FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Forest Service Puts Ranchers Ahead of Grizzlies (and the Public Interest)

The recent killing of more grizzly bears by the Wyoming Game and Fish, a listed endangered species, to protect ranchers in the Upper Green River Allotment on the Bridger Teton National Forest is another shameful example of the mixed-up priorities and mismanagement of our public lands.

Why should native animals, especially endangered animals, be killed or removed to facilitate the private profit of livestock owners? These are our public lands.

Grazing is a privilege, not a right. If ranching activities jeopardize the public’s wildlife, should not the private livestock be removed rather than the public’s wildlife?

Putting cattle out on the Upper Green River, one of the best wildlife habitats on the entire Bridger Teton National Forest, is akin to putting out four-legged picnic baskets. If you or I were to leave our food out while camping in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park, we would be fined. However, in Wyoming, taxpayers reward ranchers. If a livestock operator loses a cow to a bear, the state of Wyoming “compensates” them for the loss.

The Bridger Teton National Forest had an opportunity to manage these lands for public benefit when it revised management for the Upper Green River Allotment. Instead of managing these public lands for the public benefit, they continued the same old policy of putting private interests ahead of public interest.

The presence of livestock in this area has more impacts than the death of grizzlies. The Forest Service documented the harm done to riparian areas, amphibians, sage grouse and other wildlife. The presence of livestock also pollutes water, socially displaces elk and permits the consumption of forage that would otherwise support native wildlife from grasshoppers to elk.

As long as the Bridger Teton National Forest continues to put private interests ahead of public interest, we will continue to see grizzly bears killed merely to protect the profit of private livestock operations. Is this really what we, the public, want from our public lands managers?

More articles by:

George Wuerthner has published 36 books including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy. He serves on the board of the Western Watersheds Project.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
November 20, 2019
Vijay Prashad
The Coup in Bolivia Has Everything to Do With the Screen You’re Using to Read This
Kenneth Surin
Labor and the UK General Election
Ron Jacobs
The Trumpists’ Attempts at Snark Define Their Day: Impeachment Day Three
George Ochenski
The Walls are Closing in on Donald Trump
Timothy M. Gill
Towards a Democratic Socialist Foreign Policy
Robert Hunziker
Neoliberalism Backfires
Thomas S. Harrington
Let’s Give Three Cheers for Those “Western Ears” 
Michelle Renee Matisons
Freedom, Valor, Love: On Snowden’s Permanent Record
James C. Nelson
How Trump is Warping the Federal Courts: the Case Against Lawrence VanDyke
Rev. William Alberts
Whistleblowing Religion
Chandra Muzaffar
The Coup That Ousted Morales
Mike Garrity
Trump Administration Ignores Court Order Stopping 85,000 Acre Payette Forest Logging and Burning Project, Conservation Groups Sue
Andrew Moss
Raising the Stakes in the Struggle Over Immigration Detention
Dean Baker
Making Andrew Yang Smarter
Lawrence Wittner
The People of the World
November 19, 2019
Ramzy Baroud
How Western Media Bias Allows Israel to Getaway with Murder in Gaza
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan’s Ethnic Cleansing of the Kurds is Still Happening
Dave Lindorff
Student Protesters are Walking a Tightrope in Hong Kong
Richard Greeman
French Yellow Vests Celebrate First Birthday, Converge With Planned Labor Strikes
Dean Baker
Impeachment is a Kitchen Table Issue
Walden Bello
Is China an “Imperial Power” in the Image of the West?
Jim Britell
Modern Biology and Ecology: the Roots Of America’s Assertive Illiteracy
Sabri Öncü
Non-Financial Private Debt Overhang
John Steppling
Baby Shark Coup
Binoy Kampmark
Open Guidelines: The Foreign Interference Problem in Australian Universities
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Greece and the Struggle for Freedom
Colin Todhunter
Lab Rats for Corporate Profit: Pesticide Industry’s Poisoned Platter
James Graham
Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn on the Eve of the Debate
Elliot Sperber
Scrutiny – From Scruta
November 18, 2019
Olivia Arigho-Stiles
Protestors Massacred in Post-Coup Bolivia
Ashley Smith
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Macho Camacho: Jeffery R. Webber and Forrest Hylton on the Coup in Bolivia
Robert Fisk
Michael Lynk’s UN Report on Israeli Settlements Speaks the Truth, But the World Refuses to Listen
Ron Jacobs
Stefanik Stands By Her Man and Roger Stone Gets Convicted on All Counts: Impeachment Day Two
John Feffer
The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Shock Therapy and the Rise of Trump
Stephen Cooper
Another Death Penalty Horror: Stark Disparities in Media and Activist Attention
Bill Hatch
A New Silence
Gary Macfarlane
The Future of Wilderness Under Trump: Recreation or Wreckreation?
Laura Flanders
#SayHerName, Impeachment, and a Hawk
Ralph Nader
The Most Impeachable President vs. The Most Hesitant Congress. What Are The Democrats Waiting For?
Robert Koehler
Celebrating Peace: A Work in Progress
Walter Clemens
American Oblivion
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail