NFR WDFW gets it right- Wolves part trois

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by ribka, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    Derek, don't forget the white pelicans and cormorants - and especially Ed's favorites, the otters!

    Ribka, when people use (some/all?) Federal land for commercial purposes (like hunting and fishing guides, rafting operators, etc.), they are supposed to get the applicable Federal Use Permit and they can and do get fined if they are caught without it. These permits are issued for specific areas, have their own rules, and if they conduct operations in multiple areas, they have to have multiple permits. For instance, I know someone who has a permit for the Grand Ronde and Rufus Woods.

    Unlike leasing grazing rights, it does not give them the exclusive use of that resource and if it did, I am sure the price would be much higher. I am sure that if a guide service could pay $2000/year to have exclusive rights to fish on X river or X lake and keep all anglers off it (but not other recreationists like canoe, kayaks, etc), most would jump at the chance and depending on the particular body of water, there may be an outright bidding war.
     
  2. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    ... or else they could claim that packs of marauding (alien) wolves are out to kill unsuspecting fishermen indiscriminately (cf: http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/forum/index.php?threads/a-colorado-wolf-story.82375/).

    D
     
  3. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    Sue, I believe, as it applies to national forests and BLM land; the ranchers can graze, but cannot deny access. I used to guide during the summers in a leased area in the Toiyabe national forest south of Tahoe, with cattle all over the place. They wrought havoc on Silver King Creek for years. The problem I have with leased grazing in the forest is that the ranchers put up barbed wire fences, and then leave them when they're no longer running cows. The fences remain and become overgrown with vegetation, and pose a hazard to dogs hunting grouse in the area.
     
  4. BaldBob

    BaldBob Member

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    Yes, the fee charged for grazing public land is way less than that charged for private land, HOWEVER, that doesn't tell the whole story. The cost of doing business with the Feds and the lower rate of gain on the calves on most Federal land usually makes up for the disparity.
    For many years I managed some 300,000 acres of private timberland in SE WA/NE OR. that was mostly adjacent to USFS land of similar character. Most of this land was leased out to local ranchers for grazing at a rate many times more than the Feds charged. Yet we had several ranchers who gave up their Federal lease to lease our land, and had several more on a waiting list who wanted to do likewise. We had higher stocking rates than the Feds, yet their calves on average, came off the range heavier than when they grazed on Federal land.
    At the same time elk densities (as reported by the ODF&W) were higher on these lands than on most of the adjacent USFS lands, range condition class was mostly good to excellent, and I had several USFS managers comment on the good condition of our riparian zones.
    I am firmly convinced that the difference was due to the fact that we actively managed these lands - thinning and harvesting timber on a regular basis (at a level much higher than the USFS). This made a much higher percentage of the land suitable for good forage production and kept the cattle well dispersed rather than bunched up along stream bottoms as so often occurs on USFS/BLM lands. Despite our much higher harvest levels, during the almost 30 years that I was associated with these lands, the inventory of standing timber increased by almost 20%.
     
  5. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    93 million cows can't be wrong..... wolves' living in our country is a bad thing.

    Some posting on this thread would like you to believe cows were here before wolves. Those 6 point Angus bucks were magnificent specimens until the wolves wiped them out.
     
  6. Kaiserman

    Kaiserman content

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    Yes Alex, that is correct.

    Freestone, unfortunately that does happen, but it isn't public land (obviously), it's private land leased out to one guide. And yes, it is expensive from what I hear. I know that is comparing apples to oranges, but it does support your point.
     
  7. wa_desert_rat

    wa_desert_rat Active Member

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    So the takeaway from this story is that ranchers so poorly manage the public land that they lease for a pittance that it's no longer useful for grazing cattle? And after they've ruined it they turn it back to the Feds and move to your land... and they can still make a profit even though you charged them a lot more money.

    Heck, that makes more sense now.

    Craig
     
  8. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    I think I have a solution that will unite us all. Let's capture the wolves, feed them a diet of McD's burgers while they listen to alternating episodes of Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity. I'm pretty certain they'll loose their taste for cows and develop an insane desire to stop the source of the noise...now tell me, who can't get their head around this approach? ;)
     
  9. BaldBob

    BaldBob Member

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    I suppose that would be the takeaway for someone who is cynical about ranchers and is unfamiliar with the actual situation. BTW the ranchers don't manage the the public lands. that is the responsibility of the Federal land managers. The prime reason that the grazing on much of the USFS land is not that good is that over-dense forests don't produce a lot of forage, so the areas that do produce good forage on much of the USFS lands (e.g. meadows, streamside areas) tend concentrate the animals to the point that, to avoid abusing these areas, the Feds, if they are doing their job, require constantly herding the cattle away from them. This significant extra cost of doing business on the USFS is not present on lands that have good forage well dispersed as a result of a regime of well dispersed harvest units regularly conducted and an active program of tree stocking control on the rest of the area.
     
