purposes. There are existing systems but an alternative is available and when operated by the hand-held field computer, provides information for subscribers for the service, standards and conditions before problems may arise, and a basis for litigation if needed in insurance claims against damage experienced.
  2. Selling planting zone map. GIS maps of the conditions of the region (soil, slope, aspect, elevation, shade, water relations) provide information on the factors that influence the suitability of a site for any tree species. The map is a way to prevent future problems, suggesting what trees should not be put in certain sites … just asking for trouble later from diseases, insects, and other stress related problems. In addition, a new planting zone map similar to that of the US Department of Agriculture and distributed for horticulturists, is available and will be sold.
  3. Mapping the trees of a landscape. Foresters map forest stands but similar single-tree maps can be produced. I made one for the Homestead hotel and resort in West Virginia in 1954. They are especially effective for neighborhoods and when ages of trees or sizes are recorded, they can chronicle the change in songbirds, early-morning noise problems, and even the advent of vertebrate pest problems (such as woodpeckers drumming on gutter drain pipes, raccoons at the window, and squirrels in the attic).
  4. Plotting specialized Solar maps (shading of gardens etc.) The relations with The Gardens Group seem evident and such a map will be used for shrubs as well as other plantings, with clearly-known separations into "shade-loving plants" and other classes.
  5. Scheduling care and treatment of mapped trees
  6. Developing replacement schedules and plans
  7. Estimating leaf volumes produced annually (with computers as a function of tree species and ages and health) for estimating leaf pickup costs and for moving litter to a soils development area (see Novosoil)
  8. Working actively with and promoting the Tree Tops enterprise
  9. Planting shrubs ( food and cover) planting for designed "wildlife backyards"
  10. Operating leaf pickup systems for processing and movement to soil amendments
  11. Chipping stems and trunks for movement to soil amendments
  12. Commercial sawing of large stems and solar curing for uses throughout the enterprise (see Sculptors)
  13. Preparing firewood for The Camps Group and sale to others
  14. Making specialized plantings at Memorial sites
  15. Selling and installing giant pots, planters for trees and shrubs in landscapes and towns
  16. Laying plumbing systems for root watering systems
  17. Developing drought strategies for landowners and towns
  18. Selling town and county arboretum plans, installation and management
  19. Developing espalier gardens
  20. Conducting soil analyses for ownerships with maps
  21. Selling the Clumper, a single-person lawn leaf-pickup device
  22. Selling Ecorods, environmental health monitoring devices
  23. Selling specialized tree tag (names)
  24. Selling signs, made from the wood of "the special tree" (homesite removals etc.)
  25. Selling items (made from special trees or parts removed) as presents for families or friends that knew or were related to the tree
  26. Selling sets of drink coasters made from branch cross-sections
  27. Selling CDs and books for tree identification
  28. Writing and selling tree-related books including images in Stills (web page being prepared) and a corporate expert base
  29. Selling services and products to other tree-related companies (competitive, the objective remains for improving the esthetic and related quality of the region)
  30. Promoting tree-related poetry
  31. Preparing tree health status reports for insurance protection
  32. Sponsoring tree identification contests for children and adults
  33. Providing brass names on all major town trees
  34. Web site for members - special trees, big trees, tree health, trees and large animals, trees and interesting animals,
  35. Trees and moisture stress information - promoting the Heikkenen hypothesis and its study
  36. Promoting integrated tree health management systems (not IPM)
  37. Working with Pest Force for squirrel, bird, and related vertebrates-in-trees problems
  38. Maintaining a public natural history display of tree damage and related problems
  39. Fertilizing trees after a substantial lab-analysis
  40. Working with and studing sugarbush potentials in select areas
  41. Providing specialized expertise and care of the walnut vales
  42. Using waste and chipped wood and sawdust in animal care facilities ( goats, rabbits, geese, dogs)
  43. Supplying wood as available to the Fence Group
  44. Developing specialized uses of The Trevey or a Trevey-like system for corporate and farm owner customers
  45. Conducting tours of trees of the rural area - diverse species, problem trees, superior trees
  46. Developing an expert system for tree care
  47. Developing an expert system for tree and shrub selection
  48. Working with The Garden Group in developing and selling computer aids to plant selection
  49. Developing life curves for each local tree species, then dynamics of the "beta-forest" - the total rural tree system under management, as they mature over the 150-year planning period
  50. Responding to requests for proposals and initiate funded research activities
  51. Writing a book on managing the beta-forest (forest management as if each tree was a stand) producing leaves, cooling shade and energy conservation (Btu), wood, stems and firewood, viewscape component, wildlife nest spots, wildlife foods, disease risks, mosquito and micro-arthropod sites, local employment potential
  52. Making available to staff a sales and pricing book and/or web site presenting available services.

See National Arborist Association and other associations
See praise of arborists
See West Coast Arborists
See Arborists Exam


Harris, R.W. 1992. Arboriculture: integrated management of landscape trees, shrubs, and vines, Second Ed., Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 674p.


Development cost $50,000. Estimated gains:

The Deer Group

The Deer Group is a bold new program of the private sector to develop a productive wild white-tailed deer resource with net benefits to citizens within the county and region. The program is unique, broad in scale, open to all citizens, and is resource based. It seeks a variety of human benefits from all aspects of the deer resource throughout the year while at the same time reducing costs and losses.

The program recognizes that there are positive and negative elements to all resources and it seeks to prevent conflicts and minimize overall costs associated with the deer resource. It works with the regional herd as well as others in the state (in Virginia, 220,000 animals are now were taken in the hunting season). The program is legal and independent of the state agency. It does not attempt to replace or duplicate the staff, work, or resources of any public agency. The Deer Group can heighten, encourage, add to, and expand a typical state agency's program with the deer resource, one not limited by history, policy, staff, and budgets.

The Deer Group staff seeks personal and corporate involvement in a financial-gains enterprise by investments of time, energy, ideas, and financial support. The work ahead is monumental. It is naive to think that any more than a penny ante game will emerge from minor contributions and memberships. Tax deductions and beneficial arrangements within the enterprise are readily available to advertisers, contributors of money, and people wishing to rent long-term or bequeath land and property to lasting, exciting, modern, innovative research, education, and development for the deer resource. Not an organization for charity, The Deer Group has major action strategies seeking a stable budgetary status for the good of the deer and the people. One component is a citizen's organization.

The program simultaneously involves:

  1. Information and education
  2. Action opportunities and contests
  3. Land management
  4. Membership benefits
  5. Research and development
  6. Achievement of diverse resource objectives
  7. Damage management
  8. Esthetics

all of which are done while increasing employment and improving the economic conditions of the region.

Each of these elements is discussed separately and as if The Deer Group already exists. Its parts exist in some form and can be grasped for use almost immediately. No inventions are needed. It is not "blue sky" but a practical program that is badly needed. It must be done all together, as a system. Piecemeal work of the past has created the present conditions which The Deer Group addresses. Each of the eight action elements of the system will be discussed. They are all, by design, highly related.

Information and Education

  1. Books - Sales of quality deer literature at discount rates with modest profit to the enterprise.
  2. Booklists - A series of prepared texts on all aspects of the deer and deer resource. Sales for modest profit to The Deer Group (hereinafter also called the system or enterprise).
  3. Computer Programs - Personal computer programs for all that are interested in working with and learning about the resource and entering data to get locally relevant information.
  4. Seminars - Two-day seminars on all aspects of deer biology, foods, monitoring of population density, habitat productivity, and suitability, management, laws, hunting, conservation, and damage control.
  5. Satellite Seminars - Occasional seminars (T\/) by satellite or the World Wide Web.
  6. Television - Sales of quality TV materials at discount rates with modest profits to the enterprise. New television - programs about deer and conditions.
  7. Hunting Seminars - One-day seminars on hunting techniques including safety and marksmanship.
  8. Computer Information - County- and region-specific personalized information on deer hunting, etc., from the enterprise computers.
  9. GPS (global positioning satellite) and GPSence information and sales
  10. Consultants - A team of consultants working privately.
  11. Recipe Books - Ways to improve meat use, reduce losses, and encourage high quality use of the available resource.
  12. Hunters for the Hungry - Encouragement of and work with an existing program to share meat with welfare groups.
  13. Value-Added Strategies - Means to make better use of meat, bones, carcass, hides; taxidermy, etc.
  14. Membership - Including encouragement of hunting for women and special groups.

Action Opportunities and Contests

  1. State and Regional Deer Rifle Accuracy Contest - An annual contest with modest income to the system.
  2. State and Regional Deer Archery Contest - A special annual contest with unique classes of hunts and hunters.
  3. Gamma Fawn - a multi-level, computer game for school biology, FFA, 4-H, and other youth groups, leading to statewide annual competition (like an international chess competition).
  4. Gamma Deer - Equivalent to the above, adults may compete in this difficult, realistic game of regional deer management. The "play" is against "nature," poachers, crippling loss, those who set the season, and management action success. It is an expansive modern computer "game" - very serious business, eventually with big prize money.
  5. Projects - Planned group projects such as deer drives for density estimates, cripple-deer surveys, enclosure construction, removals, meat processing, forage surveys, and road track counts.
  6. Woodcraft Contest - Regional annual tests of field skills related to all aspects of deer resource use.
  7. Banquets and Socials
  8. Special Gun Safety Programs - Backing up and adding to the present efforts of the agency.
  9. Guides - A for-profit guide organization for referral service, promotion, control, and high quality service.

Land Management

  1. Fire Force - (developed with The Safety and Security Group and The Forest Group) Sponsorship of a hot-shot fire crew, both for fire fighting and for conducting prescribed burns under controlled condition for improved deer range.
  2. Forage Survey Crew - Sophisticated, directed sampling provides local information about deer herd conditions.
  3. Damage Surveys - Computer-aided analyses of potential crop, car, and forest damage. The surveys and analysis programs are created by and sponsored by the enterprise.
  4. Field Trips - Habitat visits to key areas.
  5. The Premiere Deer Food Patch - A computer-designed food mix for planting area-specific food patches for deer.
  6. Forest Deer - An advisory analysis system to estimate the long-term effects of any timber cut on deer.
  7. Stoneworms- Trail building into deer and related areas for profit.
  8. Comprehensive Land Management - A comprehensive forest and farm plan with emphasis on deer - both for increasing production and reducing losses.

