Cattle and Horse Allotment to be closed on SNRA


By Paul Johnson

Ketchum, Idaho - The Sawtooth National Recreation Area will close the Obsidian Cattle and Horse Allotment effective immediately. The Allotment has been vacant since 2003 and prior to that had been in partial nonuse status since 2000 at the permittee’s request. Domestic livestock have not grazed the allotment during the past 13 years. The allotment encompasses approximately 482 acres within the Sawtooth Valley along the Salmon River.

According to Joby Timm, Sawtooth NRA Ranger, “before livestock would be allowed to graze this allotment again, National Environmental Policy Act requirements must be met. Meeting these requirements is expensive and due to a backlog in NEPA related projects would take considerable time before a decision could be made. This allotment has been vacant for 13 years. With the high cost to bring the allotment into compliance and administering it, our opportunities for the livestock industry are better spent elsewhere. The economic viability of a livestock operation on this allotment has been diminished with the additional management requirements associated with the presence of threatened, endangered, sensitive, and rare species in the years since it was last grazed.”

This allotment is easily accessible and highly visible from Highway 75, the primary travel route through the Sawtooth Valley. Given the proximity to Highway 75, the historical significance, high fish and wildlife values, and the allotment’s scenic beauty, the Forest would like to use this opportunity in the future to educate visitors. The land was once slated to be a Residential Subdivision and was one impetus for the creation of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in 1972.

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