  10. wa_desert_rat

    wa_desert_rat Active Member

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    It just annoys me to have someone tell me that ranchers who have abandoned public land leases they've controlled for generations were not responsible at all for managing them. They certainly acted like they owned them if you worked for them (and I have). And if they sell the ranch they always include how many acres of leased land they have. Like: "1000 acres, 250 irrigated, 300 pasture plus 5,000 acres leased".

    To completely dismiss overgrazing as something someone who doesn't know anything about the subject kinda stretches the topic, too. Overgrazing in the west is pretty well documented; just do a Google search on "overgrazing public lands" and you'll come up with a lot of information.

    And almost everyone who has hiked, mountain biked, floated creeks and streams and traveled extensively outdoors in central and eastern WA has run across a rancher who has told them that they are on "his" land and to get off as well as "no trespassing" signs posted on what are clearly public property. In fact lots of us out here carry detailed maps so we can refute it when it happens

    Farmers and ranchers, some of the most fiscally conservative voters in the Nation, get downright rabid when you talk about taking their farm subsidies away. But they don't think public health care for pregnant girls is very good; until it's their daughter.

    So, yes... I guess you could call me a cynic...

    Craig
     
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  11. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    No. The take-away is that public land is not managed for cattle ranching, but for a functioning ecosystem for the native plants and animals. Private land of similar nature can be managed for cows, if that's what the owner wants, but the USFS isn't and shouldn't be in the business of managing our public land for a rancher.

    If all the cattle leases on USFS land in the western states were eliminated, our beef supply wouldn't be significantly altered, since the most productive cattle ranches are in states like Florida, where there is plenty of rainfall and a year-round growing season, and they measure grazing land by the number of cows per acre, rather than the number of acres per cow.

    D
     
  12. flybill

    flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

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    I'll be rooting for the wolves.. but if history is any indication, they'll be found and taken out... unfortunately...
     
  13. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    If man has his way. There won't be any thing wild in the world in another 100 years.
     
  14. BaldBob

    BaldBob Member

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    I do not at all dismiss the fact that overgrazing on public lands is common, largely due to the factors I cited, and the fact that some public land managers are either too lazy or fear the consequences of taking action against grazing lessees. And yes some ranchers act as though they own the land, but if the Feds are doing their job, the rancher can lose his lease for denying public access to those lands. It's not an easy process and doesn't make the Federal manager very popular in the community (to say the least) but it can be done.

    Before I went to work for a private timber company, I managed a large tract of BLM grazing land. I terminated the grazing leases of 2 different ranchers for putting up no trespassing signs and kicking the public off the leased lands, and drastically reduced the permit size for a couple of others for not following our requirements regarding how they grazed and thus causing a decline in range condition class. I wasn't able to accomplish this overnight and it took me a couple of years to build an ironclad case, during which the ranchers did everything they could to get me transferred from that district, but it got done. Needless to say the remainder of the time I spent in that small community was not very pleasant and I even had to do my shopping in another community some distance away. So I can understand why most public land managers shy away from rigorously enforcing the rules, especially when they have to live in the same small community with those who are affected either directly or indirectly by their actions. But ultimately it is the public land manager who is responsible for the management of that land not the ranchers.

    BTW we didn't manage the private timberland -that I was responsible for - for grazing - we managed it for timber production. The good grazing conditions that resulted were simply a by-product of that management. Also BTW, cattle can do quite well on overgrazed range until it becomes extremely degraded - not just looking bad. The ranchers who gave up their Federal leases in favor of one from us (they didn't just abandon them, they were able to transfer them to other federal land lessees with qualifying base properties- undoubtedly for a price though I'm sure they would deny that) didn't do it because the Federal lands were no longer suitable for grazing cattle. They did it because all things considered (cost of doing business on the Fed land , the hassle of dealing with bureaucrats (and yes I was one in a former life). and better gains on their calves due to less required handling) it simply made better economic sense to them.
     
  15. wa_desert_rat

    wa_desert_rat Active Member

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    We seem to have hit on some common ground here. I certainly agree that enforcing the rules is difficult; especially when the manager has to live in a town of under 5,000 and is dealing with people whose families have controlled local politics for generations in addition to huge tracts of public land they feel is theirs and theirs alone. That political control can extend to every facet of life in a town where the largest local landowner may also own most of the businesses in that town; or their relatives own them. They can be truly nasty folks.

    The problems are magnified by a lack of enforcement personnel combined with, at least in the West, a huge territory to cover. And that many people who encounter "land bullies" don't even know who to complain to... or that they were kicked off land they had a right to cross. With the advent of handheld GPS devices containing topo maps of entire states (and more), Google Maps, and newly popular activities like geo-caching and mountain biking I suspect that the Federal Agencies responsible for policing the land leases may find themselves under a lot more pressure by a public armed with accurate information.

    Glad you got to a few of them in your tenure. It could not have been an easy job.

    Craig
     

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