America has a long lasting infatuation with the iconic cowboy. So it is not very romantic to point out that nothing is harder on the fragile, arid public lands of the American West than private livestock grazing. The irony is that for all the damage it causes, public lands livestock grazing is an uneconomic enterprise. While the majority of public land is grazed it provides only three percent of the nation’s livestock forage. It would not show up in retail beef and lamb prices if it disappeared. Public land livestock grazing would not exist without substantial tax payer subsidies. There is a potential win-win free market solution that provides willing ranchers the freedom to accept generous, permanent buyouts of their grazing permits. For now that solution is, perversely, not generally legal.
The purpose of The No Bull Sheet is to provide compelling, objective evidence of the prevailing problems of poor public lands management along with success stories and win-win solutions.
Mark Bailey co-founded Torrey House Press in 2010 to promote conservation through literature. He is chair of the board of Wild Utah Project and vice-president of Western Watersheds Project. Mark is an amateur astro-photographer, cross-country and downhill skier, private pilot, and avid reader. He lives in Salt Lake City and Torrey, Utah with his wife Kirsten Johanna Allen and has two grown children.
Dennis Willis retired from a 35 year career in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) working in both the rangeland management and recreation programs. He has lived in Price, Utah for almost 40 years and is dedicated to the wondrous landscapes of southern Utah. His freelance consulting firm, Sustaining Landscapes LLC works on a variety of land use issues.
Laura Cunningham is the California Director at Western Watersheds Project. She wrote and illustrated a book about the landscape history and wildlife of California, A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California (Heyday: 2010), and has a background in wildlife biology working for agencies such as California Department of Fish and Wildlife and US Geological Survey–Biological Resource Division. She co-founded a local desert non-profit conservation organization, Basin and Range Watch and is part of a think tank, Solar Done Right. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives with her husband in the Death Valley National Park region.