Thursday, August 13, 2020
Hailey Sheep Rancher Retires Grazing Permits
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Sheep rest in a shady part of the Wood River Valley enroute to summer pastures in the mountains.
   
Monday, July 13, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Lava Lake Land & Livestock has ended sheep grazing on about 88,000 acres of national forest land north and east of Ketchum.

The decision was facilitated with a payment from the Sagebrush Habitat Conservation Fund, a nonprofit founded by the Western Watersheds Project to secure voluntary retirement of public lands grazing permits.

Also behind it: A desire to protect wild Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

The move will also benefit Wood River sculpin and Lost River whitefish, according to Jon Marvel, vice president of the Sagebrush Habitat Conservation Fund.

The land removed from grazing is in the North Fork Boulder and Trail Creek allotments in the Big Wood River watershed of the Sawtooth National Forest and the Park Creek and Northfork allotments in the Big Lost River watershed of the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

Lava Lake Land & Livestock, owned by Hailey residents Brian and Kathleen Bean, runs about 1,800 ewes and their lambs on 24,000 acres of private land and 787,000 acres of public land. That doesn’t include the retired allotment, which represents about 10 percent of Lava Lake Land & Livestock’s 900,000 acres of grazing.

The Beans have long been involved in conservation projects, starting in San Francisco before they purchased Lava Lake Land & Livestock. They have permanently protected more than 20,000 acres of their deed land through conservation easements.

They participate in research projects designed to use non-lethal means to keep wolves from killing sheep. And they’ve performed dozens of restoration projects.

The retirement of the grazing permits was also facilitated by the 2015 Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act, which was championed by Congressman Mike Simpson. That legislation made possible a way ranchers could voluntarily retire their grazing permits.

 

 

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