Marvel pays $250 ticket to BLM. Public grazing groups try to make it into a scandal

This has been very minor news, but the Idaho Cattle Association and Farm Bureau have been trying to pump it into a story-

They haven’t had much success, and today in the Idaho State Journal, columnist Michael H. O’Donnell slapped the livestock interests again. Best of all he relates it to the Johnson County War, which still reflects their basic attitude.

Gem State ‘Heaven’s Gate’. By Michael H. O’Donnell. Idaho State Journal.


  1. Cutthroat Avatar

    Was this the outcome at Greenfire Preserve (a $250.00 fine)?

    1. Cutthroat Avatar

      Thanks Ralph. In that event it does seem like minor news, despite all the posturing by Rosencrance (BLM). I guess for Rosencrance, if his goal was to rally the associations you mentioned and smear WWP he probably reached it. At the same time knowing the effects of selective perception those inclined will see the seeming lack of logic and irrationality in Rosencrances actions so clearly related by O’Donnel, which appears to be a pattern. At least Rosencrance came to his senses (or was brought there by superiors) before more tax payer dollars were spent in court.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      I think the entire purpose of this was to try to smear WWP, but they fell well short of their goals.

      There’s no doubt that this is personal. The local BLM is in league with local land barons and this Rosenkrance might as well be their employee.

      One of the most satisfying things I think you could do is give WWP a donation (it doesn’t have to be much) and send a copy of you donation letter to Rosenkrance.

      Dave Rosenkrance
      Field Manager,
      Challis Field Office
      U. S. Bureau of Land Management
      1151 Blue Mountain Road
      Challis, ID. 83226

    3. Cutthroat Avatar

      I guess I spoke too soon, having not read any recent articles yet. Sounds like the BLM has not yet decided to “not” cancel the permits yet. If they do cancel them I’m sure they will waist are tax dollars in court yet again.

    4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Rosenkrance also took away the Greenfire Preserve’s grazing allotment which has not been grazed for a decade and is now in much better condition with a huge benefit to wildlife and water quality in the East Fork of the Salmon River.

      I’ll bet it will be quickly reassigned as a gift to some nearby land baron.

  2. Virginia Avatar

    Ralph – could you please elaborate on this story? I must be stupid, but I don’t know what is going on here. Thanks.

    1. Devin Avatar

      Virginia, here’s a story that the Idaho State Journal ran a few days ago on the story that gives some more background.

      “BLM cites Watersheds Project chief”
      March 9, 2010

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Thanks Devin,

      It turns out the guy who wrote this piece for the newspaper used to write for the Farm Bureau.

    3. Devin Avatar


      Reading that article, I wondered who the guy was in bed with. It was very biased and I actually had to correct a few people in class that had read the article and were trying to slam the Marvel for doing what he did.

  3. Virginia Avatar

    Thank you, Devin. In reading the comments to the article, I was amazed that someone claimed that at least the ranchers contribute to the Idaho economy. Anyone know the $$ amount of which they claim – particularly when the ranchers are paying $1.38 per AUM? Wyoming ranchers claim to add so much to the economy, but if you check into it you will find that it is very little.

  4. spanglelakes Avatar

    The AUM amount is $1.35, rather than $1.38? Or did it go up three cents. AUM = Animal Unit Month or what a rancher pays for one cow and her calf (or five ewes and their lambs) to graze for a month on public land. The same public land ranchers who are responsible for having about a 100 wolves shot by Wildlife Services in Idaho in 2009.

    1. JimT Avatar

      So long as the land barons don’t try and re-introduce the concept of serfs, Ralph..;*)

      There are so many things wrong about public land ranching, it is hard to find one to focus on. I think to get rid of it, groups have to push the economic waste of it all and how much Federal money is being wasted on the benefit of so few family ranchers and corporate ranchers.

    2. Larry Zuckerman Avatar

      I’ve been working recently on a presentation-publication on ecotourism and sustainable tourism-based local economies and would suggest this here. While attempting to tear down public grazing as the highly subsidized, non-sustainable, ecologically damaging “mining” of sage-brush steppe, riparian areas, and streams, I would also step forward and suggest the paradigm shift towards more sustainable, ecosystem-friendly local economies based on angling for trophy bull trout (up to 20 lbs for fluvial fish) and eco-tourism, like viewing packs of wolves, free-ranging bison, strutting sage-grouse, and fully-functioning ecosystems.

