Grazing is a compromise written into the 1964 Wilderness Act that is one of the more destructive activities allowed in Wilderness. A large concern about this plan is the likelihood of the High Uintas Wilderness losing its bighorn sheep population, which could likely die out due to fatal diseases contracted from domestic sheep. (The two types of sheep cannot co-exist without bighorns dying.) Domestic sheep grazing in this Wilderness will continue to damage the wilderness character here in many other ways as well. The impacts include the trapping and killing of native predators ostensibly to protect domestic sheep; the destruction and loss of vegetation needed by other native species such as elk, moose, and deer; and the extensive damage to streams and wetlands. Due to these and other unacceptable impacts to the High Uintas Wilderness, we are asking the Forest Service to close these allotments to domestic sheep grazing. We also support a bill, the Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA, H.R. 3410), which would buy out and permanently retire grazing permits in Wilderness and on other federal public lands.
Photo: Ken Lund