Conservation groups want Forest Service land near Pocatello closed to livestock grazing

Now, your opportunity to comment on the Pocatello, Midnight, and Michaud grazing allotments-
Comments are due Jan. 4, 2011-

An opportunity like this only comes along every ten years or so.  I know a lot of people have been furious for years about the cattle grazing in the Bannock Range immediately west and south of Pocatello, Idaho.

Western Watersheds/Portneuf Valley Audubon Society new release on the grazing comment opportunity. Conservation groups want Mink Creek closed to cows.

Every ten years or so the Forest Service is supposed to revise its grazing allotment plans. One alternative they have to consider is no grazing. I know a lot of the folks I know here in Pocatello would say, “yes, yes” to reduced or elimination of grazing. There are a few beauty area closed, but about 1200 AUMs graze most of the area from June 1 until Oct. 10 each year (actually until the owners of the cattle bother to pick them up). That only leaves the month of May for an ungrazed experience in this key recreation area on Pocatello’s doorstep.

Here is the scoping document from the Forest Service showing the location of the allotments. PortneufAllotScoping11-22-2010

Send to your comments to Ranger Jeff Hammes, Westside Ranger District at this email address:  Tell why you are interested, give the information you have about the cows and what you think should be done. The formal name of document being prepared is the Lower Portneuf Grazing EA.

I took the photo below of a cow covered with houndstongue stickers on the Pocatello Grazing Allotment in the summer of 2009. The poor cow’s condition is not unusual, and of course their omnipresence keep the obnoxious weed spreading and spreading.

Houndstongue infested cow. Pocatello Grazing Allotment. Photo by Ralph Maughan. Public domain


  1. Sérgio Avatar

    I’m not American, but this is a fact (there and here!)… “An opportunity like this only comes along every ten years or so”. So all of those that are always talking and trying to change something… now is the time for action, so that you guys doesn’t stay just on the talking side! Best of luck…

  2. wolf moderate Avatar
    wolf moderate

    I spent about a month this past August up out of McCall scouting for archery season (gasp). The sheep are out of control up their. I asked the Forest Service why they allow these sheep like this and he said it was because they were required to profit from the lands as best they could (paraphrasing big time). I then met a WS trapper up their who has a trailer up that way pretty much year round just to protect the sheep. does the Forest Service factor in the costs of the WS personnel, his truck, ATV, horses etc…into the equation? Probably not. I can see how Western Watersheds gets upset w/ the management of public lands grazing. I see no problem with grazing on public lands so long as they pay the actual costs involved.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Comments are due on this tomorrow. If anyone has opinions or ideas about grazing on FS lands south and west of Pocatello, your comments are due tomorrow.

    Email your comments to After you have emailed them, you should get a comments received (automated) reply, although it might not be instantaneous. The name of the proposal is the Lower Portneuf grazing EA. Westside Ranger District; Caribou-Targhee N.F.

    Just a few comments could help us rid the area of the cattle from these hobby livestock owners to the great benefit of wildlife and recreation.


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