Membership Benefits

  1. Clothing and Equipment - New products and discount sales
  2. Ammunition - Discount sales and advisory service.
  3. Cooperatively with The Tours Group- Group hunts, out-of-state deer-range tours with modest enterprise profits
  4. Membership Emblems - 4 levels of membership based on hunting and deer knowledge, habitat knowledge, field manners, skill, and project work.
  5. Performance-based Fee Structure - Rewards for advancing in membership "level" by work on projects or participation in all aspects of The Deer Group Program.
  6. Area Signs - Symbolized ownership (like a "Tree Farm" sign) of an evaluated area showing a set of qualities for deer.
  7. Hunting Advisory - Computer-produced probability of an individual in a season harvesting a deer, given a set of inputs (payment required but access to the system is limited to members).
  8. Annual Meeting - Full range of conventional business, educational, political, social benefits, and entertainment.
  9. Research Report - Reports produced on request (fee required) by a science staff.
  10. Communications - Means for individuals to be heard, statewide, so their ideas can be used and problems solved.

Research and Development

This is a long-term program building on a massive body of research on the deer. It is carefully tailored to the region but is generalized for use on other ownerships. It avoids conflicts with agency efforts, develops its own predictive models (within System Central), and advances the concept of a total deer resource, not just a game animal. It has a fully developed plan for needed (not "nice-to-know") studies that have potential for direct, immediate use once answers are found. It must be conducted consistently and long-term or it should not be started. A comprehensive research system is created leading to practical answers to questions that can lead to action in the field, courts, or hearing room. A list of priority studies is available.

Achieving Diverse Resource Objectives

The Deer Group is, by its nature, history, sponsorship, and leadership, strongly related to deer hunting. It is strongly resource oriented, that is, seeking maximum human benefits of all kinds, at low costs, from the animal and everything related to it, no matter how remotely. It includes reducing losses as well as increasing benefits. There is a net-value concept working throughout the entire system. A long list of objectives (e.g., Maximizing citizen awareness of the deer resource, Maximizing citizen observations of deer) of the system is available.

Damage Management

Reports of damage from deer seem to be increasing. There are many causes, and these need to be studied during the time that the apparent change is occurring so that the process can be understood. The Deer Group includes damage studies but also includes:

  1. Consultants - Experts (on retainer) provide site-specific advice
  2. Evaluation - A computer analysis allows damage "claims" to be evaluated
  3. Fencing - Modern deer-deflecting and electric fencing is made available in select areas
  4. Policy - A viable permit-for-removal policy is encouraged
  5. Balance - Payment of claims against deer loss is discouraged where deer might be legally removed by hunting
  6. Damage Assessment - Assessment (for a fee) of financial loss for the courts and others
  7. Integrated Damage Management - Not control of deer but reduction of their measured damage is the objective. Many techniques exist and in their permutations represent over 100,000 options for reducing real monetary losses. Selecting the optimum integrated mix of techniques to use at lowest cost is a high-order computer use. The Deer Group encourages such use.
  8. Removals - In some areas, in the final analysis, deer must be removed and that cannot be done safely, timely, or reasonable by conventional hunting. The Deer Group with The Pest Force provides experts able to remove deer effectively in such unusual situations. In some areas, traps may be used; in other areas effective shooting using archery is required.


The program sponsors and encourages the following that emphasize and promote the esthetics of the resource:

  1. Painting and art displays
  2. Photograph contests (see Stills)
  3. Sculpture and related art
  4. Taxidermy
  5. Songs and Music
  6. Tours
  7. Artists' models (tame deer)
  8. Fair and other public gathering displays emphasizing the beauty of the deer and its habitat
  9. Jewelry
  10. Well-designed field clothing
  11. TV and movies
  12. Trail rides into deer country

The Deer Group is a unique resource system that raises the concept of a sports group to a new level. It has the potential of creating jobs, of sustaining research and development as done in progressive industries, and of demonstrating a real reason for conservation of wildlife - positive net gains monetary and otherwise, from a resource. The Deer Group does not display a policy of "multiple use." It is not unnecessarily broad in scope or direction. It is self-consciously deer-resource oriented (benefits are the emphasis; not necessarily more deer) and merely seeks to achieve a fair hearing and place for deer resource and its users at various discussion centers and will cooperate with everyone interested in deer in the well-being of any ecosystem.


Development costs will vary depending on the Pivotal Tracts under contract. ($150,000)

The Fishery

The Fishery is proposed as a subsystem of Rural System, Inc. devoted to improved natural resource management. It is planned as a for-profit enterprise but other arrangements are being discussed. It seeks to take the latest knowledge about resources out into the world, to resist the sub-optimum. The Fishery includes all of the parts of that concept now included by modern experts, a whole system producing specified human benefits from fish populations.

It includes doing research on as well as actively influencing pollutants, costs of production, habitats, effects of logging and mining, harvests, perceived benefits and an almost-endless array of other factors, all to enhance fish numbers and quality, but especially human benefits. It includes preventing problems, developing water and populations, maintaining programs, monitoring, enforcing the law, planning and administering the enterprise. Much more than "Fishin'," it includes the waters, the landscape effects, fish, watersheds, wildlife, boats, marketing, equipment, sales, outlets, education, economies, research, administration... and more.

The Fishery is based on the observations and a premise that adverse environmental conditions such as high insecticide levels, excessive turbidity levels, and great changes in water quality and depths can prevent native fish reproduction in ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. Increasingly evident, public waters, with limited management, cannot supply the apparent desired amount of angling in sufficient quality. Increasingly people seem to enjoy simply knowing that abundant healthy populations of fish exist.

To sustain fish for angling, hatchery fish are used and this will become increasingly important. Fish, however, must be placed in quality waters and used by quality anglers. There will be new needs for hatchery fish, some three times more than now available, and some hatcheries are now closed. Independent construction has slowed; the time for management of the present ponds with introduced fish seems to be upon the people of the region.

The Fishery is responsive to problems seen in the past in relating environmental studies to fish, fishing, and angler satisfaction. It has been difficult to make these relations, to tie them to other resource interests, and to make analyses of the data collected rapidly and deliver them rapidly before decisions are to be made. Ponds are dynamic so data taken today may not reflect conditions tomorrow. Owners and anglers' values change as surely as the ponds themselves. Pond models used by The Fishery reflect rational robustness and use heuristic approaches, a reasonable confidence level, a reasonable standard of accuracy, conditional standards, and present networks or sets of likely outcomes. The Fishery has been formed to assist in meeting these changing heeds. Creating a modern, sophisticated regional freshwater fishery is its task and opportunity.

The first major work of The Fishery is in:

The total system concept is not well known or widely understood and advancing it and its implications is part of the Rural System, Inc. concept. "Stocking fish" or "setting seasons" are such trivial ideas in the context of the above that they hardly need more than a second thought. They may be done, but their emphasis in the past (and regrettably, probably for the near future) will be greatly out of proportion to their significance. There is much discussion about the meaning of the words fishery, fisheries, and fisheries management. We shall not resolve the problem of definition but we do operate on the philosophy that we are managing an important natural resource system. The freshwater system is managed for perceived human benefits. There are many limits or constraints to management but the total benefit system is the topic of that action. Usually fish- or aquatic-organism-oriented, the system is unbounded and includes soil, water, economics, and other topics. It is not a "fish" system. Our fundamental beliefs are that there are many groups of people with at least one interest (actual or potential) in one or more parts of the system.

There is not just one thing to do and do well. There are many fish species and many situations . . . but probably even more types of people with various interests in The Fishery. The three-way match-up of The Fishery is that among

There is a large set of objectives to be achieved by the managers and these must be for many groups or types of people, the animals themselves, and for their environment. In the U.S. there are 50 million anglers and they are increasing. They spend about a half billion days fishing. Doing this, they spend $24 billion. Half of these expenditures are trip related, $3.7 billion equipment related, and $5 billion boat related. All of this action generates $20 billion in worker earnings and supports over 900,000 full-time-equivalent jobs.

The Fishery may have many components and activities. For example:

Like a deep coal seam, The Fishery of the region is untouched. It has great potentials for profit as well as secondary benefits to the region and the state wildlife agency. It is of a type and scope that falls outside the normal operating procedures of district fish division personnel of most state departments of wildlife. We estimate 30 ponds can be brought into a single managed system.

There are major problems ahead for the urban dweller gaining timely access to angling opportunities, equitable use of the resource and increasing pollution. In October, 1999, a Conservation Biology article said that freshwater species are dying out as fast as those are in the rainforests. Since 1900 at least 123 species have been lost from North American waters, and the study predicted a continuing loss of about 4% of the remaining total every decade, unless the trend is arrested. Almost half of all freshwater mussels, a third of the crayfish, a quarter of the amphibians and a fifth of the fish could die out by 2100. Perhaps worldwide in scope, the above figures nevertheless suggest important work ahead within the region.

The Fishery is operated as a comprehensive enterprise, a for-financial-gains division of Rural System, Inc. Positive net gains are used to improve the total fishery of the land, other ownerships, and the world. Allocating these "profits" internally will be computer-aided.


The income flow is conceived from the work of an industrious, gains-oriented, service-producing staff and will be from the following activities and products. (These will vary by season and years, especially in the start-up period, and may reflect the personality of the staff employed more than the local markets and current demands.)

  1. Fish photos and photo books
  2. Magazine sales
  3. Public water and company fishing maps
  4. Lectures
  5. Honoraria, contributions, and tax-related reductions
  6. Pond construction
  7. Pond reclamation
  8. Fee-fishing program
  9. Pond and lake baseline studies for legal protection
  10. Regional Landsat pond and lake surveys
  11. Pond analyses, computer-aided
  12. Computer systems marketing (systems to help optimize pond and stream design and management)
  13. Watershed analyses (See the following computer-produced map showing probable site specific monthly precipitation and temperature (October) essential in watershed analyses and ecosystem work.)
  14. Water chemistry analyses
  15. Groundwater analyses
  16. Water budgets for farms
  17. Cages for caged fish held in ponds
  18. Water for conservation plans
  19. Pond, lake, and stream security
  20. Riparian restoration
  21. Wilderness stream tours
  22. Stream volunteers group
  23. Stream and river-reach baseline monitoring
  24. Special fish projects
  25. Insect identification (aquatics and fish food; see The Butterfly Band)
  26. Stream and river analyses
  27. Stream monitoring
  28. Stream restoration
  29. Stream analysis education kits
  30. Art
  31. Photographer opportunities
  32. Education units (computer aided instruction)
  33. Superior fishing day analyses and reports
  34. Guided tours (regional, national and international)
  35. Fish watching sport promotion
  36. Fishing tournaments
  37. Casting tournaments
  38. Fishing equipment
  39. Boat sales potentially including a locally built boat
  40. Regional "fish-feed" carnival
  41. Gourmet fish sale
  42. Native pet fish business
  43. Bait and lure sales
  44. Scientific reports
  45. Workshops and conferences
  46. Insurance
  47. Life-list building groups and activities (for native fish as well as international projects)
  48. Grants and contracts for research, studies, and management
  49. Algae harvest for domestic animals and garden mulch mats
  50. Nature study area advice
  51. Bridges and culverts (consulting as well as contractual work)
  52. Acid rain monitoring
  53. Trout-beaver interaction planning and beaver pest damage reduction
  54. Mollusk inventories
  55. Planting stock (nursery) sale for riparian areas
  56. Analyzing pond and lake site suitability
  57. Promoting improved care, processing, and consumption of fish (menus, etc.)

