Payette NF supervisor decides to end sheep grazing in bighorn country

Despite full court press by Idaho woolgrowers, reason prevails-

Payette supervisor decides to end sheep grazing in bighorn country. Submitted by Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

By email I learned about 30,000 acres will still be open, but this is a big victory for Idaho  bighorn over an very entrenched political interest.



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  1. Ken Cole Avatar

    This is perhaps the biggest development in bighorn sheep recovery in recent history. I think that the implications of this are profound not just for the Payette Forest but for the entire west. I think that other National Forests and BLM districts are going to have to confront this issue and follow suit. No more just shooting from the hip and saying “we think it won’t happen” anymore.

    1. Barb Rupers Avatar
      Barb Rupers

      I hope you are correct in your opinion. It is about time some livestock was taken off of national forest lands. I was raised in north Idaho where there was very little grazing on those lands and always was shocked at the condition of the forests farther south. The potentially beautiful meadows were trampled and consumed by livestock and the forests lands were covered with cow flops.

      Looking towards a better future for public lands in the West.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      This is really one of the great wildlife victories this year in my opinion. It has been such a long battle.

  2. Debra K Avatar
    Debra K

    I agree, Ralph. Kudos should go to Supervisor Rainville for having the fortitude to make her decision based on science, and resist the tremendous political pressure from Idaho politicians and woolgrowers.

    After full implementation of the domestic sheep cutbacks, there will still be a fair amount of sheep grazing around the Brundage Mtn area. The high elevation meadows really get hammered there, so work remains to be done to reduce sheep grazing damage.

    And still way too much cattle grazing occurs on the Payette, especially in light of the ESA listed Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel, bull trout, steelhead and salmon habitat that is found on this Forest.


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