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Contact: Superintendent, 435-425-4100
Livestock grazing and trailing, which has a long history in southern Utah, were recognized by Congress in the enabling legislation for Capitol Reef National Park (CRNP) as existing privileges for those who traditionally grazed cattle in or trailed cattle through the park. For several decades after the park was established, the National Park Service (NPS) relied on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the management and permitting of livestock grazing in the active allotments in CRNP.
However, between 2000 and 2010, Capitol Reef assumed responsibility for managing and permitting the two active allotments in the park, the Sandy 3 and the Hartnet (note: the BLM maintained responsibility for the portion of the Hartnet Allotment that occurs on the lands they manage). In addition, the NPS continues to manage eight traditional livestock trailing routes that are used in CRNP; six of these trails are used once or twice per year, while the other two trailing routes are only used periodically.
While the NPS has had sole responsibility for managing livestock grazing and trailing in CRNP since 2010, there is no comprehensive, collaborative approach for managing these uses on park lands. As a result, three years ago, in March of 2015, the NPS announced its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the LGTMP.
Public involvement in the LGTMP process began with an early scoping period which lasted from March 10 to May 15, 2015. Since that time, the NPS has been developing a Draft LGTMP EIS taking into account public comments received; input from our cooperating agencies, including Emery, Garfield, and Wayne Counties (UT), the State of Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service; and input from consulting agencies, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Where are we today?
In late 2017/early 2018, the Hartnet Allotment grazing permit holder entered into discussions with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to sell their permit to graze on the portion of the Hartnet Allotment that occurs within the boundaries of CRNP. In March 2018, the permit holder willingly sold their NPS Hartnet Allotment grazing permit to NWF; subsequently, the permit holder relinquished in writing their rights to graze livestock in CRNP. The permit holder retains the right to trail their cattle through CRNP to reach BLM allotments immediately east of CRNP. While grazing will no longer occur in the Hartnet Allotment within the park, the NPS is continuing with preparation of the LGTMP to address long-term management and permitting of grazing on the Sandy 3 Allotment and trailing throughout CRNP. The LGTMP would incorporate widely accepted management techniques such as pasture rotation, fencing, monitoring, and adaptive management to balance grazing and trailing with available forage, improve rangeland health, and meet requirements of the NPS Organic Act and Endangered Species Act.
Based on public and agency scoping, as well as the analysis conducted to date of the tools proposed, implementation of the LGTMP on the remaining allotment and trails throughout the park would not have significant impacts; therefore, we are terminating the EIS, and are instead moving forward with the preparation of an environmental assessment (EA) for the LGTMP.
What are the next steps?
The NPS will work with cooperating and consulting agencies noted previously to prepare the LGTMP EA. We expect to release the EA for a 30-day public review period in the Summer of 2018. We will notify you when the LGTMP EA is available, and will provide information about public meetings at that time. The NPS anticipates a final decision will be made by the Fall of 2018. Please continue to visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/care_lgtmp for the latest information regarding the LGTMP EA.
Thank you for your continued interest in Capitol Reef National Park. We look forward to hearing from you when we release the EA, and hope to see you at one of the public meetings we will hold during the public comment period.
For more information about Capitol Reef National Park, visit www.nps.gov/care, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CapitolReefNPS/ , Twitter www.twitter.com/CapitolReefNPS , and Instagram at www.instagram.com/Capitolreefnps and more information on park planning at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/care_lgtmp.