By Marjorie Haun
from an article in Range Magazine from Spring 2020
Giving credit where credit is due, you have to hand it to the “lock-up-the-lands” environmentalists. They never seem to run out of creative ideas when it comes to fulfilling their mission to drive ranchers off federally-controlled lands in the west. Meet the Grand Canyon Trust (GCT), a multi-million-dollar, anti-grazing, anti-multiple use environmentalist organization operating in northern Arizona and southern Utah.
Despite the fact that GCT holds a base property called North Rim Ranch, their interest in grazing is not to promote healthy grazing practices on federally-controlled lands—something already practiced by a majority of actual ranchers with grazing permits—but to acquire, retire, and destroy the grazing capacity of allotments so they become entirely inaccessible to ranchers.
Grand Staircase-Escalante Allotments
Exploiting the onerous restrictions placed on grazing by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) following President Clinton’s unilateral creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSE) in the late 1990’s, GCT offered to buyout permits from aggrieved ranchers, some of whom took the bait. GCT took control of four sizeable allotments; Big Bowns Bench, Clark Bench, Willow Gulch,