Tahoe National Forest grazing program in full swing | SierraSun.com

Tahoe National Forest grazing program in full swing

Special to the Sun

On any given day during grazing season, cattle and sheep amble across areas of the Tahoe National Forest, busy turning forage into food and fiber for people.

At the same time, the forest touts that the animals are supporting local, agriculture-based economies and traditional lifestyles. However, some visitors encountering livestock in the woods are not familiar with livestock behavior and conflicts can arise.

“Grazing management on the Tahoe National Forest is a collaborative effort involving landowners, land managers, permittees, universities, other agencies and the public,” said Karen Hayden, District Ranger for the Yuba River Ranger District on the Tahoe National Forest.

“Livestock grazing at an appropriate level is part of our mission. Anyone driving, hiking, mountain biking, or engaging in another recreational activity near grazing animals or herd dogs should use caution and be respectful of permittee property.”

Livestock can behave unpredictably, according to the release. It recommended folks keep calm, do not disturb or frighten the livestock or dogs, and give them a wide berth. Bikers are asked to get off and walk their bikes and hikers are recommended to slow down and walk away calmly.

Those who encounter livestock while driving are asked to slow down and allow livestock to move a safe distance away, and the Forest recommends people not “drive” livestock down roads in front of your vehicle, since this could push livestock onto dangerous roadways or increase work for permittees who work hard to keep livestock where they belong.

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Herd dogs are often used by ranchers to protect livestock from predators and unless provoked, they generally are not aggressive toward people. Try to avoid eye contact with herd dogs and retreat slowly, but not to turn your back.

Grazing permittees are charged with maintaining most range improvements such as fences, corrals, water troughs and gates. Should people encounter a closed gate while hiking, biking, or driving, be sure and close it after going through it.

For more information call Ayn Shlisky in Nevada City at 530-478-6227, or Brianne Boan in Sierraville at 530-994-3401. For more Tahoe National Forest information, go to http://www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe or on Twitter at twitter.com/Tahoe_NF and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TahoeNF.

Source: Tahoe National Forest.