I encourage my fellow citizens to weigh in with their comments on the important matter of the Trail Creek and Cove Creek allotments NEPA scoping. These allotments are located in the Ketchum Ranger District. The NEPA analysis should include the effects of domestic sheep presence on existing bighorn sheep habitat and bighorn sheep as well as potential bighorn sheep habitat.
Bighorns occasionally are seen in these areas of Blaine County, and these allotments are located in historic bighorn habitat. The risk of disease transmission from domestic sheep to bighorns is much too high to allow domestic sheep near bighorns now or in the future.
A no-grazing alternative should be included in the analysis so that all the benefits of that course of action are revealed. It should also include analysis of risks and conflicts for hikers, mountain bikers and other recreationists through the presence of domestic sheep bringing potential risk of disease to humans, as well as the risk of attack from sheep guard dogs on people and their pets. It should analyze the impacts of domestic sheep grazing on water quality. Sheep waste in streams is not welcome. It should include an analysis of the impacts of sheep grazing on native wildflowers. Sheep routinely destroy wildflower meadows, which are such a wonderful part of the experience of hiking on Forest Service lands in the Ketchum area.
I encourage my fellow citizens to get on the mailing list for this study.
Charles P. Stevenson