With national reductions in public support for federal fisheries programs, there are excellent opportunities to employ outstanding fisheries experts and to create an internationally recognized center of fisheries systems work. The emphasis is on systems and the definition in the first sentence of this document. Fisheries research centers now exist that are not likely to be surpassed. These have achieved excellence in select areas of fisheries work. In few places is there a powerful, committed, rational group at work, computer-aided, synthesizing the incredibly large and complex literature and making it work on the land and in the waters of Rural System, Inc.

The following are brief comments and ideas on what is planned for The Fishery:

  1. Create and operate a rapid-analysis and rapid-prescription writing system. In the computer are the equations and messages. Based on forms filled out by pond owners or by staff, a report (the Owner's Manual) will be sent (for a fee) telling how to solve problems or improve pond management. A staff analyst may then approach potential clients and cooperators for detailed analyses and prescriptions.
  2. Market and sell pond management and stream-management consulting services to all mining, agricultural, and other firms in the area. These services can be in permitting procedures, but many ponds exist for which advice is needed just to improve their overall role. Demonstration streams, lakes, and ponds can be built or identified for people interested in contracting with Rural System, Inc. and for others. There are many ponds in the county. These are often unmanaged and do not achieve their potentials as esthetic resources, as a component of a fishery, or in the other purposes for which they were intended. Rarely do they approach their potentials.
  3. We propose to operate a pond management program; manage ponds for land owners; charge for fee fishing; supply a percentage of profits to lake owners; diversify fishing opportunities (pricing quality of the experience); and provide employment of several varieties (including inspections and monitoring). Research may be supported from profits.
  4. There are thousands of unpublished fisheries reports. These can be secured from government sources and published or republished, especially if grouped in unique ways or if provided the "cement" of a computer program showing the practical results of putting 2 to 5 ideas together. These programs can be used on site, used with clients, and sold with reports to those interested. The programs will open doors to fees since few owners will want (or have competence) to use the programs delivered. In some cases, noted writers can be brought to the area, commissioned to write specific fisheries papers, and these sold. A staff writer may be employed to produce a steady stream of camera-ready, low-cost publications.
  5. By contacting the state judiciary, it may be possible to secure funds paid by industries in fines resulting from stream pollution. These fines (as Allied Chemical was instructed to pay in the kepone pollution incident in Virginia's James River) could be used in the enterprise for research on inventory systems, pollutant and coal effects, land use practices, fish and groundwater interactions, development of a regional fishery, and many related topics. (A list will be supplied on request.)
  6. The staff can seek contracts and grants from many sources. They may locate and suggest waters for research by university faculty.
  7. The staff may create a system by which contributions are actively solicited, typically for Rural System, Inc. Without much detail, and with fear of sounding trite, the system should include "capturing" school children's interests by them buying a square meter of lake (allowing them to relate personally and, hopefully, for a lifetime), supplying information to contributors, conducting tours and having areas sufficiently pleasant and rewarding that people desire to contribute to its upkeep. Efforts will be to relate people to fish groups, to lakes or streams, to problem areas and to cater to sub- group interests. Aquaria, glass-bottomed walkways over lakes, etc. are ways to inform as well as to seek personal attachment to the land and The Fishery and the work it does. Contributions from sporting clubs and others and the positive feedback from naming a stream rock-face or a stream reach for a contribution seem feasible.
  8. A highly efficient work crew, a "stream attack force" - perhaps summer-employed youths in a low-cost work camp environment-can be made available for costs for stream reclamation in the region.
  9. A source of fish-related art objects might be maintained and sales sponsored. Painters and sculptors might be commissioned to work on the area themselves, become part of tours conducted, and their objects sold. These objects can be used to build nature appreciation and that for interactions (e.g., fish-insect-plant)
  10. An organization called the Anglers may be created with each member seeking progress along 10 steps or stages of angling competence. The organization would collect membership fees, give deductions in fees on all related fishing areas, and all would be pushing toward high knowledge of fisheries, fishing efficiency, care of the land, fishing ethics, ecology, camping, woodcraft, fish life history, fish identification etc. This is not a meeting-oriented group (though an annual convention might be considered, especially for fees from displays by manufacturers, etc.) or politically oriented group. It helps provide a mailing list, outreach, memberships, fee promotion, consciousness (hats, badges, car stickers, T-shirts, boat stickers etc.). Most importantly it seeks to put a significant number of well- informed, resource users out on the land, getting far more than the average person gets from every unit of fish-protein produced. A special program is planned for attracting and supporting female anglers.
  11. Tours can be conducted for anglers but there is a need for a specialized staff to advertise and get corporate decision makers and natural resource managers in on highly efficient, clearly-cost--effective, 2- and 3-day intensive sessions on the full meaning of a fishery. At respectable fees, groups can be brought to and housed in or near tract facilities, taught actively in-doors, then taken on bus tours of ponds and streams to maximize learning, i.e., significantly changed behavior per dollar of their investment. Contacts for later service are an evident secondary result.
  12. Angler conferences (off-site) can be sponsored. Once expertise is gained, these conferences can be managed for other groups for a fee or they may be sponsored with fees.
  13. Bird lovers build life lists. They seek to see as many different species as possible. Serious birders will fly around the world to get one or two additions to their life list. Fish life lists are almost unknown. There is a rich fish fauna in the area. The Fishery can emphasize this new sport, provide publications and aids, help introduce it in the region, sell opportunities to gain, for example, 3 new species in that stream, 2 new ones in this stream, 1 in that pond. An entire new nature sport can be created. Obvious candidates may be Anglers (but they should be separate programs). Rules will be worked out, and there are license problems with seining for a new minnow and seining for fish. These can be resolved through proper efforts, including a special license (i.e., membership in this group of life-list builders). Computer records can be maintained; a newsletter can announce new leaders in the list; notices about where new species can be readily gotten; tours taken to allow a bus load of people to get 5-10 new species with one seining or electro-shocking activity.
  14. A special boat (new or one with a distinctive local style) can be constructed or specially equipped using many local materials by workers in a pole-shed environment. The workers will employ computer-aided design, and the boat will be uniquely suited for local fishing. The boats can be marketed nationally and sales supported by the many visitors to the area. Built by trained craftsmen or women, these unique boats will be used in research and other activities of The Fishery. Intensive use of such boats in mapping ponds and lakes with GPS and making GIS maps of waterways will help market them.
  15. An extensive bait enterprise can be created along with a pet native fish and aquarium enterprise.
  16. Fisheries research is badly needed, worldwide. Fisheries studies or applied research, using the full range of activities of the area and the net monetary gains from The Fishery can be significant. The research effort from such funds can build staff and facilities. It can encourage visitors and conferences that will use or feed into other Rural System, Inc. system activities and interests. Visitors can bring new ideas, techniques, and computer programs that can be rapidly sent to the field by the activities and contacts outlined above.

    See and and The Trevey developments.


    Development costs are $80,000

    The Raccoon Group

    Furbearers are animals with great appeal, with hardly-exploited financial potentials, and needing management. A rich variety of these animals lives in the county -- raccoon, beaver, weasel, mink, bobcats, and others. Without management they can compromise other management objectives but they can also be changed into a profitable managerial enterprise. Much research has been done on them, but much, much more is needed and few people realize the complexity and relations of their system and that of other components of Rural System, Inc. and its objectives.

    The need is for application of the findings of many studies integrated with some of the most intense, far-reaching research anywhere in the world. It should not be on the biology of the animal alone (the past trend) but on the total profitable enterprise. Agencies have waited for funds but no one has stabilized an intensive management system including feedback and future predictions. The prospects are not for recreational trapping (strongly opposed by some) but for a viable, profitable enterprise utilizing one of the natural products of the Pivotal Tracts ... in ways no one else has been able to sustain in the past.

    The emphasis of a major part of the work is on the raccoon. Extensive research results can be brought to showing a superior, total resource system for one species, a system related not only to furs but also several types of hunting. Profits from a fur enterprise are a primary interest. The strategies include marketing of furs; strategic buying; improvements in trapper success and humane taking; improved care of the pelts; storage; local cutting and trimming; alternative uses of partials; and alternative uses of the entire carcass. Fur markets seem to fluctuate due to style and other phenomena. We propose to work with the fur industry, seek new marketing strategies, avoid public confrontations, retain a private-for-profit stance, diversify the work of the group, and demonstrate the potentials of storage to achieve sale when prices are high.

    Work will include sophisticated research (expected to attract visitors and students); furbearer workshops for state and federal biologists; trapper schools; vertebrate pest damage manager schools; fur-buyer schools. Software development will enhance some work, especially as it shows how ecological communities (that support each furbearer) change over time. Trapping zones, presence of animal sign, species conflicts, profit per unit area, and costs-to-take maps are planned elements of the system. Visitors may come to the area with the planned objective of seeing and photographing all of the furbearers present. A newsletter announces the successful people, tells of research accomplishments, shares in knowledge of the furbearers, and provides excellent photographs, poems, new book suggestions and other natural history information of interest. Close links are built with Nature Folks.

    The work is in local, highly synthetic activity, linking ecological succession in all communities and types to the many species commonly known as furbearers. Even if no furs are ever taken or sold, the number of large, difficult-to-see, top-of-the-food-web animals is very important to the ecology of the area and must be mastered. The rodent-, predator-, grass-, deer-coyote system is an example of a small, conspicuous system that needs knowledge and management.

    The financial base of the system will come from schools, memberships, tours, individual guests on the area, volunteer work (in-kind salary equivalents), workshops, publications, photo opportunities (for a fee), art commissions, sale of harvested products (glands, bones, biological instruction kits), and new products and services of the Pest Force. A link will be made with the nigh-time activities of The Owls Group of Nature Folks.


    A relatively small amount of start-up equipment and transportation are required. Startup: $50,000. Office and computer support with marketing are anticipated from System Central.

    The Black Bear Group

    The black bear is a complex animal. The black bear population is complex. The bear is a potential resource, far greater than imagined as simply an animal or an animal population. Working with that concept of a complex, potential resource within the context of Rural System, Inc. is the work of The Black Bear Group.

    There is great interest in it as a game animal, a tourist attraction, a livestock killer, a bee hive and conifer pest, and an interesting component of the natural ecosystem. They, like the grizzly, work with young for several years. In this is an important message for families and youth needing care and instruction for many years in the future society. Much is known, but the list of questions is longer than the answers.

