Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Keep grazing out of Greenhorn

I appreciate the fact that Forest Service managers are under pressure to open grazing allotments in the Greenhorn area. It seems to me that there could not be a worse place to increase grazing. Conflicts with recreational users are inevitable. And the health of the land is worth so much more than the grazing fees would be.

Because I have lived across Highway 75 in the East Fork drainage for 30 years, I walk and ski the Greenhorn area often. In those 30 years, I’ve become greatly concerned about the steady growth of the recreating public there. It has become difficult to find peace and quiet there anymore. The increased number of mountain and motor bikes makes it difficult to find peace and quiet there, and often I have seen quite a bit of trail damage from these uses. Adding the impacts of grazing to all of that would be disastrous for the place’s ecological health. And the increase in societal conflicts will surely not be good for anyone.

Those of us who seek the peace and quiet of the backcountry already contend with grazing up and down the Wood River Valley. The negative impacts on the land, the confrontations with sheep dogs and the deaths of predators are just a few of my objections to grazing on public lands. I know I must share, but I feel strongly that there are compatible uses on public lands but grazing is no longer one of them.

Forest Service lands are held in trust for all Americans. Allowing an individual rancher to use public lands for private gain and to leave them in such sad condition is just not good for anyone but the rancher.

Christine Gertschen

Blaine County


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