The free range laws and grazing allotments on public land have caused untold damage by cows to vegetation, streams, and scenery in our public lands and it’s a conflict of interest to the tax-paying people who want to see nature undamaged with wildlife instead of cows that someone is making money off of on our public lands.
Nowhere is it worse than in Utah, especially SW Utah in the Dixie National Forest. It is one of the most over-grazed, dried out, damaged forests in the U.S. and, even worse, there are cows in the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness, a designated wilderness that is supposed to be free of grazing, logging, and human development! The cattle are also in the Pine Valley campground doing damage to campers’ stuff and to paths and wooden structures. There are about 45 head there, now, including, at least, 3 bulls! They are in the creeks, along the trails, in the wilderness. They are a public safety hazard as well. It’s bad enough that cows are allowed on Forest Service lands, but to have them in the campgrounds, trails, and wilderness is despicable! This is not a one time thing, but an ongoing problem. Domestic cattle destroy wildlife’s food and habitat.
This of some of the cows near the intake of the reservoir, the area’s drinking water.
The top two pictures are of creek damage — see how shiny and oily it is in the second picture from cow shit? And above is shortcut erosion between switchbacks.
Cows damage shrubs and ground cover, killing it completely, causing the Forest Service to have to come in and cut it all out and burn it, all paid for by us!
Here is a cow by the creek in the campground. They shit in the water, pollute it and damage vegetation creek-side.
Shortcuts made by the cows between trail switchbacks totally denude the vegetation, above.
More trail damage.
More vegetation damage by cows — this is not the trail, but a shortcut made by the cows!
This is what a cow print looks like. It’s about 4 inches square, but varies with the size of the cow, calf, bull or steer.
All these pictures are real. The area is still pretty, but won’t be for long if this is allowed to continue. What right do people have to destroy something that belongs to others and ruins their enjoyment of it? In fact, special interest groups have totally destroyed natural areas that I have loved over the years. The next generations won’t even have it to see and behold and spend time in!
What to do?
1. Start at the top, the National forest service, National Park service, and national office for wilderness and complain there. Then, contact the regional offices and complain there, then contact the local. If you start at the bottom, it will never go up. But, if you start at the top, it will probably trickle down. This is not a one time thing, but an ongoing problem.
Complain, also, to your senators and representatives about special interest groups abusing and taking advantage of public lands.
2. Protest open range — let the ranchers fence their cattle in, not home owners fence the cattle out. And protest livestock grazing allotments on all public land — BLM, Forest Service, National Parks.
3. Don’t hunt wildlife. There isn’t much of them left. Work to get rid of all cattle on public lands (BLM too — their lands are so trashed and over-grazed! The west is too dry for livestock). Maybe we should start an open hunting season for domestic cattle on public lands! It’d be like hunting invasive species, which some people do rather than hunt native wildlife. Cows compete with wildlife for precious resources. They should be kept on private land, not public land!
4. Boycott beef, unless you know that it has never been grazed on public land or raised in rainforest logged areas. Reduce beef consumption anyway.
5. Perhaps this is a population problem, feeding so many people, so use birth control. This includes religious people! If you use antibiotics, flu shots, medical services and medicine, then you have no right to disapprove of or not use birth control. Human overpopulation is destroying precious wild lands. It is selfish of you to destroy what others want and need! The forests in Pine Valley probably once covered the whole valley. Now, it is just a small area. It needs to be conserved. Grazing cattle and land conservation do not go together! The Joshua tree forest in SW Utah has been totally trashed by cows. They knock over the Joshua trees and kill them. The trees used to be twice as tall, enough to shade a car, and there used to be more of them with grass and short shrubs in between. Now, it’s just dirt. You can see his the cows have left large bare dirt patches in the Pine Valley forest!
On the above, hit the letter icon to send an email. Hit the search icon and type in to get the regional and local offices. The bottom of the hierarchy is the Pine Valley Ranger District in St. George, Utah.
You could also try contacting the DNR — department of natural resources, or, as I call it, “Destroying our Natural Resources”, though it’s state run.