    The Black Bear Group is formed to gather knowledge, synthesize it, create powerful models, use the results in all of the enterprises for tourism, recreation protection, reducing costs and damage, and drawing a different clientele to the area for many purposes. Agency support for long-term research does not seem possible. The bear can become an important part of the present backcountry system. It is seen as an unexploited resource that can be preserved, stabilized, and net gains made by its presence.

    The Black Bear Group will likely do most of the following...

    1. Conduct hunts (local, nationally, internationally)
    2. Process hides, flesh, bones, and body parts
    3. Conduct tooth aging
    4. Do food habits analyses (see the Unified Laboratory)
    5. Sponsor excellent taxidermy
    6. Conduct wildlife law enforcement research
    7. Prevent bear-related accidents and events
    8. Develop a GIS system relating to all aspects of the ecology and use of the bear
    9. Create a world-class population model of the bear and its benefit stream
    10. Sponsor alternatives to bear parts in Asian medicine
    11. Conduct prescribed burns for bear habitat production
    12. Develop trails (with Stoneworms group) into bear country
    13. Conduct tours into bear country
    14. Conduct bear den tours
    15. Encourage photography, provide photo blinds
    16. Conduct a black bear photo contest with prize money
    17. Sponsor wood carving contest (bear or bear-related)(see The Sculptors)
    18. Sell quality bear related art work
    19. Provide memberships with newsletter and services
    20. Hold periodic conferences on the black bear
    21. Present a regional and national lecture series
    22. Conduct contract research
    23. Provide a variety of consulting services
    24. Market a bear-related educational game (Gamma)
    25. Publish books on a variety of bear subjects (from folk tales to technical)
    26. Conduct horseback rides into ancient forests
    27. Sponsor ecotourism and ranging, both locally and internationally (see International and Tours) with participants seeking to see all of the bears of the world, perhaps photograph them
    28. Sponsor a membership class in which a black bear hunter progresses through 10 levels of increasingly rigorous standards and challenges
    29. Sell slide shows and photographs of bear and related systems
    30. Conduct a summer course for university students on bear systems (showing the Rural System Concept by means of the black bear)
    31. Selling select software useful in the wildlands of the black bear.
    There are now many biologists that have studied bear. Their work is not well integrated. Specialists have developed. We propose a series of in-depth interviews. We propose to recruit a superior biologist/ecologist that is systems oriented and to develop a knowledge-based program and one to do all of the above things, unified. No simple limits can be set but a new, developing enterprise is expected to develop into a full time operation with the products, services, and opportunities of The Black Bear Group.


    A relatively small amount of start-up equipment and transportation are required. Startup: $80,000. Office and computer support, with marketing, are anticipated from System Central.

    The Bobcat Group

    Similar to The Black Bear Group, The Bobcat Group is designed to work with The Wilderness Group and others and to strive to develop a dynamic, modern managerial studies program that includes profitable tours in the context of other activities of Rural System, Inc.

    The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a valuable part of the wildlife resource of the state and region. It is widespread in the nation. In addition to being a fur resource, it has been listed as endangered in some areas, a predator in others. It is high in wildland food chains and thus has potentials as a biological monitor. It is a significant predator and can serve as a fundamental link to improved understandings of basic predator-prey relations. Seeing one may be a lifetime recreational high point. It requires advanced ecological communities and, because of this, it is an indicator organism, a key to assessing the development of land. It is thus one measure of reclamation success and for some "land health" or "land integrity." The main objective of the Group is to create a center for the study and utilization of the bobcat as a vital natural resource. This is a proposed research laboratory but also a center for the long-term investigation of bobcats of the region - their ecology, economics, esthetics, and energetics. It includes education, analyses of the animal as a pest and predator, and the development of predator-prey theory and related software. It includes art sales, photography, publications, tours, and extended relations with people interested in the wild cats of the world. A membership for people interested in the cat, the cat family, and international feline resources is conceived. The bobcat thus is to become the center of a new enterprise.

    Costs of studies and related development parallel those of the black bear. Detailed proposals and analyses will be supplied upon request. Notes on proposed preliminary studies are available.


    Development costs: $50,000. This is a break-even activity with gains probably equaling salaries and costs.

    Official Avi: A Birdwatching Sport

    Official Avi is the new for-profit sport of bird watching on private, franchised, bird-watching courses. It has strong parallels to conventional golf. First described by R.H. Giles in 1985, it has been studied and developed further and a description is available. It may be developed on an existing golf course or, better, an area already rich with bird species. Major construction is for the trail. An office for sales and computer operation is desirable. Optional lake or water courses may be developed.

    In 1999 it was found that 94.5% of people over 16 participate in some form of outdoor recreation. Birding was among the top five fastest growing activities among 25% of the population. The number is increasing faster than the population. (See Birding 31(2): 168-176.)

    The sport is similar to golf. It may even be affiliated with the edge environments of existing golf courses. A player pays a fee or gains a membership, uses a carefully designed "course" with trails. A handicap is given each player; the day is given a weight or potential; a score card is obtained. A rulebook is sold. Players observe birds at their pace trying to see all of the birds of a course, trying to best a previous score, trying to out-compete a friend. Franchise courses become available, some in other countries. An international membership is established with superior players announced. It works interactively with The Tours Group. People seek to obtain high scores, to "max out" a course, to get life-list additions from Avi courses. A course 'pro' may assist observers. Sales and rentals of equipment are available. Night course work is available with night-viewing equipment rental. Groups may use the course but usually only small-groups or single observers are found along the trails in all seasons.

    Situation and Scenario

    A bird watcher goes to the Avi course, pays a fee, has his or her membership (or new) number entered, gets a "handicap" based on the season and the weather, receives a recent list of birds likely on the area (a hand-held computer may be used to select birds seen), and is admitted to the course. An observer handicap may be requested based on auditory, visual ability, use of binoculars or scopes, color blindness, age, and experience in bird watching or length of the prior Avi life list). The observer participates as long as desired. (A serving-line model is used to prevent bunching-up or to minimize disturbance or maximize privacy along the course.)

    Observers walk a trail through well-managed habitats especially planned by wildlife managers to diversify the birds (maximize "richness"), make sightings likely and pleasant. Observers go through habitats, may use the blinds available, may take a boardwalk high into the trees to see warblers, may walk near a marsh or mud flat to get to other species.

    Each bird has a conspicuousness index. Extra points are gotten for seeing inconspicuous birds. Extra birds are gotten for seeing rare birds. An honor system is at work. No one checks. A computer file is kept for each Avi player. They try to beat their prior score, or a score on the same chrono- and pheno-date last year. Private competition between and among players is common.

    A report is produced via the Internet, naming the top 10-20 Avi players of the week. A national list is kept of people who have seen the most birds at Avi courses (the Avi lifelist). A national list is given to subscribers of Avi News of the top 20 scores of players in the previous month. The best courses are listed, based on all of the scores of all of the players. All players have kept for them a cumulative list of all birds seen on courses. After a certain number, say 110, it becomes harder to add a new species. Points are awarded for these next-level advances.

    A budget system provides automated address labels, mailing and publication announcements and records of who spends what and when. A gross simulator suggests the interaction of planned changes, people attending, operation costs, number of courses, etc.

    Rural System, Inc. in the region will be the first place that this challenging new sport may become a reality. The potential players are numerous. Once created, other courses in the Eastern and Western U.S., Mexico, Belize, Senegal, India, and elsewhere may be created as franchises. Confident of the financial potential, the natural resource knowledge challenges are exciting for perceptive staff.

    Relations or advertising and cooperative tours and Dogwood Inn affiliations can likely be made with a variety of commercial interests and advertising.

    The Avi courses may exist alone but the synergistic effects of many enterprises that are closely related can reduce the risks inherent in start-up operations, reduce costs and delays, and the courses themselves can increase the probability of a satisfactory, memorable experience of all visitors and guests of select sites within Rural System, Inc.

    Grossly related potentials are suggested in the following late 1999-email note: It's that time again! Time to start rounding up your teammates, field guides and birdsong tapes. The Birding Classic 2000 kicks off on Friday April 7, 2000 in Brownsville Texas with the Opening Ceremonies, moves up the coast to Port Aransas for the central coast section on April 12 then wraps up in Texas City on Sunday April 16 with the Awards Brunch. In our first three years we have awarded $150,000 to avian habitat conservation projects! We've proven the event can pay for itself and generate money for conservation. Any additional funds we can earn this year will be used to increase the size of our conservation grants. We'd love to give out $75,000 to $100,000 this year.

    The Great Texas Birding Classic is open to competitors of all ages and levels of experience. You can compete among your peers in one, two or all three of the "big days" of birding. If competitive birding is not your style there are several ways that you or your organization can be involved in this fun filled annual event. Here are just a few:

    These are just a few possibilities. For more information about Teams, Sponsorship, Conservation Cash Grand Prizes and more check out the TPW web site at ... We'd love to have more teams this year. I've assisted with the Birding Classic for 3 years now and can tell you it is one heck of a birding experience - especially for folks from out-of-state. Texas in April in wonderful and the birding is beyond comprehension. I still remember a birder from Massachusetts telling me how he added 30 species to his life list in one day of scouting - he was almost beyond words. It was clear that the experience was more than a species count to him.

    Those of you from the northern states will see warblers like you've never seen them before 10-20 feet away at eye level. I well remember suffering from days of 'warbler neck', trying to ID warblers in trees 30 feet overhead, only seeing belly feathers half the time. I have friends who think the ultimate outdoor experience is a 5-day elk hunt in the Rockies - one form of total immersion in the outdoors. I think the Texas Birding Classic provides a similar experience, though the dining experiences are probably different (camp food vs. road food like Cheese-Wiz and Whataburgers - not sure who's the winner there). The Birding Classic is more harried, but that's part of the challenge. Some have called it the 'Ironman' of birding - a week of scouting and birding can be a challenge. But seeing 200-300 species of birds is unique also. Those of you who know other birders - it only takes 3 of you to make a team. You can participate in 1 day of the competition, or all 3 days.

    We'd love to have some more teams representing conservation organizations, and some teams representing universities. Would love to see a Texas A and M vs. UT birding rivalry in birding (or UT vs. Cornell?). Maybe one Audubon chapter versus another, plus toss in some Sierra Club types for good measure. If we can get enough teams representing these types of groups, we'd like to offer prizes to the top university team, or the top conservation group team.

    Give it some thought. It's a fun time and the money raised benefits the birds. John Herron, Wildlife Diversity Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Matt Dozier, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Birding Classic Coordinator.


