Human impact is greater than livestock

I read the op-ed and letters by John Kappelman (Herald, July 27), David Petersen (Letters, July 31) and Rose Chilcoat (Letters, Aug. 4), and I need to add my two cents worth and disclose some things I have seen on grazing lands. There are some ranchers who do abuse the land but very, very few. Most of them are diligent about moving livestock to different areas to graze, therefore not overgrazing. If the livestock were not on range, it would be overgrown with weeds out of control and more of a fire hazard. Aspen trees are alive and well as far as the cattle are concerned. The worms have infested the aspen growth, and a lot appear to be dead, but the U.S. Forest Service assures us the trees will recover. Livestock is no threat to any wildlife and never has been. The people are a bigger threat by far.

Hikers enjoy the beauty of our country, and we range people are happy to share the wilderness with them, but they should get all of their facts straight! I have seen, firsthand their abuse and lack of concern and respect for our wilderness. The trash some of them leave there is far worse than cow pies, etc., left by the animals. If they think our streams and land are polluted by domestic animals only, what about the wildlife? The plastic bags, plastic water bottles, cans and toilet paper blowing in the breeze – plus a few more unpleasant articles – were left by humans, not livestock.

Ranchers do pay to use the range, but how much does the public pay to hike those beautiful trails? Nothing! Grazing lands and streams have survived the animals for more than 100 years, but I am not sure they can survive the human impact.

Cattle and sheep are people’s livelihood, so how about just walking around cow pies and quit complaining? I can find my way around them as I swat at the deer flies and mosquitoes that are not there because of the manure!

Have a great day and get a life!

Phyllis Ludwig


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