The two Larrys of Logan County: a prairie dog paradox
Che, D & Cable, T 2015, 'The two Larrys of Logan County: a prairie dog paradox', in E Wilson & M Witsel (eds.) CAUTHE 2015: Rising Tides and Sea Changes: Adaptation and Innovation in Tourism and Hospitality, Gold Coast, QLD, 2-5 February, CAUTHE, Melbourne, Vic, pp. 423-427. ISBN 9780987050762
With Euro-American settlement, conversion of grasslands to cropland, and eradication programs, the black-tailed prairie dog population has been reduced by over 90% in the U.S. Great Plains. In western Kansas' Logan County, a war pits a group of ranchers and environmental organizations which support maintaining prairie dogs for the animals' keystone role in the ecosystem against neighboring ranchers and local officials who poison prairie dogs seen as destroying pasturelands. This paper investigates prairie dog tourism development in this conflicted setting by utilizing two Larrys from Logan County: 1) Larry Haverfield, a rancher who values the animals for their role in creating wildlife habitat and wildlife watching and hunting opportunities; and 2) Larry Farmer, who owns Prairie Dog Town, the county's largest tourist attraction, which is the home to the world's largest (concrete) prairie dog and a captive colony of real-life prairie dogs.