May 31, 2013
Grand Staircase Escalanate National Monument, Burr Trail (GSENM), May 20, 2013 It doesn’t make sense to subsidize environmental degradation on public lands. Kirsten and I went out for a couple of nights camping to the Deer Creek campground off the Burr Trail in the GSENM. After a hike down Deer Creek for less than a […]
August 19, 2012
Kirsten and I went up to the Fish Lake National Forest and camped on Thousand Lake Mountain in southern Utah for a couple of nights this last Thursday through Saturday August 16-18. This area is just north of Torrey and we like to get up there in the summer just to get out and to […]
March 14, 2012
What to do about the Cattlemen’s Beef Association's imperial control over federal land-use policy in the West? From an essay by Christopher Ketchum in The American Prospect comes some acute observations about the power abuse in the face of common sense and at the expense of the public and the land:
“It’s almost a matter of religiosity that the real costs of ranching are paid for by the public,” says Brian Ertz, media director with the Western Watersheds Project. “Democratic and Republican congresspersons alike make their way up through political environments of extreme livestock--culture-dominated political organizations. The statehouses are dominated by livestock interests, and that’s where the federal representatives cut their teeth.” Click on title for more . . .
March 3, 2012
I've been reading quite a bit about the history and current practice of grazing on public lands. My question has always been how so few people could have such huge political clout. The answer is complex and fascinating. Much of the answer revolves around the power of the cowboy myth in the mind of the American and particularly in the mind of the American congressperson. I think I will blog a bit about some current examples of both regulatory and political capture and about the harm that public land grazing does. Here's a current example of where the reactionary Utah congress is working on a law to make it illegal to take a picture of a cow. >>>more
February 10, 2012
Grazing in the Intermountain West does more environmental damage than any other single activity. But ranchers have always had a choke hold on western legislators and most of the public land is grazed. One force that could overcome the ranchers grip is the market. Retirements of grazing permits (they are permits, not rights) are refered to sometimes as gold saddles. There is currently such a proposal by a legislator whose name is Adam Smith. An almost-too-perfect name for a guy coming up with an "invisible hand" market based solution. With such poetic grace on its side, the grazing retirement option may be getting a little closer. See Jodi Peterson's article in High Country News.
February 6, 2012
70% of the land in Utah is public. And 70% of that land is handed out for grazing. Over 80% of the water used in Utah is for agriculture and most of that is to grow hay for livestock. That is a lot of land and water. Open this chart on the left of the State of Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert Economic Report's figures on employment by industry as a percent of total employment: Dec. 2011. Where's agriculture? The subsidized use of all that land and water isn't producing much, particularly jobs.