Livestock grazing has taken a heavy toll on Western rangelands since the arrival of domestic cattle and sheep that were bred for much damper climates.
These animals, which have contributed greatly to the West’s pioneer heritage, have damaged fragile alpine and desert ecosystems, fouled stream corridors and rearranged native plant communities, environmentalist say.
While they contend public lands grazing is not sustainable in its time-worn form, Utah’s notably dry and cold Monte Cristo Mountains harbor a massive private ranch that some observers believe could illuminate a path forward.
Deseret Land and Livestock Ranch, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and covering more than 200,000 acres in Rich County along the Wyoming border, has developed an innovative system of rotational grazing that state officials hope could be adopted elsewhere. The experiment has proved not just profitable in an industry with famously low margins but also easy on