      Perhaps instead of just tearing down the cowboy and irrigator cultures, we should strongly suggest retraining, retooling and rehiring them for habitat restoration work, and as potential entrepreneurs in a new West based on sustainable and ecologically friendly businesses. While we are at it, we should strongly push politicians to remodel public lands managers from rubber-stamping extractive permits for logging, water diversions, mining, and grazing and switch them into a mode of mitigating for climate change.

  5. Larry Zuckerman Avatar

    Also, Dave Rosenkrance’s cousin, Shane Rosenkrance, is the manager of the largest BLM grazing allotment in Idaho, which is owned by Mary Hewlett Jaffe as in the heir to the Hewlett-Packard fortune. Small world, isn’t? Perhaps it is time to check for earlobe similarities in Central Idaho?

    The Mountain Springs Allotment (aka San Felipe Allotment) is adjacent to the GreenFire Preserve, consists of more than 97,000 BLM acres for 1,470 cattle and 8,375 AUMs. and was the site of the recent, violent wild horse roundup, which also included BLM-contracted helicopters flying into GreenFire Preserve airspace (in violation of a prior agreement between WWP and Challis-BLM) to drive wild horses that were feeding, resting, and reproducing happily at GreenFire into the BLM lands for harassment, aerial roundup, corralling, trucking, and eventual sale (for those horses that survived the ordeal).

    It has been repeatedly targeted by WWP for violations and terrible natural resource conditions, such as destroyed riparian, spring, and stream ecosystems for decades.

    Check out David Stiwell’s (WWP summer intern’s) photo documentation of the devastation at Mary Hewlett’s Mountain Springs Allotment, adjacent to GreenFire, managed by Dave Rosenkrance’s cousin, site of a terrible wild horse roundup (because they wouldn’t cut the cattle numbers and grazing days), and managed by Dave Rosenkrance, Challis-BLM. Here is the URL: ; you be the judge.

    Here is URL for one of Ralph’s fenceline photos – this one of the Boulevard Springs Livestock Exclosure – can you tell which side Shane Rosenkrance’s four-legged friends have been grazing?

    Something stinks in Challis and it is not cow manure or fermenting sugar beets. Makes you wonder why the Challis BLM has such a hatred for Jon and WWP.


    Larry Z

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think folks can see why I call them land barons. They have personal ties just like the feudal lords of long ago Europe, and these come before the law.

    People like Marvel (and me too) are interlopers in their system of private government. Well they are really my lands and yours, and we should make them accept the fact.

  7. Virginia Avatar

    Sorry – hit the wrong button – $1.35! How much money does the BLM lose in Idaho on grazing fees/year vs. what it really costs the taxpayers to subsidize these “welfare queens?” Anyway, thanks to Marvel for trying ( and Western Watersheds). Sending money.

  8. Debra K Avatar
    Debra K

    Virginia, here’s a link to an official GAO report from 2005 comparing expenditures on the grazing program to receipts:

    It shows federal spending on grazing as $144 million, receipts of $21 million. The AUM fee was higher back then, so receipts are probably less now, but I suspect that expenditures are in the same range.

    While the ridiculously low grazing fee gripes me, the tens of thousands of dollars we taxpayers spend for “range improvements” really outrages me.

    Troughs, fencing, pipes, etc. to benefit private ranchers actively degrade the habitat for wildlife in most cases, and the grazing fees won’t cover costs unless you carry out repayment for literally centuries in some cases.

    I really wish readers could see some of these contraptions they’re paying for. Many don’t work after a few season and others are truly hazardous for wildlife, like troughs with no wildlife escape ramp. For example, I have seen drowned birds in these apparatuses–horrible and sad. I have written letters to the land managment agency responsible when I see dysfunctional improvements, especially no wildlife escape ramp. Nothing is ever done.

    1. JimT Avatar

      Same thing is true for “getting out the cut” and the sales there…USFS loses more money on those sales than they make. The courts seem to be finally “getting it” about the bad ones, and seem to be more willing to step in now than they used to, but still, forest plan appeals are happening all the time.

  9. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Are the BLM livestock grazing districts still ruled by a committe composed of cattlemen and woolgrowers? When I worked on a Bighorn Sheep Study way back in the 1960s and 70s everything relating to livestock grazing was controlled by these boards.


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