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Re: Spam:****, Re: [RC] Trails and cows - Nancy Sturm

We've lived on the same small farm since 1964.  In addition to farmable
land, we own 13 acres of timber that adjoins miles and miles of BLM.  We
have never had cattle on any of that land, nor has the BLM, but the deer
have made trails that look like a network of hiking trails.  It's amazing.
When the deer population is up, it's practically a super highway up there.

Nancy Sturm
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Barbara McCrary" <bigcreekranch@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Ann Blankenship" <annie@xxxxxxxxxxxx>; <ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>;
<Sheila_Larsen@xxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 9:16 AM
Subject: Spam:****, Re: [RC] Trails and cows


We graze cattle on our ranch, and yes, they do create traverse trails
across
hillsides, but not many.  I wonder if it might have been sheep that caused
the many parallel trails that you are referring to, the ones I have seen
in
the hills NE of San Francisco while traveling I-80.  Even then, the trails
act as terraces that help prevent erosion.  The only time I've seen large
land-slips was during a winter that was so wet the soil could no longer
hold
on the rocky underlayment.  That would have happened whether there had
been
grazing or not.

I have recently noticed on our ranch one particular trail that our cows
used
for years.  We used it on one of the rides we manage some years ago.  I
remember flagging it with short stakes with flagging tied to them.  By the
time the first rider came along, the flags were gone...eaten by the cows.
Recently, I observed that the trail is no longer used and is covered with
thick grass.  The cows have changed routes and are now using a trail
farther
up the side of the hill.  Cows are very habit-oriented and use one trail
over and over, but my experience shows that they do change trails
occasionally.

An interesting study by a former university student in our county showed
that grazed land is plentiful in wildflowers.  This student was rabidly
anti-grazing when he started at the university.  Over the years he did
lots
of studies and discovered that on the university property, once a cattle
ranch, now just left alone, wildflowers were disappearing.  He was one of
the students who had pushed for eliminating grazing on the university
fields.  Our pasture, continuously grazed for probably 200 years, has
abundant wildflowers.  On a neighboring pasture, not so consistently
grazed
and managed, often left to its natural devices, wildflowers were overtaken
by brush.

I know that grazing, if done prudently, is beneficial to grasses and
wildflowers.  No rancher, who uses and loves his own land is deliberately
going to destroy it.  That makes no sense at all, since it is his
livelihood
that is at stake, and a destroyed land will not support his cattle, year
after year.  I'm a great believer in the philosophy that a knowledgeable
rancher is the best steward of his land.

Barbara


----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Sheila_Larsen@xxxxxxx>
To: "Ann Blankenship" <annie@xxxxxxxxxxxx>; <ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 8:46 AM
Subject: RE: [RC] Trails and cows


Cows can and do cause damage and one can see it in places like the bay
area
where you have "corduroy hills" from where the cows go back and forth
across the steep hills.

I do want to get back to the cow issue though because I want to be clear
that I believe that cows as grazers are a very useful tool in the
management of open space, it just all depends on responsible grazing.



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Information, Policy, Disclaimer: http://www.endurance.net/Ridecamp
Subscribe/Unsubscribe http://www.endurance.net/ridecamp/logon.asp

Ride Long and Ride Safe!!

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Replies
RE: [RC] Trails and cows, Sheila_Larsen
Re: [RC] Trails and cows, Barbara McCrary