|man-i-fes-to (noun) — a public written declaration of principles, policies, and objectives|
Over the past thirty years we have witnessed an unprecedented trespass on our constitutionally protected right to use and enjoy our property in a responsible manner. Foot by foot, acre by acre, a relentless succession of laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations has eroded landowners' control of their property. Acting under the guise of the "public interest" the effective result is a de facto bureaucratic occupation or rural lands, relegating law-abiding citizens to second-class status. From the halls of the legislature to community planning cubicles, allegiance to the superiority of government over the power of the citizen assumes that we the people are even a threat to our planet's future.
In response, the Olympic Stewardship Foundation has drawn a line in the sand. Our homes and our dreams are not some harmful presence that needs to be watched like an unruly child! We demand the voice of traditional rural values be restored to its rightful place in our society. Primary among those values is respect for our land. We will not quietly tolerate and further taking of our rights, and will aggressively pursue regaining those rights that have been abridged.
Complementary to this value, we advocate, and truly know, that landowners are the best stewards of the environment. Burdensome regulation is actually counterproductive to the land preservation ethic we practice and which we wish for our children to inherit.
Influential power circles in and out of government have branded property rights as a harmful American value, synonymous with selfishness and greed. We promote an opposite perspective, directly associating individual ownership with national prosperity. Property rights are and much a good government issue as an individual one, judiciously serving the private interest while protecting the public. Property rights are essential to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and protect the land from the environmental tragedy of the commons so evident on the landscapes under government ownership and control.
Pride in ownership fosters responsible care for the land. The existing regulatory model that places people in conflict with the environment has failed. Conservation is best achieved through cooperation and trust between citizens and government.
The Olympic Stewardship Foundation embraces basic foundational principles, summarized as follows:
- Landowners have a constitutionally protected right to use their property in a responsible manner.
- It is a proven on-the-ground fact that landowners are the best stewards of the land.
- Conservation can only be truly achieved by those who know the land.
- We support traditional rural values, including commercial and family agriculture, and the supply of water necessary to grow our "daily bread".
- When government regulation is deemed necessary, it much be based on an identified and verified need to prevent harm, as applied to local circumstances.
- Regulations must be based on locally applicable, empirical science that is peer-reviewed by an independent panel of fully qualified scientists.
The Olympic Stewardship Foundation asserts these principles on behalf of landowners who share our beliefs. Our members actively participate in the development of government policies that directly affect our lives, using exhaustive research and scientific justification to support win-win solutions for both the private and public interest.
As the ambition of bureaucratic manifest destiny shows no sign of letting up, what is at stake is nothing less than a battle for the soul of our own self-determination, and for future generations as well. What may seem like isolated battles over land-use decisions area really much bigger than ourselves or the mere ground we seek to hold onto, connected as they are to preserving the heritage of our past and the promise of our future. The context of our liberty is greater than the sum of its parts.
We are activists not by choice but by necessity. Human nature prefers common ground to confrontation, as does the Olympic Stewardship Foundation. However, when good faith efforts at hones negotiation are not shared, circumstances reach a breaking point. That doesn't preclude our continued involvement in the issues that determine who controls our land and water, but when our public servants fail to hear our grievances, we will seek relief elsewhere. We have not hesitated to turn to the courts to enforce the rule of law and will continue to do so when necessary.
To achieve our objectives, the Olympic Stewardship Foundation will vigorously uphold traditional rural values through:
- Direct involvement in governmental affairs that concern us.
- Litigation when those attempts fail.
- Continued mobilization with like-minded organizations, where strength draws from power in numbers.
We have drawn our line in the sand, and with it our pledge to fight on the front lines to protect and defend the hard-won liberties passed on to us by our forebears, and which we hold in stewardship for future generations to enjoy.