    Development costs, excluding land acquisition - $150,000. Profits are estimated in relation to 5,000 visits @ $20

    The Wild Turkey Group

    Like The Deer Group, The Wild Turkey Group represents a radical departure in wildlife and game management in North America and an innovation in wildland management. First described by Giles in a wild turkey conference in 1981, the concept of the wild turkey enterprise, one among many, has been taught, discussed, and improved. The concept is one of intensive, single-species management. Acknowledging the role of the state agencies in restoring the wild turkey, the proposed enterprise is not in opposition to but a test of the alternative to state and federal programs that emphasize multiple-use, ecosystem management, and general upland game management.

    As an alternative, it responds to:

    1. lack of awareness of the numbers and importance and interest in the wild turkey
    2. lack of knowledge about where to turn for management on private lands
    3. unresponsiveness of agencies to requests for action (limited staff, limited budgets, conflicting policies, and competitive programs)
    4. concern over high program costs (with no insight about financial returns)
    5. fragmented efforts
    6. and agency inability to resolve the policy issue of extensive projects of localized intensive action.

    Collectively, past public agency problems have not worked as well as they might on behalf of the wild turkey or of the resource users. The Wild Turkey Group denies that all animals are mere 'wildlife' and subject to the same generalizations. It demands superior managerial skills and knowledge and uses them, not merely collects them. From one perspective, the Group is a large agribusiness management firm. It manages land for profits related to the "crop," defined as human benefits associated with the bird. The human benefits are diverse and many (such as those associated with the hunting complex of the 12,000 birds harvested in Virginia in the 2001 season), and likely to be increased by management.

    The approach and the actions of the Group are as follows. They will be developed cautiously but rapidly to achieve a diverse, sustainable enterprise that brings a diverse clientele to lands of the region, assures stable use in the hunting season as well as other times, and operates a consulting and service group to assist land owners in achieving positive gains from their land and wild turkey resource.

    The actions include:

    1. Offering voluntary memberships for individuals and corporations.
    2. Promoting a systems approach to single-species management for maximum benefits over time
    3. Providing forest and wildland taxation advice
    4. Providing improved forest land value assessment for long-term valuation and land and water banking
    5. Providing advice on agro-energy land use incentives
    6. Providing income from lands usually idle that can at least pay real estate taxes
    7. Providing access to a foundation or relating to an educational and research group that provides tax incentives for progressive investment in the natural resource
    8. Developing publications and media related to the wild turkey
    9. Providing a scoring service, partially for public relations purposes, partially as a means for corporate officers to evaluate progress being made on their lands.

    For example, a score might be reported: "The corporation lands were certified by The Wild Turkey Group to have a score of 76." The corporation might boast of such a score, show progress, and show scores relative to competitors. Such scores may have importance in certain corporate values and in real estate sales. A new development on the land may increase or decrease such a score and thus the score may have public relations and marketing values.

  17. Providing convenient, highly-effective methods for assessing environmental effects of proposed corporation changes, on or off corporation lands
  18. Promoting competition between corporations in wild turkey management. Use of the above score may be a major part of the competition
  19. Providing full-service fee hunting on corporate or other lands. These include centralized services, high efficiency, impartial administration, experienced procedures, maximum safety and security, improved hunt quality, and financial returns to the company from their lands
  20. Conducting special shows, workshops, and educational events, at cost, for Rural System. Inc. on their lands to communicate to workers, unions, citizens, etc. the program, the progress, and related land management interests
  21. Arranging for special advertising of corporate wild turkey work to assure maximum public relations benefits from investments in the resource
  22. Forming cooperatives, combinations of adjacent lands, allowing large-area management, improved hunting opportunities, desired habitat interspersion, and significant economies of scale in labor, supplies, software, and contractual services
  23. Providing uniform modern law enforcement service and trespass and vandalism deterrence (The Safety and Security Group)
  24. Creating a highly competitive national program for the Stalker. Individuals purchase applications and materials and begin an arduous educational, hunting, wildlife knowledge, safety, and 'appropriate wildland behavior' course. Hunters and others may achieve various levels of success, the latter of which permit hunting and observation privileges on scores corporate lands and special areas at reduced cost (some reserved exclusively for Stalkers X). The program includes opportunities for youths
  25. Presenting successes in areas other than the turkey. Clearly turkey-oriented, the program benefits songbirds, reduces erosion, protects stream banks, and improves conditions for several other kinds of wild animals and plants. Corporations or landowners can use these reports in various ways
  26. Seeking creation of a multi-state turkey hunter's license
  27. Providing ornithology groups tours (at cost) (Nature Folks) so that some members may add the bird to their life list
  28. Operating several major hunting lodges that enable significant, high-quality hunting to be experienced by executives and special friends of the Group and the cooperating landowners
  29. Providing prescribed burning and wild fire management services
  30. Providing detailed turkey management plans for each area including dynamic plans at a web site
  31. Providing special users' and hunters' insurance.

Interest in the wild turkey has grown and the populations have also grown. The growth may be correlated. Hunting opportunities have been sold. In 1983 Turkey hunting lease costs were:
Alabama $0.35 to $4.00 per acre;
Florida $0.80 to $4.00;
Georgia $ 1 to 2.50 per acre; and
Mississippi, $0.80 to $10 per acre.

As with deer hunting, cost expressions are highly debated. Whether the antique shotgun used should be entered into the equation with shot, license, food, lodging, clothing, dogs, and blinds is only one small part of the controversy. The worth of a vacation-day vs a normal day of work foregone for hunting is controversial. Travel-costs seem to be a good way to estimate "willingness-to-pay," but this method is also controversial. Rural System, Inc. believes that modern urban people will pay a fair price for daily and half-day opportunities, especially those that are, safe, supervised, and in the company of "members" who have training and a professed set of standards. Taking a bird is not required, only the pleasant total experience and the chance to return. Rural System, Inc. and its Wild Turkey Group manage the "experience" that begins with planning, and continues with equipment buying, travel, scouting the land, hunting (many methods), having group experiences, disposing of the take, and it continues through the year (or a life-time) in reflecting on the experience. We do not provide hunts but an experience. To "rent an area for a season" is to grossly under-utilize regional private land and the wildlife resource.

The Wild Turkey Group does not exist. Nothing in it is absolutely new; nothing has to be invented. Its newness is in its concept, its diversity, and its emphasis on large private land holdings, and pooled resources. The turkey resource is passively managed. Millions of private landowners cannot be contacted with the resources, time, staff or interest available in agencies. To spend a meaninglessly small 2 days with each forest landowner in the turkey range would require a large team of biologists over many working years just to make the first contacts! An option to that silly scenario is for a company to work with corporations and landowners wherein a few decision-makers control vast areas of habitat of the turkey.

The Wild Turkey Group may create a demonstration area and the center of such activity. Centralized for knowledge and service, centralized for computer mapping and land analyses, dispersed for cost-effective fieldwork, The Wild Turkey Group can meet many objectives.


Preliminary estimates suggest minimum development expenditures of $150,000 may result in profits after 6 years of:

The Covey: A Quail Related Group

The Covey is an alternate farm and open land wildlife management group with interests in quail but also in songbirds, woodchucks, and small game in general. Although there are few quail in the mountain region of the state (as compared to Piedmont-Virginia), there are huntable populations and they are an important bird within the interests on biodiversity and general quality of life.

The Covey operates a membership with newsletter and seeks to demonstrate intensive management of farm game, showing maximum populations. These population levels (with computer models describing natural differences) are then suggested as reasonable alternatives and limits and thus limits to cost-effective expenditures. Such limits are poorly known and those that are available are rarely used.

A set of alternative management strategies is available and these, along with innovative work, will be conducted on Pivotal Tracts and contract lands. Practices and strategies found successful may then be suggested for other lands.

Similar to The Deer Group, The Raccoon Group, and The Wild Turkey Group, The Covey is a single-species approach to wildlife management. While in favor of multiple-use and ecosystem management on public land, its staff advances the concept that people wanting maximum benefits from a resource must concentrate on that resource and find its upper limits, then gradually and conservatively back off of that limit to meet other objectives for wildlife and other resources. We start with quail, then decide how much it will cost over the long run to achieve other objectives on the same land (and adjacent lands).

The group publishes books and photographs for profit on quail, conducts tours and field trips, sponsors special hunts, conducts public lectures on quail-land management, establishes survey routes, and provides expert consultation for landowners. It cooperates where feasible with others interested in quail but offers an alternative that is very field-oriented.
Looking for something different for breakfast? Try quail eggs.
They have all the nutrition of chicken eggs but less cholesterol.
Place hard-boiled quail eggs in salads for a special treat.
Pickled quail eggs are a cocktail-hour favorite.
Ask for Pivotal quail recipes.

Perhaps working with "Quail Unlimited," this group operates a quail management demonstration area, a dog trial area; sells publications, art, sculptures, and photographs; and operates a quail hatchery and "game farm," selling quail and quail eggs to specialty restaurants. Staff present seminars, hold dog trials and related seminars, sell hunting-dog related art and dog and quali-related carvings, and seek grants for studies likely to provide new insights into wild quail population increase or stability of profits. The objective is sustained profits from the quail resource and things closely related to it.

Quail have declined in some areas of the state because of radical changes in land use, human occupancy, pesticide use, and increase in specialized predators. They can be abundant on areas where the conditions are right, made so by the intensive of wildlife managers. Not a "multiple-use" program, unusual patterns of land use and use rotation are required. Wishing for the return of high quail populations or expecting land-use reversals is normal ... but the probability of that working is very low. Building on some progress already made with the state programs in quail management, this program demonstrates on the land the high productivity of quail that can be gained with superior management. (See also GPSlips for marking areas of quail flushes.)

In January 3, 2003, there was e-mail-announced interest in quail populations and their conditions. Regrettably, the suggested work is unlikely to produce useful ,cost-effective results:

FIELD RESEARCH ASSISTANTS needed March 1st, 2003 until Sept 1st, 2003 to assist in a bobwhite quail study in western Tennessee. One position available Jan 20th, 2003. The main focus of the study will be the effects of releasing pen-raised quail on wild quail populations. Must have or be pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in wildlife science or related field. Research duties will include trapping, handling, and fitting bobwhite quail with radio transmitters, extensive radio telemetry, nest finding and monitoring, nest camera work, GPSing, and data management using Excel and ArcView GIS. Must be willing to work 45 – 65 hrs / week. Hiring based on enthusiasm and work ethic, not necessarily experience. Pay $6.75 /hr. Housing provided. Submit a letter of interest, resume, and 3 references including phone numbers and e-mail addresses to Rachel Whittington (e-mail address: ) Ames Plantation, 4275 Buford Ellington Rd., Grand Junction, TN 38039; (901)-878-1392.


