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View Full Version : 'Hidden Gems' Wilderness push near Carbondale


Red_Chili
02-02-2010, 08:33 AM
Brings up a question...
Ranchers support wilderness designation for 25,000 acres of land near Carbondale.

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5857/images/cowgirl.jpg Following more than six months of discussions, a few horseback rides, several rounds of negotiations and numerous cups of coffee, two Carbondale area ranchers have come out in favor of wilderness designation for public lands on Assignation Ridge, northwest of Carbondale where they graze cattle. Sue Rodgers, owner of the Crystal River Ranch, and Bill Fales and Marj Perry owners of the Cold Mountain Ranch, wrote letters to the Wilderness Workshop in support of wilderness protection for approximately 25,000 acres of public lands in the Assignation Ridge Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal Area. We've included excerpts from these letters in this update.

Both ranchers cited a desire to protect the public land, on which they hold grazing allotments, from the threats of oil and gas development and the increasing pressure from use and recreation due to the growing population in the region. Wilderness designation will provide them with a powerful land conservation tool to do so, while continuing their ranching operations. The Hidden Gems Campaign is working with ranchers throughout our proposal area to jointly preserve the historical and ecological values of our landscape. Working ranches keep valuable open space from being developed and grazing on public lands reduces the pressure on private lands often located in ecologically rich valley bottoms. The Hidden Gems campaign greatly appreciates the support of Sue Rodgers, Bill Fales and Marj Perry; their actions help demonstrate how close and sincere collaboration between ranchers and environmentalists can create lasting protection for shared ecological and cultural values.

It is a bittersweet moment for the campaign though. On January 18 we removed 32,166 acres from our proposal in the Thompson Creek area, including North Thompson, Middle Thompson, South Branch of Middle Thompson Creek and Coal Basin. Despite the high ecological values of this landscape and its wilderness qualities, the campaign made the decision to withdraw these lands from our proposal at the request of the North Thompson Cattlemen's Association (NTCA). Though the Wilderness Act fully embraces grazing as an appropriate use of wilderness and Congress has explicitly excepted pre-existing mechanized and motorized uses essential to maintaining wilderness grazing allotments, the NTCA wishes to continue managing their Thompson Creek allotments in a manner not compatible with wilderness designation. As a result we adjusted our boundaries to exclude the NTCA's allotments. This is also a twofer - carving out this chunk of landscape also eliminates conflicts with mountain biking and snowmobiling interests that recreate in the area.

Following the withdrawal of the Thompson Creek area, 65,004 acres of land remain in the in the Pitkin County portion of the Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal and 414,470 acres remain in the entire proposal. The campaign continues to reach out to, and solicit input from people and groups with existing and past knowledge of the lands within the proposal. We are engaged with ongoing conversations with the White River Forest Alliance, Summit County Wildfire officials, Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association, Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, CDOT, and many other individuals and associations. We'll keep you updated as these negotiations continue.

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5857/images/HG/Thompson%20Creek%20Grazing%20Adjustment%20Jan%2018,%202009_downsize%20for%20web.jpg (http://org2.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=6dHZy3HdJzp8aXMV6smN9VopT%2B38xDI4)


Could someone explain to me how in the H E Double Toothpicks ranchers can hold grazing allotments in Wilderness??? Of COURSE they support it. THEY GET EXCLUSIVE USE OF IT except for a couple backpackers. It is a virtual RANCH EXTENSION FOR THEM.

Have you SEEN what grazing can do to wildlands if not VERY carefully managed (which it almost never is)??

Niiiiiiiice... :rant: :rant: :rant: :rant: :rant: :rant:

MDH33
02-02-2010, 08:47 AM
Brings up a question...


Could someone explain to me how in the H E Double Toothpicks ranchers can hold grazing allotments in Wilderness??? Of COURSE they support it. THEY GET EXCLUSIVE USE OF IT except for a couple backpackers. It is a virtual RANCH EXTENSION FOR THEM.

Have you SEEN what grazing can do to wildlands if not VERY carefully managed (which it almost never is)??

Niiiiiiiice... :rant: :rant: :rant: :rant: :rant: :rant:

The only way to pass the original Wilderness Act was to continue to allow grazing rights. And I agree that hundreds of head of cattle tromping through a meadow, eating everything and braiding trails does do a lot of damage.

RockRunner
02-02-2010, 08:48 AM
If they pass this we may not be able to takes runs by Marble and to the Water fall. The trails go right trough there proposed "wilderness area, planned I am sure.

Let us know when and where we need to let our voices be heard.

DaveInDenver
02-02-2010, 09:14 AM
FWIW, the 'Hidden Gems' proposal is not friendly to bikes (human powered) and so IMBA is working against it in a way. So in this case the bikes are actually really working on the same side as OHV to keep land open.

Bruce Miller
02-02-2010, 01:29 PM
And I agree that hundreds of head of cattle tromping through a meadow, eating everything and braiding trails does do a lot of damage.

Probably, but I'd be willing to bet that many, and maybe most, ranchers are good stewards of the land. Please take a look at this web site: www.rangelandrestorationacademy.org. Steve Rich, the president, is located in Salt Lake City and writes/speaks often of the desert southwest, in particular about the national parks in Utah. He's written about how the government's poor range management practices on livestock excluded lands have caused the destruction of rangeland. Crypobiotic soil is a good example of poor range management, not cattle grazing. Environmentalists would have us believe that ranchers are bad people. After reading Steve Rich's works, I'm not buying into that. Take a look.

Red_Chili
02-02-2010, 02:31 PM
My comments were based in part on comparison of lands I hunt in Wyoming. Where grazing rights are allowed, cactus and cheatgrass are rampant, erosion is worse, and lots of areas are bare. Right across the fence... lush. No cactus to speak of. Little cheatgrass.

Obviously overgrazed. VERY stark difference.

Probably cannot conclude either generalization about ranchers... in general. But in Wyoming the ranchers on whose land I have hunted (actually, not theirs... PUBLIC lands) regard BLM land, for instance, as their own, if they have grazing rights.

NOT well managed.

It would be interesting to know if the ranchers near Carbondale are true cattle operations or boutique hobby ranches.

nuclearlemon
02-02-2010, 05:07 PM
wouldn't it make it harder for them to manage their herds if it was wilderness? if they have grazing rights, are they still allowed to use vehicles to manage their herds? or do they have to use horses?

MDH33
02-02-2010, 05:31 PM
wouldn't it make it harder for them to manage their herds if it was wilderness? if they have grazing rights, are they still allowed to use vehicles to manage their herds? or do they have to use horses?

Would have to be horses, which seems to be pretty common out there anyway.