Mike Hudak interviews Don Oman, a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service, about his experience working with the agency as a part of Hudak’s series of interviews compiled for Western Turf Wars: The Politics of Public Lands Ranching

Don Oman, a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service explains how political pressure initiated by ranchers leads to environmentally harmful management of livestock grazing on federal public lands.

Raised on a Montana farm, Don Oman, earned his bachelor’s degree in forest management from the University of Montana. In 1987, after twenty-three years with the US Forest Service, he became district ranger on the Twin Falls Ranger District (Sawtooth National Forest, ID) where he found severe environmental damage caused by livestock. During his ten years on the district, Mr. Oman came to national attention because of conflicts with ranchers over the management of their cattle under his jurisdiction.

This video is an excerpt from a much longer interview with Oman contained in WESTERN TURF WARS: THE POLITICS OF PUBLIC LANDS RANCHING. See http://westernturfwars.com for details.

About The Author

Brian Ertz

3 Responses to The Politics of Managing Livestock on Public Lands

  1. Nancy says:

    If you lived for any length of time in this part of the country – Montana, Idaho, Wyoming – its not hard to relate to Don Oman’s concerns………….

  2. Ralph Maughan says:

    Few are as brace Oman was, and of those who were, they often lost their jobs.

  3. Howl Basin says:

    Having lived in the West all my life, I’m just not seeing any agency people anymore with the grit of Don Oman. Maybe college kids are being told, if you want to tell the truth and obey the law, don’t go to work for the BLM or USFS.


August 2011


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey