Cattle grazing on public lands

Revised 20 June 2003

After conducting a good deal of research, I have added a large amount of information here. I am working hard to make this an excellent source of information about public lands grazing. It goes without saying, that I could use some help. If you would like to contribute your own tale or data to this page, it would be greatly appreciated. Or if you know of good sources of information for me to look in, I would appreciate it if you would let me know.

When I first started to discuss the issue of public lands grazing here on my web site, I said that I was going to be as factual and even-handed as I possible could. My conviction for improving the environment would not sway my impartiality here. I put up a fair amount of information, mostly factual, and let it go at that for a while. Well, a few weeks ago, I received a rather scathing e-mail from someone who thought I had no idea what I was talking about, and thought that all I did was bitch.

It got me thinking about my cattle page again. I decided to do more research. The result of which you see, and will continue to see, here. My purpose has changed. Although I still hope to present balanced information, I no longer cling to the vain hope for impartiality. I have my vision back. A vision that includes ranchers, but with changes in the status quo. There is no doubt in my mind that current grazing practices in the West are destroying the West itself. At the same time, I understand the need to preserve the cultural heritage of the West. What you will now find here (I hope) is convincing information that the damage to the environment from cattle is real and dangerous. What I also hope you will find here, is convincing information that the preservation of the environment of the West does not preclude preserving the rich heritage of cattle ranching.

I am convinced that if environmentalists and ranchers can move past the fear, the hatred, the mis-trust, and the name calling, we will discover that we can all be winners in this fight. Please, read and contemplate what I have to say here. If it makes sense to you, pass it on to others. And again, YOUR COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME. Please keep them cordial though, as I have gotten comments that can only be called rude personal attacks. If you disagree with me, fine, but please don't call me names, expletives, etc. I don't appreciate it.

If you are wondering what my interest is in this subject, or why I feel that I have some degree of authority on some of the topics presented here, I give you this mini biography (of sorts). I have spent more hours than most in the forests and deserts of the western United States than a vast majority of people have. Hiking and driving around the back woods was practically my primary job description for the three years I worked for Northern Arizona University and the United States Forest Service on research projects in Arizona and New Mexico. Added to the countless hours I have spent in the woods on my own time, I feel confident making that claim. I love the West. I experience divinity every second that I live here. I see things every day that fill me with overwhelming joy. And I see things every day that deeply disturb me, things that taint the magnificence that is the West.

So with that out of the way, you may be asking: 'Why this page? Why take the time to proclaim this environmental injustice to the world (or at least the world wide web)?' This page is here to incite like-minded individuals to action, give those who disagree with me someone to be incensed with, and to inform all who care to read on about cows on public lands in the western U.S.

I will recount what I have seen with my own two eyes where practical, and will try to remain balanced by using multiple sources for data where possible. If available, I will use figures from government, cattle industry, and environmental advocate sources. Now, I can imagine that the anti-cattle people are thinking this is a biased take on the situation, since they think that the government is in the back-pocket of the cattle industry. Just remember that the pro-cattle people think the government is in the back pocket of the environmental movement. So using Brian Jones' null hypothesis, I declare the government to be an unattached entity, belonging to neither side. I see this as the only fair way to approach the problem. Any complaints? No? Good. (Isn't democracy great!).

In the past, I have refrained from declaring my position on concerning the position of the government because I felt that it was unimportant. It seems that after reading the pages listed below, people may make up their own mind about my position, and be wrong about it, so I have now changed my mind. I believe that the government is a shooting gallery duck. No matter what the government does or says, it gets bombarded with complaints from some group or other. In some cases, the government is decidedly biased towards cattle ranching. In other cases the government is decidedly biased towards environmental groups. Anyone who criticizes the government should remember that they are doing a job that few would envy. Government agents (at least those on the ground doing the real work) are usually doing their best, trying to do the job right. If the government had more support, and I mean real support, from everyone, they would be better able to do the correct thing. Just keep that in mind if you would please.

I used to have a page (that never quite got finished) entitled "Solutions to the Cattle Grazing Issue". You will not find it, or any reference other than this here anymore. Each page you will find below, is a solutions page of it's own. A problem or issue is outlined in each page. Each page (I hope) defines a solution, or a part of a solution. After all, knowing a problem is half the battle of solving a problem.

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