Development costs are $40,000. Estimated annual returns at the end of the 6th year:

The Dogs Group

Dogs can be many things to the people of the region. Some are pests and problems, others are family members, helpers, protectors, and working dogs. The Dogs Group is devoted to the superior care and training of dogs, their health, and their responsible roles within the society. It promotes responsible day-care for dogs, active uses for dogs in security, patrolling, visiting hospitals and other health-care places, reducing wild dogs and their effects, and adopting responsible ordinances related to dogs.

The Group provides membership in a local or regional organization, e-mail news and notes, occasional meetings, veterinary clinics, sponsors superior feeding-for-health programs, and conducts fairs and demonstrations.

It is particularly interested in the psychology of dogs and trainers and in achieving rapid training of dogs for responsible roles in society. Eventually hiring staff and recruiting trainers who are talented, the Group offers on-site boarding and training programs. With select areas, it operates exercise programs for dogs, and operates weekend "play areas" and special walking pathways for dogs and people who care for them.

A special health care monitoring program is conducted and health scores assigned based on a computer analysis of data on each animal. Close work with the College of Veterinary Science at Tech and its students is anticipated. The group seeks research grants related to dogs, especially as related to products and activities from other Rural System, Inc. activities (e.g., Safety and Security, Novosports, The Raccoon Group).

It works with vertebrate pest control people to appraise the use of dogs in protecting livestock from coyotes. It shares interests with The Coyote, a group interested in the wild canids. It also shares interests in the hunting dogs related to quail, deer, bears, and raccoons. It uses dogs in surveys of wildlife transects and conducts demonstrations of well trained dogs, especially those used in hunting and in wildlife resource management (outlined by Fred Zwickel in Techniques of Wildlife Management, 1971, pages 319-324).

Funds are made from memberships, equipment sales, percentage of trainers' fees, housing, boarding of dogs of various participants in other Rural System activities, sale of superior feeds, commissions from book sales, and from people attending an annual conference (with exhibits, demonstrations, crafts, etc.). It seeks advertisers and works for commissions and discounts (such as through It may expand to work with hunting dogs (bear, raccoon, fox, etc.). See also Good Dog, a behavior monitoring procedure for hunting dogs. This is a region-wide business and works actively to gain members and participants world-wide. Much part-time employment and expert work is expected.

Income Low Moderate High
Memberships 300@$35 10,500 20,000 30,000
Trainee Customers @ $200 4,000 8,000 10,000
Feed and Equipment Sales 5,000 8,000 10,000
Annual Conference 5,000 6,000 10,000
Publications 500 2,000 5,000
Play-area Admissions 500 1,000 2,000
Health Monitoring Program 2,000 3,000 8,000
Totals 27,000 48,000 75,000

There are potential subscriber commissions with The Bark quarterly and other publications or corporations.

Initial costs with two-person staff with part-time employees, kennels, fences, equipment, computer programs - $50,000. Estimated gains are shown above.

The Pest Force

The Pest Force is an integrated vertebrate damage management enterprise. Its function is central to the sustained profits of Rural System, Inc. Profit need not be made exclusively from product and service sales. A net return is the concept of profit - reducing losses is fully as essential as improving gains. The Force exists to meet the needs of citizens, corporations, and agencies and to serve the pest control industry that is typically involved with insect and invertebrate animal problems. It is a private, for-profit corporation seeking to improve comprehensive, total system management with partner enterprises of the Rural System, Inc.

The recognized needs are in mastering relations and making tradeoffs within Rural System, Inc. and with society. For example, one group of people may want to increase deer; others (perhaps including some in that group) may want to reduce deer damage to crops or vehicles. Some wanting to increase bears may find sheep and beehive losses intolerable. A group exists because of their interest in the wild dogs, the foxes and coyote. They often operate from a protectionist viewpoint.

The Pest Force concentrates on damage, not necessarily on the animal apparently causing it. It then seeks to reduce and manage that damage legally, humanely, and cost-effectively. Its philosophy outline is available. It is sensitive to human regard for life and treatment of animals, but it is also realistic about the threats related to animals of rabies, West Nile virus, tularemia, leptospirosis, encephalitis, and psiticosis. The interaction of the fleas of cats and dogs to those brought to them by mice and other animals is well known. Wild animals are reservoirs of insect-borne diseases.

The company has an effective program of town and neighborhood rat control and offers mouse control. It is equally responsive to select needs of people for solutions immediate and long-term, for household and corporate problems with bats, moles, snakes, geese (golf courses), woodpeckers, feral cats and dogs, squirrels, gulls (airports), starlings, skunks, muskrats (pond dams) and garden pests. It offers effective deer management strategies.

The Pest Force emphasizes work on damage, analyzing it relative to costs over time of controls and uses a combination of methods, often selected with the aid of a computer, to select an optimum strategy of damage management. The customer may implement the selected and recommended strategy, or it may obtain the Pest Force services to do so. Fees are paid for the visit, analysis, and implementation.

The Pest Force with the Wildland Knowledge Base builds a database and report system and provides every customer with unusual information about each species of pest. An internal, evolving expert system in the enterprise computer is a highly valued proprietary resource.

The Pest Force is not a group of trappers (though trapping may be the only cost-effective, legal, safe, and timely response to a disease-related or fierce-animal problem). Its trained staff is willing to work in often-dangerous conditions in order to solve people's immediate, often costly problems. Many of the problems are not those of direct financial loss, but of lost quality of life-sleeplessness, fear, annoyance, and uncertainty. The staff experiences the pleasure of helping people, improving the environment, protecting it from often unnecessary large-scale, simplistic, animal control efforts, and working to improve Rural System, Inc. itself.

The Pest Force may work with students and faculty at Virginia Tech and elsewhere, providing employment and experience for undergraduate students, and research and project options for graduate students and faculty. The animals involved in the work of the Pest Force are measured and scientists use results to learn more about the animals and the effective control of their actual or perceived damages. Unique problems do occur and the staff, with a taskforce, will attack such problems. In some cases research is needed, but Rural System, Inc. typically uses a rationally robust strategy (Giles et al. 1995), adaptive management, and sophisticated computer "expert system" software.

The Pest Force offers geographic information system (GIS) analyses through System Central. One recurrent theme in damage management is that the wrong crops (or other things of value) are put in the wrong places. "They could not have picked a worse place!" is often heard. GIS can help developers avoid problems by selecting the right or "least bad" spots for crops, livestock, buildings, etc. GIS can help explain problem causes, identify trends, project future problems as land uses change due to ecological succession or urban sprawl.

The Pest Force offers unusual design services. Major pest damage problems arise in faulty design. Simple changes in architecture or building construction can avoid costly damage reduction work year after year. A question-answer software unit allows contractors, developers, and architects to solve some of their own animal damage design problems (personally and within the security of their creative spaces). Personal advice from staff is also available because the software available will not likely address unique structures.

The group of animals with great appeal and with unexploited financial potentials is one for intensive management, the furbearers. A rich variety of these animals lives in the region -- raccoon, beaver, weasel, mink, and others. These need management since they cause damage and can compromise other management objectives but they can also be changed into a profitable managerial enterprise. Much research has been done on them, but much, much more is needed and few people realize the complexity and relations of their system and that of other components of the Pivotal Tracts and Rural System, Inc. objectives. The need is for some of the most intense, far-reaching research anywhere in the world. It should not be on the biology of the animal alone (the past trend) but on the total profitable enterprise. Agencies have waited for funds but none to our knowledge have stabilized an intensive management system including feedback and future predictions. The prospects are not for recreational trapping (strongly opposed by some) but for a viable, profitable enterprise utilizing one of the natural products of the ways no one else has been able to sustain in the past.

A specialized program for beaver management may be developed, one including beaver removal, tours, education, anti-preservationist work, publications, damage assessment, legal assistance, and integration with forestry and fisheries.

The laws that relate to controlling animals are now very complex. Trained, certified, bonded staff can avoid these issues, adding further to cost effectiveness and increased expected value of services provided. Expert testimony can be provided. A sub-unit, one often with parallel work and emphases is described here as The Raccoon Group. A powerful resource book for solutions is available, as is contact with the Berryman Institute. Chemical toxicity and related matters are now available at CIS. Knowing where rich resources such as Chemical Information System can be obtained (information about chemical toxicity, biodegradation, environmental fate, chemical/physical properties, site assessment, effects on wildlife, occupational safety and health and much more) can be a service to many groups of Rural System, Inc.


Development costs are estimated as $80,000. Profits:

The Wildland Crew

Not the local workers, The Wildland Crew is an ongoing enterprise that provides wildland work experience for the modern urbanite seeking to re-connect with his or her past and the present world of hard physical outdoor work. People pay to come to the region to do meaningful work in a healthful environment. This is a special wildland type of experience that includes significant amounts of education with part of the work being on research or data collection projects in different parts of the wildland. It is highly variable but primarily involved in forest-and-wildlife-related work.

A lasting membership in The Crew is encouraged. There is social bonding, employment leads for the future, tales of other crew experiences, a web site, new projects and invitations to work on unique team projects (a bridge in a week; a new research tower within a forest; a trail across xxx; a solar collector at zzz; a new corral at hhh)...these are parts of The Wildland Crew concept. This is a seasonal camp experience (moving camps every 3-4 days) for adults with a special dimension of hard physical work combined with education. It provides a radical change from the typical urban office stresses.

Evening entertainment is typically planned. Work is phased to minimize sore muscles and to assure safety. The messages include meaningful physical work, outdoor health, genuine contributions to knowledge, understanding of conservation issues and their complexity, fun of teamwork, and the influence of work on the body and spirit. A sub-unit invites university students of wildland resources to attend to gain work experiences. Half of the experiences are physical, half are analytical and descriptive. The certificate received at the end will become a valuable part of the employment resume in the future since most of the students will view the experience as a lifetime highlight. One task of The Wildland Crew is to improve the field experience base of the modern university wildland student who typically has no wildland hero or heroine and has no physical experience in the outdoors (other than hiking and camping which is largely passive and appreciative.) The students need to learn the wildland and work-world language, learn the meaning of an order, learn the amount of work that can be done in a day, and learn about the human dimensions of leadership and team work.

These are planned as year-around activities with stressful winter work in the region being one aspect of the options available for people seeking realistic experiences. Part of the work for most crews will be conducted out of group tents set up at a work site. The conditions will be comfortable, food excellent, may include wagon or river trips, and evening entertainment of the campfire type planned and arranged to go along with typical stories and conversations.


