From The Mountain Mail:
Officials with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) said in a press release they were “disheartened” to learn of the presidential declaration of Browns Canyon as a national monument.
“We worked in good faith with former Sen. Udall and others to find a way to prevent a presidential declaration,” Tim Canterbury, chair of the Public Lands Council, said in the release.
“Now, all we can do is ask for a seat at the table and hope that the voices of ranchers will be heard and respected in the designation’s implementation process,” he said.
After learning about the designation, CCA officials spoke to Sen. Michael Bennet and Gov. John Hickenlooper, both of whom agreed to work on ensuring grazing would continue without changes or restrictions.
According to the release, CCA will work to ensure the following points are included in the declaration and clarified:
Motorized access must continue to be allowed for permit administration, range improvements and water maintenance. Explicit language must be written into the designation that allows sheep and cattle producers to trail their livestock to and from federal grazing allotments through portions of the designated area. Weeds and weed control must also be addressed in the rules of implementation, particularly in headwaters areas. Language must be included in the designation implementation to ensure that changes in the numbers of authorized livestock are based on facts and not the whim of individual land managers. Language that would explicitly ensure permits will be transferable to new permittee/owners in the same manner as was the case prior to the designation of the national monument is also required. Water rights must be expressly recognized in wilderness acts that further codify states’ water laws.
The changes must be applied throughout the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service so that administration at all levels carry out the intent of the law without personal deference that subsequently limits or harms livestock grazing through administrative bias.
“We stand by the fact that a presidential declaration is not in the best interest of the agricultural community, and we sincerely hope that the president and his administration have heard our concerns and will ensure that the rule-making process addresses the concerns of landowners and ranchers,” said Canterbury.
He emphasized the organization will keep pushing for legislation that will clarify grazing permit rights for Browns Canyon and any future designation.