Act Now to Protect Trinity Alps Wilderness from Damaging Livestock Grazing

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to re-authorize commercial livestock grazing on over 33,453 acres of the Six Rivers National Forest, mostly within the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area.  The grazing allotments are located east of the Hoopa Valley within the headwaters of Mill, Tish Tang and Horse Linto Creeks.  These Trinity River tributaries are designated as “Key Watersheds” meaning they are critical for salmon recovery.  This sensitive area contains wet meadows, lakes and streams that have been degraded, trampled and compacted by grazing for decades. 

The Trinity Summit Range Assessment includes an amendment to the Six Rivers forest plan that adds 225 acres to the grazing allotments at Water Dog Lakes within the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area.  In fact, over two-thirds of the allotments are within the wilderness.  The remaining portion is within Late Successional Reserves, which must be managed to maintain and restore old-growth forests and species that depend on older forests for survival. 

Monitoring by the U.S. Forest Service shows a long history of unsatisfactory and degraded conditions in the Trinity Summit Allotments.  In order to facilitate the continuation of damaging livestock grazing, the U.S. Forest Service is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement, an admission that the proposed reauthorization is expected to have significant impacts on this critical area. 

Science illustrates grazing has a long list of deleterious impacts on the landscape:

·         Competition with native species such as elk and deer for forage

·         Degradation of aquatic ecosystems negatively affecting water quality and harming salmon, frogs and salamanders

·         Damage and elimination of native plants and grasses

·         Soil erosion and compaction

·         Spread of E. coli bacteria

·         Spread of invasive and noxious weeds

·         Harm to rare bird species, such as Willow Flycatcher, that nest in riparian willow stands

·         Negative affects to recreational and wilderness values.

The Six Rivers National Forest contains over 250,000 acres that are available for grazing, which is no small amount of our public lands.  It is clear that stricter management as well as limiting and retiring some of these allotments, would benefit a multitude of public resources, such as clean water necessary for recovering salmon populations and wilderness values cherished by many recreationists in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. 

Please act now to protect the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

U.S. Forest Service, Six Rivers National Forest