Development costs are for staff, modest camp equipment, special marketing, and vehicles ($60,000). Profits:

The 4 x 4 Group

The Four x Four Group is for people with ORV (off-road-) or OHV Off-Highway Vehicle interests. It is a profitable enterprise but has as secondary objectives of contributing to the Rural System, Inc. objectives, motivating learning, developing meaningful student projects, increasing employment opportunities, developing related land-use guides and techniques, and conducting research on vehicles and their effects in the open terrain. Many of the activities are already well developed in several groups. Opportunities for affiliations exist in the county and surrounding areas of Roanoke, Blacksburg, Covington, etc. The selection of a "personality," activities, and outreach will determine the local group and its lasting influence and benefits to its members.

Profit oriented, the Group is likely to be engaged in activities and services selected from:

  1. Developing a procedure for scoring trails and routes
  2. Developing a software unit (GIS) for locating and selecting areas within large parts of Virginia and West Virginia for desirable use of 4-wheel drive vehicles
  3. Developing a GPS related activity (like GPSence) or use with vehicles
  4. Developing an open organization with newsletter and meetings for 4-wheel drive enthusiasts
  5. Developing a tagging program, offering a tag for vehicles based on special inspections (at reduced rates for members)
  6. Arranging for a special insurance with reduced rates for members or those who have taken a course
  7. Conducting a course for fees (safety, first aid, repairs, emergency work, driver safety, driver health)
  8. Developing trails or routes with maps and advice for members.
  9. Conducting trail rides (for fees) with educational stops, and catered meals at destinations (winter and fall rides are highlights)
  10. Conducting night rides (in connection with The Owls Group and Coyote )
  11. Conducting shows (for fees)
  12. Conducting contests (entrant fees)
  13. Being available for rescue missions
  14. Conducting random (planned) safety and security citizen checkup routes
  15. Being ready for fire-fighting assistance
  16. Developing a unit of The Wildland Crew
  17. Conducting reduced maintenance and care costs programs with 1-2 garages under contract (with discounts for members)
  18. Conducting instruction in road layout, erosion control, care and maintenance for bulldozer operators, loggers, land owners
  19. Selling parts
  20. Selling maps and related services
  21. Selling special paint products and services
  22. Creating and selling software
  23. Selling publications
  24. Creating and managing a web site with sales of memberships, books, supplies, trips, tours with other groups, vehicle parts, videos of driving, safety, insurance, vehicles themselves (the e-auction).
  25. Forming partnerships with off-road manufacturers such as Range Rover, Jeep, and Honda to educate drivers, riders, event observers, and landowners.
  26. Inspecting road sections and filing reports on the Internet on conditions for members…and security or searching/emergency forces.
  27. Lobbying (supported by vehicle sales groups, parts retailers, etc.)
  28. Research grants (overhead) in connection with Virginia Tech, with results plowed back into the enterprise.
  29. Commissions on parts sales inspired by the Group.
  30. Becoming the transportation unit for Rural System, Inc. within System Central

There are Forest Service and BLM plans (1999 message) to prevent motorized cross-country travel on federal lands (with a few exceptions, e.g., handicapped access and firewood cutting with a permit). Cross-country travel, it has been claimed, can spread noxious weeds, cause erosion, damage cultural sites, disrupt wildlife, and create conflicts among land users. There have been difficulties and most can be eliminated, or tradeoff realized, especially with the combination of strategies suggested above. The potentials on federal lands, if closed, regrettably, open new private-land opportunities.

United Four Wheel Drive Association - Dedicated to Promoting the Great Outdoors
Baltimore 4 Wheelers/OHV, 21000 York Road, Parkton, MD 21120

The concepts for management of related lands and practices are available in The Trevey. A revised version of this enterprise description, suggestions for a Virginia Tech Student group, are also available. See also Belles and Whistles.


Development costs,($30,000) as with other units, are primarily for staff, then affiliation with local dealers, shops, and garages. The net gains will relate to the expansion and region over which the group can develop.

The Wildland Walkers

This enterprise markets the resources of the region for recreation of all types. It is interested in the diverse activities of the entire field of outdoor recreation. It concentrates on hikers and campers but advances computer-enhanced decision making, models of recreation activity, encourages improved in-the-field behavior, and uses rapidly-accumulating knowledge on effects of horse and riders, hikers, bikers, and others on the wildlands.

It, along with other groups, attempts to reverse the flow of money out of the county and region to national environmental, forestry, wilderness, conservation, and ecotourism-related organizations and to concentrate it locally on developing a world-class demonstration of modern, sophisticated natural resource management.

The very beauty and quality of the region depend on stabilizing a rural atmosphere and viewscape. For this to occur, there must be viable financial opportunities for the owners of those lands. There are opportunities to encourage hikers on the Appalachian Trail to use owned trails on Pivotal Tracts and to create special sites for them. Trails built by Stoneworms on Pivotal Tracts can allow local users to train for and prepare for longer hikes.

Hiking and carefully regulated biking, select area use of the off-road vehicle, horse-back trail riding, adventure treks, challenge runs, and a new sport of timed walks through the wilderness - the Pivotal Route, secondary scouting trips, hiker schools, campcraft schools, animal watching (unscheduled and not related to the planned or programmatic action of the other Rural System, Inc. enterprises) - these are all part of the group activity.

Funds are gained from admission, fees for guided hikes, permits for activities, publications, special gear sales, food sales, membership fees, flags, emblems, equipment rentals, photography (action photographs to take home), web site access, exhibit space rentals for companies selling approved equipment and clothing, free-lance writing, photo sales, insurance, guide services, outfitting services. Funds from advertising opportunities within The Wildland Walkers abound. Specialty groups may be developed for healthful walking programs.

The Wildland Walkers work with landowners, outfitters, retail outlets, and all regional enterprises to sustain and improve local economic and employment conditions, preserve and enhance nature and the wildlands, and promote high quality outdoor recreation. Not a preservationist/protectionist group, the system advocates sophisticated computer-aided decision-making to sustain the many diverse benefits available to hikers in the region. It employs new knowledge-based approaches to outdoor recreation. The group is apolitical. It may seek certain regulatory and/or legal means to achieve its objectives, but it will not take "stands" on certain issues. It does encourage its members and their groups to do so as their responsible citizenship.

The Wildland Walkers (somewhat like other units of the Rural System, Inc.) consists of:

  1. Diverse objectives of area users - a unique development and presentations of recreational objectives.
  2. Hiking and Walks - many types, length of stay, objectives, reports and experiences; group, solitary; horse; nature based; adventure based; winter; work based.
  3. Membership fees
  4. Newsletter
  5. Annual rendezvous
  6. Work parties and voluntary fire fighter training
  7. Security patrol
  8. Signs
  9. Trail construction and maintenance
  10. Fire-site management
  11. Publications
  12. First Aid and emergency/rescue
  13. Contract studies and research
  14. Consulting
  15. Seminars, speeches, and workshops.

The concepts that make the recreation system special and assure profitable successes are:

  1. Using a tested systems approach with new improvements
  2. Using computer-based economic optimization
  3. Using ecological and natural resource models
  4. Contact "Sierra" in relation to night-hikes and studying affiliation (e.g., American Hiking Organization)
  5. Affiliation with the vast resources of the National Forest and state areas in the region
  6. Locating with large private capital land resources
  7. Being remote but with high quality highway access
  8. Relating to a well-established hunting and tourist industry
  9. Bringing 40 years of tax-based wildland research, information, software and models and concentrating it on the region.
  10. Offering opportunities for Virginia Tech and other students for meaningful work
  11. Providing a variety of employment opportunities and profit inventories for citizens
  12. Offering new, meaningful, year-around recreational and nature-study opportunities to a growing urban citizenship
  13. Offering areas and associated programs of activities and challenges to meet personal needs such as ease of hiking, areas for the handicapped, viewscapes, remoteness, fishing, and specialized nature-study areas.
  14. Offering landowners controls that they desire over responsible use of their wildlands by recreationists
  15. Balancing controversies over long-term sustainability of rural communities and commodity extraction and interests in wildlife and preservation
  16. Encouraging that conventional sports and activities be practiced elsewhere, retaining the wildlands for their special uses
  17. Providing new Internet registration services to campers and members
  18. Continuing comprehensive, diverse management of other natural resources on the same areas, that is, of total systems management.


System Leader - responsible for overall operations, policy, leadership, and developments
Membership Director - recruits members, produces a newsletter, and holds an annual conference and develops membership services and programs including employing and supervising directors of special member-related projects. Supervises publications.
Security Director - develops a security system (or uses one created elsewhere in the System Central, including safety, surveys, analyses, education, record of safety and employs advice as needed for insect, disease, health, snakes, etc. potential problems. Secures an appropriate insurance program for the system and for individuals.
Special Products and Services Director - with the Outfits develops clothing certification projects; develops and tests equipment (staff, hat, flags, emblems, foods, equipment)
Field Director - conducts hikes, develops sites and services, develops trails, monitors and manages sites, develops sport and field events, plans special hikes or employs hike/camp masters, develops contests; assists in developing membership levels and tests; recruits and supervises guides; sponsors and guides research.

Secretarial, accounting, and computer services will be from System Central. Computer services are developed, including accounting, publishing, addresses and memberships, but also computer maps, ecological site analyses, allocation of camper units of impact, campsite analyses, and user satisfaction analyses.

Making strong use of past research in outdoor recreation and wilderness area recreational use, the system concentrates this knowledge and demonstrates how it can be used for private profit in a sustained manner. See The Wildland Crew that is closely related.


The system profits are derived from a changing combination of sources, all private, namely:

  1. Day-use or trail-specific fees
  2. Conference and group camping fees
  3. Membership fees
  4. Educational and publication fees
  5. Advertising fees
  6. Contract trial building and stream improvement (The Fishery)
  7. Guide service fees
  8. Commissions from sales of (for example)
  9. Certification of clothing (after testing) of hiking clothes (Outfits) 10. Special hikes and tours - fee (e.g., coyote, bear, deer, owl tours)
  10. International tour fees (select nature tours in China, etc. with The Tours Group)
  11. Race fees
  12. Special new sporting events


Staff of the system recruit land owner cooperation, conduct programs and projects, conduct education, employ consultants, develop a guides service, work with other components of Rural System, Inc., develop publications, and promote and advertise the system and the region. Cooperative programs with Hudson Trails, L. L. Bean and others will be sought. A small Safety and Security Group represents one of the higher, less-conspicuously-productive components of the system.

There will be additional gains if land under contract has ponds or streams near campsites. The intent is that the system be profit-driven, with feedback to all participants and incentives for cooperative efforts by small land unit owners (recruited nearby owners whose lands are not in the Rural System, Inc. but who are willing to participate for reasonable financial gains). These owners have previously been excluded from much intensive forest land management because of the problems of scale.

