Don Oman, a farm-raised
native, earned his bachelor’s degree in forest management from the
University of Montana.
In 1986, after twenty-three years with the
US Forest Service,
he became the district ranger on the Twin Falls District
(Sawtooth National Forest,
ID) where he found severe, widespread environmental damage caused by long-term livestock grazing. During his ten years on the district, Mr. Oman came to national attention because of conflicts with ranchers over the management of their livestock under his jurisdiction. He, nonetheless, successfully resisted the ensuing political pressure from ranching interests that sought to remove him as district ranger.
For his efforts to protect our natural resources from poor grazing practices, Mr. Oman was awarded the Wilderness Society’s
Olaus and Margaret Murie Award
Twin Falls Ranger District’s Trout Creek, habitat for the
Yellowstone cutthroat trout
was among the locations found damaged by livestock grazing when Don Oman became the district ranger in 1986. In this video, Mr. Oman describes the dramatic environmental improvement that occurred after livestock were excluded from a short segment of the creek.
Recorded in August 2003. This video is an excerpt from Don Oman’s interview in
Western Turf Wars: The Politics of Public Lands Ranching