Ranchers test an agency's image

  Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt boasts that the BLM is moving away from its early reputation as the "Bureau of Livestock and Mining" to a more conservation-minded agency overseeing national monuments around the West (HCN, 11/22/99).


This summer, when managers ordered cows off Utah's drought-stricken Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, that new reputation was put to the test. On June 2, monument manager Kate Cannon warned all 17 ranchers who hold grazing permits on the monument that they would likely have to pull out early. By mid-July, all but three ranchers had voluntarily pulled their herds off the range.


On Aug. 18, Cannon ordered the three holdouts, Gene Griffin, Quinn Griffin and Mary Bulloch, to remove most of their herds by Sept. 1, or the Bureau of Land Management would impound the cows at the ranchers' expense. Her range scientists had reported that 80 to 90 percent of the forage had been used up. The maximum legal limit is 60 percent.


Instead of following Cannon's orders, the ranchers went to the Cedar City office of the BLM and worked out a deal. BLM manager Arthur Tait agreed to give the Griffins and Bulloch until Sept. 15 to remove their cows. The agency would also provide feed and water until the cows could be trucked away.


Bill Hedden with the Grand Canyon Trust said that by sidestepping Cannon's order, the agency kowtowed to ranchers who have "nuked" the range. "The key question," he said, "is with Babbitt designating all these new monuments, will it mean something on the ground?"


State BLM spokesman Glenn Foreman said allowing the three ranchers to remove their cows later was the most efficient way to get the job done. "That's why we were given this monument," he said. "We have a forte of being compromising."


On Sept. 18, the BLM reported that there were still 100 cows on the monument.


* Greg Hanscom
High Country News Classifieds
  • FEATURES DIRECTOR - HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Features Director to join our editorial...
  • GENERAL MANAGER
    The Board of UYWCD seeks a new GM to manage operations & to implement our robust strategic plan. Details at www.upperyampawater.com. EOE
  • IN TUCSON, FOR SALE: A BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME
    designed by architect David Swanson in 1966. Located a block from Saguaro National Forest, yet minutes to Downtown and the UofA campus, 3706 sqft, 6...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of the San Juans is seeking a new leader guide our efforts to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish...
  • 80 ACRES
    straddles North Platte Fishery, Wyoming. Legal access 2 miles off 1-80. Call 720-440-7633.
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OWN A THRIVING MOUNTAIN GUIDE SERVICE.
    Eastern Sierra guide service for sale to person with vision & expertise to take it onwards. Since 1995 with USFS & NPS permits. Ideal for...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...