The oldest active cattle drive in Wyoming is under threat. Several environmental groups have sued the Forest Service and Fish & Wildlife Service in order to halt grazing on National Forest land, seeking to destroy a historic cattle drive that has operated since the 19th century. Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) filed a motion to intervene in the case today in order to defend the rights of American ranchers to access federal land as they have for generations, and to protect the legacy of the people who built the West.

MSLF filed the motion in the case Western Watersheds Project et al. v. Bernhardt et al. in the Federal District Court of Washington, D.C.

The historic cattle drive in question, known as the Upper Green River Drift, is a living connection to the West’s ranching history. The route and manner of the cattle drive are largely unchanged since the 1800’s, and it is operated by the descendants of the families who homesteaded the area and began the cattle drive in the 19th century. Because it is so unique, the Upper Green River Drift is listed as a “traditional cultural property” on the National Register of Historic Places—the first ranching-related entity to be so recognized.

Against all evidence of this long history, environmentalist groups involved in the lawsuit have falsely claimed that these grazing practices, which have been practiced soundly for well over a century, will harm grizzly bear populations in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

In reality, grizzly populations in the region have recovered to the extent that Fish & Wildlife Service officials have twice recommended that the Greater Yellowstone Grizzly be removed from the endangered species list, most recently in 2017. And there is no evidence that the Upper Green River Drift cattle drive harms grizzly populations.

MSLF represents the Upper Green River Cattle Association and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association as well as several family ranches: The Price Cattle Ranch, Murdock Land & Livestock Co., and Sommers Ranch, LLC.  The “land ethic” is a part of this historic way of life. For instance, the Sommers Ranch won the Leopold Conservation Award in 2012 for their remarkable stewardship of Wyoming’s Upper Green River Valley.

“These families have cared for the land far longer and far better than any agency or activist has,” said Brian Gregg, MSLF’s lead attorney on the case. “The Green River Drift provides 124 years of evidence that ranchers are the real conservationists.”

If you’re curious about what the Green River Drift is, a documentary was made on it last summer. You can find more information at www.thedriftdocumentary.com and watch the trailer below.

 

 

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Mountain States Legal Foundation is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are located outside Denver, Colorado.

14 thoughts on “Lawsuit Threatens Ranching Families and Century-Old Cattle Drive

  1. This is crap, western water sheds is an out of state funded organization trying to steal water for other states. Using a recovered species along with his canine friends to drive another wedge into the cattle industry. If you dont live there #coexist, they were there first. Go back to the west coast and burn up some more forests there wit you new reglations.

  2. We need to quit calling these groups environmentalists, they are litigation activists doing it for the money from EAJA. They don’t care for the environment nor those of us who are actually stewarding it.

    • Totally right on – it’s all about the $$ for many of the far left groups – and misinformation. Just like it is for the far right groups. Very difficult for common sense and good management to prevail against zealots.

    • You nailed it. Some small group of lawyers are behind 87% of the environment nut cases. They need to be treated like the varmints they are. As far as the EAJA goes it needs to be gone.

  3. grizzly bear are not endangered and never were.

    If these people want to see them conveniently as others have the term is ZOO that fulfills desire rather then photos’ of bear in my yard.

  4. Tired, so tired of ignorant, book”smart” morons trying to tell real life, hard working, people how to live. The ranchers and farmers are more in tune with “Mother Nature” than these environmental freaks. They need to stay in their little apt back East in their nasty cities.
    LONG LIVE COWBOYS!

  5. I find myself reflecting on the role of environmentalists throughout my lifetime. In that span of time there has been the "Spotted Owl Fiasco", the "Reintroduction of Wolves to the West Debacle", the Closing of Roads Leading into Public Lands, and the Subsequent Cessation of Timber Sales in Many Parts of the West Charade", and now this. In all of these cases there is a common thread: The Litigation Activists who instigate these legal battles have no accountability! After they win their day in court, they are on to their next "cause", they don’t have to live with the aftermath of the activism! They don’t have to watch the Western Timber Industry take a hit they have never recovered from! They don’t have to watch entire populations of Deer, Elk, Sheep, Cattle and other animals that are the Wolf’s food choice, decimated in some areas beyond recovery! We all pay a price for their actions! Higher timber prices equates to higher building costs, which elevates the cost of building a home in many cases. Now they’re taking on the very heart of the West: Agribusiness! As the chaos of the Covid19 Corona Virus Pandemic into the equation, beef prices are predicted to soar. With the present burden on the Western Cattlemen, it’s already a wonder they’ve survived this long. Now along comes a cabal of Litigation Activists set on destroying a centuries old tradition and the very way of life for the hard working men and women who bring beef to the table! So, Litigation Activists: you better take your time masticating that delicious Prime Rib Dinner in front of you. The next one, if you were to win an idiotic case like this, may cost you twice as much! That is if it will even be available! This recent Pandemic should humble us all equally! When will we ever learn from past history? "If we fail to learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it." -Ralph Waldo Emerson-

  6. How can grizzlies be endangered when they and their wolf friends get to eat calves all summer long and the Feds pay for thief buffet?

  7. these clueless people that like to boost about their left environmental position at their posh cocktail parties might get a little worried real soon when they go to order their $80 steak and there aren’t any.

    Long live Cowboys!

  8. So sick of these groups that obtain grants just to destroy lively hoods, they’re not from here! The grizzly bears & wolves are thriving, they need to be delisted! The only being destroyed is over reach by these moneyed up idiots! I would really love to see wolves, prairie dogs & grizzly bears in central park, the ozark mountains, pebble beach, & any where in the eastern states, they can quit shoving their agenda down our throats that live here! People are starving in America but they’d rather save an animal that would eat them, their kids & dogs rather than a human life! No more grant money to hire lawyers & sue for something they know absolutely nothing about! They should be fined heavily for trying! Big city folks polluting the world & telling country people how to live! Fed up & furious with these arrogant pushy people!

  9. If it wasn’t for cowboys we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for beef we wouldn’t be eating it why are you worried about cows ruining the environment when the only ones ruining the environment are you stupid activist, cowboy culture is history and it’s going to be here for a lot longer than some activists trying to save a plant that he’s never even seen because it doesn’t grow in the city on concrete, cowboy up or go sit in the truck

  10. The funding for the operations of environmental groups comes from taxpayer money, I believe they grants funds to their operations. I would look no further than Colorado and their might be funding for water devouring to Denver. These people will not stop at any loop hole even historical preservation to destroy grazing land and the management practices to preserve it; a Leopold Conservation Award winner. This speaks highly to grazing management practices employed to get on the radar of this association. Shut down the supposed environmental organization and stop granting money for their operational expenses, need to preserve these cattle operations and their stewardship of the land.

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