Welcome to Viva Vaquero!

Jack Swanson | Stewards of the Range

More Views

Jack Swanson | Stewards of the Range

Availability: In stock

All profits got to benefit the Range Conservation Foundation, which is dedicated to the intelligent use of our Natural Resources.


You Can Help Protect The Range! All proceeds from the sale of this beautiful print, Stewards Of The Range, from the painting of the same title by J.N. Swanson, go to benefit the Range Conservation Foundation (RCF).

The Mission of the RCF, a non-profit 501c3 organization, is to promote and encourage responsible stewardship of America's rangelands as a multiuse resource. RCF will accomplish this by collecting and disseminating information on strategies for successful range management, enhancement and conservation across the United States. They have funded dozens of reports by academics, scientists and scholars. RCF also helps underwrite the costs of investigative reporting about land use, water allocation and conservation issues. These reports are disseminated as magazine articles or as separate publications.

How It All Started: The year was 1991 and Wayne Hage, a Nevada rancher, had been embattled with the federal government in a dispute over property rights. At issue: Hage's grazing permits and water rights that had been allotted to his family since the mid-1800's. They'd been running thousands of head of cattle on that land for 150 years and taxed heavily for it, but now environmentalists, led by the U.S. Forest Service, were trying to run him out of business. They claimed Hage had been overgrazing. But in the spring, when Hage sent them pictures of him standing in waist-high grass, they told him it was the wrong kind of grass. Later, armed federal agents confiscated 104 of his cattle, sold them at auction, kept the profits, and then sent Hage the bill for rounding up the cattle in the first place. Hage was beginning to realize this was a battle he couldn't win. Then, more than 10 years after the ordeal started, and with Hage on the brink of financial collapse, family friend and renowned western artist Jack Swanson, in a brainstorm with Wayne hage, came up with an idea.

Jack went home to Whiffle Tree, his Carmel Valley, California, ranch, and started painting. The finished product was a brilliant tribute to ranchers who have spent their lives clearing brush, preventing massive forest fires, and preserving some of America's most beautiful land. It shows vaqueros carefully herding their cattle through rugged terrain, just making it to a clearing in the grove around rocks and downed trees. The symbolism in this painting is unmistakable. No one knows this land and what's good for it better than the ranchers. Jack titled it Stewards of the Range and raffled off the painting, earning $146,000. He then sold thousands of prints from this painting. All of the money went to fight the federal government, and finally, after 17 years in the judicial system, a U.S. Claims Court awarded the estate of Wayne Hage more than $4 million in compensation. It ruled that the government violated the 5th Amendment; a landmark ruling with major implications for all ranchers.

Unfortunately, this ruling has since been overturned, so the fight goes on, not only with this case, but in other cases as well, where the government unreasonably interferes with the rights of private landowners and lessees.

But the fight is not free, which is why Jack Swanson continues to offer the profit from these amazing prints for the benefit of the Range Conservation Foundation.

  • Archival Inks
  • 18 x 25 inches
  • High quality acid-free stock