Livestock have grazed the region of the Cumberland/Uinta Allotment since the arrival of the first White settlers. The allotment consists of nearly 370,000 acres of intermingled public, private and state lands of which 59.1% are administered by the BLM.
The agency’s Cumberland/Uinta Allotment Cooperative Management Plan
(January 2000) lists two major concerns with the allotment's environmental conditions:
Under season-long grazing use, livestock tend to concentrate in riparian areas for virtually the entire growing season every year. A “Proper Functioning Condition Inventory” indicated that most of the streams were “functioning at risk.” The report notes that “proper functioning streams provide important wildlife habitat, increase forage production, and enhance water quality and quantity.”
Upland sites have become dominated by stands of old, decadent sagebrush, mountain shrub and aspen primarily due to decades of fire suppression.
These and other environmental impacts associated with livestock grazing were observed during my visit on August 30, 2002, with retired BLM manager Darrel Short as my guide. The photos shown below were taken at that time.
The region’s vulnerability to damage from livestock grazing stems in large part from its climate, especially its short growing season of 90–110 days, and its low annual precipitation of 8" to 12".
We’ll begin our tour of the allotment at a livestock exclosure built on Carter Creek in 1994.