Deal made for 178,000 acres of cow-free wildlife habitat east of Grand Teton

The National Wildlife Federation has paid to buy out Stanko’s Bacon Creek grazing allotment on the Bridger-Teton national forest, which is home to very important elk, deer, bighorn sheep, moose and pronghorn habitat as well as grizzly bears and 3 wolf packs.

The buyout was voluntary.

Story in the Billings Gazette. Deal expands wildlife habitat. By Mike Stark of The Gazette Staff




  1. kt Avatar

    The moose, midges, wolves, wolverines, frogs, falcons, fish, butterflies, beavers, bears and all other inhabitants will certainly be celebrating this!

  2. Wolfen Avatar

    Hmmm! I did not know that animals had the intelligence and capability to reason and think as humans. If so then more than likely they will be celebrating that all mankind, including so called wolf advocates and conservationists, will stay out of the woods and not disturb their habitat.

  3. kt Avatar

    Yes, indeed, some of us are quite fond of anthropomorphism, and find it more refreshing than musing on images of crucified men…

  4. elkhunter Avatar

    why are you not praising a cattleman for helping out your wolves? Do you just only point out the negative? Please I want you to call him and thank him.

  5. Wolfen Avatar

    kt can not or will not do that. Even though cattle may have causes some of these problems and cattlemen have sold their grazing rights that is against kts ethics. Whatever they are? There are many honest, good folks who are cattle men and they graze on public lands. However, even though they are abiding by the laws and regulations and are working at making a good, honest living this is still against kts better instinct. I would like to think kt is against the big corporations who run their cattle on public lands but by the posted comments it doesn’t matter if it is a single family opertion or a large corporation. kt will still attack, demise, the livestock owner. Remember, cattle are the cause of everything gone bad environmentally!

  6. kt Avatar

    Cattlemen don’t have grazing rights, They have grazing privileges, as the Supreme Court has affirmed.

    Ralph likely knows the specifics of this area –

    from a while back:

    But I am betting that Mr. Stanko was losing a lot of $$$, unless he was rich stirrer-up-of-trouble and zealous Fed hater like Robbins. The Buyout was way generous compared to how much had been sunk into efforts to grow cows and stir up trouble in a place no rational person would choose to raise livestock …

    Plus, it would be very interesting to know just how many AUMs Stanko may have been running towards the end. Often public lands ranchers run just a fraction of the “paper” cows on their permits. ‘Twould be interesting to know if he got paid for paper cows, too … I think appraisers of permits, and banks that have made loans on permits, are starting to catch on that “paper AUMs” have no relation to the much smaller number of cows or sheep actually able to be grazed in depleted and/or inhospitable country. How about you fellows, Wolfen and Elkhunter, do you or your rancher compadres run the full “Paper” number of livestock?

  7. Wolfen Avatar

    kt….All you can do is complain and whine about cattlemen who run livestock on public land. I would much rather you put out and do something constructive to help solve the problem. Whining never does.

    I am sure that there are some ranchers who probably run more cattle on their grazing allotments than is required. However, these are just a few bad apples compared to most. I know many cattle ranchers and they are honest people.

    Once again, you have proven by your “mouth” that you know very little about the livestock industry and cattle ranchers and form your biased opinion on what you see happening to the public lands. However, it does not make them dishonest as you state they run more than is allowed on paper. From all the people I know, and I know many cattle owners, several so called conservationists, environmentalists, fish and game folks, and many scientist from where I work. Since you asked the question, I must admit that the most honest people I know are the rancher compadres as you state. Obviously you have not known many so how can you ever compare.

    I have admitted that cows do damage to public lands and that is unfortunate. However, I also admit that their are humans who leave their trash and human waste on public lands. And those who complain the most about cattle on public lands are typically those who leave their garbage behind. You seem to fit here.

  8. Wolfen Avatar

    Oh…..kt. You do not have public land rights. Only public land priviledges. Were you trying to imply that you have public land rights while public land ranchers have only grazing priviledges?

  9. be Avatar

    when you take a look at the consequences of a certain activity biologically/ecologically – i think it is far easier to understand where kt is coming from. whether ranchers are good stewards or bad stewards is an important consideration to evaluate the extent of harm done to public lands. but the semi-arid to arid western public lands did not evolve ecologically/biologically to endure to the effects of livestock grazing. if we care about the health of the land it is an inappropriate use of our land-

    i can only imagine the frustration of those who have spent so much time documenting and witnessing the scientific implications of this use of our common lands. the double standards and incessant political hegemony of a few trumping the health of the land and the will of the people established by NEPA, ESA, etc. and when you consider the attention garnered by a few iconic species – but the relative public ignorance of the consequences of a human activity which has contributed so significant insideous harms to the overall struggle for stewardship, health, biodiversity, and future sustainability – i, for one, appreciate the scientific integrity, consistency, and genuine passionate love for the land engendered in the conservationists who make sure that people don’t forget that our lands are sick – even if it’s not on the front page – and a reminder that there is often a common thread/variable unduly influencing the outcome of those conservation issues that do make the front page…

    hippies hug trees, coastal folk save whales – but if we want science to guide public decision-making, there are less publicly known variables which contribute more significantly to the loss of what we say we care about than what we see on bumper stickers.

  10. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I, along with you, KT, be, Ralph, elkhunter, and every citizen on the east and west coasts have public land rights. That is what public land is, OWNED by the public. We have the RIGHT of ownership. The deal is, is that RIGHT OF OWENERSHIP is under constant attack by special interests, among them the livestock industry, to try and subvert our RIGHT OF OWERSHIP for other than mine and your RIGHT to determine the best use of PUBLIC LAND. It’s the centuries old ploy of divide and conquer. Still seems to work ,in some cases, just fine. You seem to be a pretty decent guy otherwise.

  11. kt Avatar

    You might want to re-read what I wrote. I said we are finding many ranchers run many FEWER cows than they are permitted (yet still beat out the land)— because the cow numbers on the grazing permits are kept aritficially outrageously high, i.e. there are a lot of “paper cows” on permits. Cow AUMs/Numbers are at times still based on old adjudication processes (fantasyland exercises) and even if ever adjusted, are divorced from the capacity of the land to ever handle as many livestock as are on the permits.

    Yet, ranchers may have gotten bank loans on the grand total of AUMs/cows on the permit, including the “paper” cows on the permit, such as “suspended” use .

    So when you read a document like, say, the Pocatello Draft RMP, and BLM proposes just around the same number of cows 20 years from now as at the present, it is really a Fantasyland analysis. And thinking of celebrating butterflies and bears (see earlier Comment) is much closer to any “reality” than BLM’s “cooked” analyses. The “AUMs”/Cows on the books listed under various Alternatives are completely divorced from current reality or “sustainability” under any science-based view. Yet agencies, like BLM, are under intense pressure from the livestock industry to NEVER really show the real numbers that are grazed – because that will ultimately de-value the re-sale of the permits.

    Bottom line: Many ranchers would do well to get bought out before the average Actual Use AUMs over the past couple of decades become, essentially, the re-sale value of the permit … It seems that more folks appraising ranch and permit values may be taking a closer look at actual use AUMs.

  12. elkhunter Avatar

    I would listen to you more, but its hard for me to take you serious because you always want to blame everything on cattle, everything on cattle. Its always the “Good Ole Boys” and their cows as you always put it. You are just to bias, and refuse to acknowledge anything but your point of view, you rarely answer questions when someone questions something you say. Its just alwasys something about cows. So its hard for me to take you serious.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan