GRAND MESA, UNCOMPAHGRE, AND GUNNISON NATIONAL FORESTS PROPOSE PACK GOAT BAN
The Forest Service has released a working draft of their revised land management plan. In it is a section to ban pack goats from National Forest Service lands in Colorado. This ban would include the Grand Mesa, the Uncompahgre, and the Gunnison.
The plan says, “FW-STND-SPEC-16: To maintain effective separation among species in habitat occupied by bighorn sheep, the use of recreational pack goats and the use of goats and sheep for invasives and/or noxious weed management is prohibited.”
Comments are currently being accepted by the Forest Service. The plan is not a formal draft, yet. They are looking for guidance from the public to point the plan in the right direction. This is a unique opportunity to have your voice heard before the official objection period. You can submit those comments through the Forest Service’s online comment tool. Comments are due by July 29th.
THE FLAW IN THE PLAN
The North American Pack Goat Association (NAPgA) does not support this plan. They say it allows for domestic sheep so pack goats should be allowed as well. “The GMUG plan includes many allotments for grazing domestic sheep. As much as 2/3rds (1.9 million acres) of the GMUG is designated grazing area. Since grazing sheep continue to be allowed in the proposed plan, there is no logical reason why packgoats should be banned as a way to protect bighorn sheep.”
The draft says, “FW-STND-SPEC-15: Maintain effective separation between domestic sheep and bighorn sheep on active grazing allotments. Effective separation is defined as spatial or temporal separation between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep. Tier 1 bighorn sheep herds with the greatest potential to contribute to population viability in the plan area are prioritized in managing for effective separation. Tier 2 herds, where they interact or have the potential to interact with Tier 1 herds, are also prioritized for managing for effective separation.”
Do you support the pack goat ban? Or should the Forest Service allow for their continued use?