Incentives are for (1) customers and members (discounts as memberships and participation increases; awards for scores and safety); (2) Employees (all receiving a high percentage of profits); (3) Rural System, Inc. itself and all associated support functions; and landowners (for use of their land for non-consumptive use by educated hikers); and (4) enterprise-related research and development

A Denver, CO article by Gil Rudawsky, Nov 7, 2000 was titled: Youths not exactly rushing to explore the so-so outdoors. Study finds decline in hiking, biking, climbing. He said that representatives of the outdoor recreation business got a hard lesson from their next generation of customers: Outdoor activities are losing to the indoors. A youth panel at the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America's regional meeting, held in downtown Denver, gave a variety of reasons that they are not participating in outdoor recreation or buying outdoor gear. The reasons primarily had to do with weather, cost and competing urban activities. "I don't like to get cold or get my shoes dirty," said one East High School student, age 17. "Plus, it's too complicated and too expensive." A Denver student, 17, gave a less traditional but equally emphatic answer: "That Blair Witch thing - my friends and I are scared to go into the woods." The seven panelists, ages 17 to 24, included high school students, a college student and two bicycle messengers. "This is ground zero for the industry," said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of ORCA. "If we lose this market, we lose the business and we possibly lose their votes to protect these outdoor activities."

A preliminary study found that youth participation is declining in 13 of 14 outdoor recreational activities. The categories include backpacking, road bicycling, mountain bicycling, dirt road cycling, camping, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, rafting, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, telemark skiing, snowshoeing and trail running.

The only area that showed a slight increase was kayaking. Craig Mackey, public-policy liaison for Outward Bound USA, pointed out to the panelists that a day at Six Flags can cost as a much as a day of skiing at Vail. "That may be true, but I've never seen a Vail ad directed at me or my friends," Fordham responded. "They are probably going after the white, rich market." More than one panelist pointed out that of the approximately 75 participants at the meeting, few, if any, were minorities. Mackey conceded that "We have to reach out to a younger, more diverse market to keep outdoor recreation vibrant," Mackey said. "This should be a wake-up call for people in the room." Hugelmeyer said one solution would be to encourage outdoor recreation businesses to do a better job of bringing outdoor recreation to the urban environment. One Panelist, age 18, said he has tried a climbing wall but wouldn't consider going to the mountains to rock climb.

Because of its proposed location, natural resources, approach, and diversity it seems that The Wildland Walkers can participate in positive change to the suggested trend and gain a leadership role. See the backpacker magazine.


Development estimate: $ 50,000 Profits:

The River Runners

This is an organization of people with paid memberships. They all have great curiosity about and love of the New, James, Jackson and other rivers of the Region and seek new ways to enjoy them but also to protect and improve them. Its activities (none of which are political or advocacy; leaving that to individual members) are:

Exerpts from a recent note from Rebecca R. Wodder, President of American Rivers, suggesting contacts and some types of activities and concerns:

There may be attacks on the Clean Water Act. A proposed rulemaking could significantly weaken the Act's protections for wetlands, tributaries and seasonal streams. We at American Rivers want you to know that we will work with you, and other members of the river and watershed movement, to fend off a rollback of this law that has protected rivers in our communities for the last 30 years. The rollback of the Clean Water Act has been initiated in the White House, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

It may benefit land developers, agribusiness, and coal mining interests. Up to 60 percent of our rivers, streams, and wetlands -- any body of water that is not "navigable" could lose protection under the Act. River systems may become more vulnerable to pollution and harmful alterations of all kinds. Water quality will further decline. And the watchdogs in Congress will be able to do little about it without strong and sustained activism by you and tens of thousands of others on the front lines of water protection. The majority of Americans still rank clean water and protection of native wildlife (which depends on healthy rivers) among their most important values.

Our biggest challenge will be proving that even minor changes in a law as fundamental as the Clean Water Act can have huge consequences for local communities, and nationwide. As co-chair of both the Clean Water Network and the Corps Reform Network, and facilitator of the River Agenda initiative, we at American Rivers are preparing ourselves more than ever to tell your stories, show pictures, and bring home the local impacts -- congressional district by congressional district -- of any proposals that would harm rivers and fresh water. Renew your American Rivers membership.

If you have a compelling story about how the Clean Water Act has helped your local river, and what its rollback could do in your community, drop a line to American Rivers' Outreach Director Matt Sicchio at


Development costs are $200,000. Net annual gains after 7 years:

Tree Tops

Youths know the joy of climbing trees. Some know the pleasures of long hours spent just sitting, looking, and "getting away." As society become more urban, chances for doing this very much become more difficult.

Tree Tops is a school and a promoter of tree climbing events and individual experiences. It may be affiliated with Tree Climbing USA, Abram Winters, Owner, P.O. Box 142062 Fayettesville, GA 707-487-6929 or Tree Climbers International, P.O. Box 5588, Atlanta, GA 31107 (404-377-3150)

Ideas include:

  1. Conducting climbing schools in prepared trees
  2. Selling or renting climbing equipment.
  3. Conducting or sponsoring picnics or suppers and campfire tales following morning or afternoon events.
  4. Sponsoring Owl Nights - staying in trees in hope of seeing an owl in the tree nearby (as many people have reported seeing hawks at close-hand)
  5. Locating special trees at special sites and offering special climbs, secluded, silent, undisturbed time alone.
  6. Poems while written in threes (publications or chapbook)
  7. Contributions to NatureSeen
  8. Insect collections at 10 meter intervals (to know the fauna which is the food supply of bats and birds)
  9. Offering research services to study the lichen, algae, bats, birds, etc. and distribution of rainfall or air pollution (isotopes) at various levels of the forest canopy.

While there may some day be a sport of tree climbing (catered and developed by Novosports) , here we strive for recreation, solitude, and making a use of the environment that is non destructive and one that enhances the views of the lands and waters of the rural region.

We may be able to affiliate in some way with the climbers of a different sort, e.g., for example rappelling groups and cavers or rock climbers .
We may cater to groups and relate well to The Tours Group
We conduct special tours for trained people into wilderness and ancient forest areas.
We emphasize safety, first aid skills, and fitness. We encourage all ages to participate.
In some areas, we participate in placing nest boxes for raccoons.
We sell unusual photographs, texts, stories.
On a web site we show the number of climbs reported voluntarily by members. The site contains advertising, other material on Pivots, meetings, special programs, and news about other groups.
We have an annual reunion and gain funds from advertisers of new equipment. Outfits suggests special clothing.


Development costs are $60,000 (salary, equipment, marketing). This is so new and unusual but it may grow rapidly among college students so that net gains will likely be modest at


Capitalizing on interest in health and exercise, Novosports promotes new, active, diverse ways for all citizens to become non-spectators, to "get out," to establish new relationships with others and to the great outdoors. The Group may find special relevance to students of nearby community colleges and Virginia Tech recreational programs, both for study as well as creative student involvement and personal enjoyment. All of the proposed Novosports are conducted outdoors (with the exception of Gamma games). Money is made from memberships (as in a health or exercise club) and in activities suggested below.

Caudill (1963:376) observed: Population experts expect that by the year 2000 the number of Americans will have doubled. When this occurs, uncrowned recreational and vacation areas will be priceless. Millions of people will yearn for green and pleasant areas in which to find escape from the anxieties and tensions of competitive and crowded living. Already the super-metropolis has crept to the edge of the Southern Mountains, some four hundred miles from the rim of the plateau. The present generation of American owes to the next a positive duty to preserve the Southern highlands and to bequeath them in a useful and beneficial condition.

With these premises in mind and a preliminary youth strategy we can proceed to a consideration of how best to perform that duty.

Novosports provides a superstructure from which a profitable generally-wildland-based recreational enterprise can be created. This unit of Rural System, Inc. will:

  1. Promote trail rides and encourage observers of races.
  2. Issue licenses for backpackers.
  3. Issue licenses for hunting.
  4. Sell car camping stickers like the golden eagle "passports" used for camping on federal lands. On a window or bumper, the sticker allows camping on Designated Pivotal Tract campgrounds.
  5. Operate of support several trailer camping facilities.
  6. Operate a variety of camps and picnic sites (rentals).
  7. Conduct nature and recreational tours.
  8. Sponsor bus trips from other areas to the region.
  9. Sponsor overnight camping for tours in tent camps.
  10. Develop amphitheaters for weekend programs for the area; 1/2 free, the other half paid "concerts" and shows (e.g., dancing, orchestras, bands, plays, amateur nights, etc.).
  11. Promote and interact with existing theaters, sport groups, and physical fitness groups.
  12. Create new games and conduct workshops and sponsor their use and playing on lands related to Rural System, Inc. The region could become the experimental recreational area of the East. New games would come out with the Rural System label. Rules, etc. would be published by the System Central. People would come to learn how to play, to experience Novosports, for personal recreation, and a new health-related recreational enterprise would result. Schoolteachers could be brought to the area for courses and workshops on the relations among the games to integrated instructional programs in math, ecology, health, and sociology.
  13. Sponsor races, for example:
  14. Fees would be from participants, observers, and sales of parking, publications, food, and race-oriented purchases.
  15. Maintain associated facilities such as water, restrooms, and waste disposal.
  16. Maintain computer addresses and records.
  17. Create a recreational organization with people becoming attached to the area, learning of new games, new services, new developments, new record holders, new fee structures, and new contests (free licenses as prizes).
  18. Publish maps and regulations.
  19. Stay at the leading edge of professional outdoor recreation literature.
  20. Conduct or contract research (building a data base with paid access)
  21. Coordinate and promote and assist with livestock, forestry, camps, trails, systems, wildlife, fisheries, youth systems, health, and architectural groups.
  22. Investigate insurance programs and seek novel approaches.
  23. Provide for urbanites increasingly frustrated by the humdrum of city life. As the Novosports unit matures, it will advertise a personalized recreation service for a person or family. Based on an extensive measurement instrument, a complete vacation and year-long recreational plan will be produced.

Example of a new project within the Novosports unit

Great World Ball

Great world ball is a diverse game for all ages played with a giant 8-foot diameter rubber or plastic ball typically covered with deer and goat-skin. It is played in a 100-meter diameter circular field. There is an "equator" centerline and north and south poles. Two teams face each other and the ball and, on signal from the "tender" (the referee), try to push the ball to touch the competing team's pole. The game is one of strength, dexterity, stamina as well as strategy because "outside" becomes a competing force as the ball is pushed nearer to a pole. It is definitely a team sport. It can be a spectator sport, but participation of everyone is encouraged. It can be played in any season, indoor or out, any weather.

The game may be played by a single person (against time) pushing the ball around the field lines in a figure-8 pattern starting at the center of the "equator."

This section...continued
Perhaps you will share ideas with me
about some of the topic(s) above at

Maybe we can work together
... for the good of us all
... for a long time.

Return to the top of page.