It's been barely more than 150 years since the days of open range. In that time over-grazing has changed the Western Landscape so dramatically it'll likely evolve rather than recover.As I roam about, I often notice the flies and reek of cow manure. I'm disturbed by how many otherwise beautiful places are compromised by the disgusting odor of cow shit. And when I sit down to enjoy a meal and have to continually wave away flies, it's impossible not to think about what they're depositing on my food.
Additionally, the use of water to grow hay for stock has caused streams to dry up; where trout once were common, they are no more. Nearly every lake in the region has dropped by significant amounts. And many water-tables are only memories. All in the name of producing 3 percent of the nation's beef. The other 97 percent comes from the Midwest where there's lots of water and grass.
"Exclosures" keep the livestock out.
They've been kept from getting at the vegetation on the "near" side of the fence.
There are many organizations attempting to preserve what's left, but two I admire are Advocates for the West and Western Watersheds Project. Both these non-profits file lawsuits (often collaboratively) against the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to help mitigate the impact of livestock grazing. Both are renowned for their uncompromising approach to achieving their goals...something, in this case, I consider laudable.As you enjoy the magnificent grandeur of our lands, please consider supporting either (or both) of these organizations. Your contribution will make a difference for all of us.
and one from Western Watersheds Project