2014- The Taylor Grazing Act in Nevada

National History Day Contest Final Draft

 The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 in Nevada: Private Rights, Federal Intervention

Amelia Pease

Senior Division

Historical Paper


An Act to stop injury to the public grazing lands by preventing overgrazing and soil deterioration; to provide for their orderly use, improvement, and development; [and] to stabilize the livestock industry dependent upon the public range” (NRS 568.010)

In 1934 the United States was in the grips of the Great Depression. The drought stricken Great Plains were covered in ominous clouds of dust and much of the country’s original forestland cut down; economic turmoil and ecological awareness were sweeping the country. In the West, the deteriorating rangelands caused by overgrazing and poor land management had many ranchers and legislators calling for government intervention. The Taylor Grazing Act established federal responsibility to the over-foraged public range lands in the west, including Nevada. However, the bill carried with it much anxiety. The ranchers who used the public lands worried their rights would not be recognized and were apprehensive about how the federal government would regulate these lands, the last great unclaimed territories in the contiguous United States.


After the West was ceded to the United States following the Mexican-American War in 1848, the government wanted to encourage quick settlement of these western lands. They promised cheap land, and lots of it. Cattle ranchers were the first settlers to utilize the dry, inhospitable Nevada land, before the discovery of gold and silver. There were a large number of cattle on the range by the 1860’s, but sheep were not established in the West until the 1880’s (Rowley 9, 14). The early cattle ranchers claimed tracts of land serving as headquarters, but still depended largely on government lands to graze their cattle. The ranchers assumed customary ownership of the range they operated on, while at the same time maintaining a first come, first serve usage. This led to overcrowding as prospective ranchers and herders flooded in, hoping to take advantage of the high demand for beef, mutton, and wool from the mining booms in California and locally in Nevada. With rangeland conditions in decline by the 1880’s and forage limited, intense competition between cattle ranchers and sheepherders for the same resources triggered conflict and range anarchy.

As range resources declined, stockmen and their legislators called for government intervention. The Department of the Interior had been trying to pass a grazing bill since 1878, with no success (Georgetta, 202). In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt, conservationist and well-traveled in western states, assembled a team to assess the situation on the range and the potential need to bring government responsibility to western range management. In the final report, it was stated that “The general lack of control in the use of public grazing lands has resulted, naturally and inevitably, in overgrazing and the ruin of millions of acres of otherwise valuable grazing territory. Lands useful for grazing are losing their only capacity for productiveness, as, of course, they must when no legal control is exercised.” In addition, a survey was taken of 1,400 stockmen in the West, of whom 78 percent favored some kind of government responsibility for grazing control (Fleischner n.p.).

Range Issues

The first taste that the western stockmen had of government management, which influenced their reaction to the Taylor Grazing Act, was through the Forest Reserves. A provision of the General Land Law Revision Act of 1891 known as the Creative Act allowed the president to create these reserves from public land (Rowley, 4). In Nevada, these forest reserves were situated along the higher elevations of Nevada’s north-south running mountain ranges, where timber was present. Ranchers, and prominently sheepherders, relied on these mountain ranges for summer grazing (Wentworth 502). However when the Forest Reserves were created, grazing interests were not considered, as grazing’s detrimental impact was held to be against the purpose of the reserves. Arguments against allowing grazers on the reserves were that they damaged growing trees and their foraging loosened soil, hurting local watersheds (Rowley 27). Grazing was eventually opened in forest reserves with the use of permits, but stockmen were now more wary than ever of government interference.

There was minimal control on the Nevadan public range off of the ribbons of forest reserve lands; no permits, fees or jurisdiction prevented ranchers from using, and often exploiting, the range land. Many powerful cattle and sheep operations controlled or owned the “water rights” for miles of dusty hill and sage in any direction. Customary ‘law’ held that anyone who improved a water resource controlled it as their own property, whether it was the building of a trough for a spring, or the digging of a well (Merrill, 182). Nomadic sheepherders lived on the fringe of local law, moving from place to place and trespassing on other’s ‘land’ (Wentworth 504). However, even if ranchers or sheepherders held the local sources of water through customary use or land ownership, there was nothing to prevent roaming herdsmen or neighboring cattle ranchers from moving their sheep or cattle into the same area.

A sustainability concern was that the favored forage, native bunch grasses – slow growing perennials such as Indian Rice Grass- could not replenish fast enough to support the hungry appetites of the thousands of cattle and sheep that fed upon them. Annual grasses had been introduced, such as the invasive Cheat Grass that came from southwestern Asia around 1890 through contaminated feed (Pellant, 2). But not only were its minimal root systems ineffective at holding back erosion, it was not as palatable to livestock and outcompeted native grasses and shrubs in overgrazed or burned areas. Due to the early growing period and flammability, Cheatgrass increased the spread of fire in an environment which was normally fire resistant (Young 3). Some “cattle kings” and “sheep barons” grazed thousands of animals at a time and these livestock could quickly turn a landscape dominated by brush and grass into desolate acres of churned-up earth.

Various shocks and crises intensified the grazing problem. During World War I, the demand for sheep and cattle products rose, and then fell dramatically post-war. A Nevada state-wide grazing revenue of $22.1 million in 1928 dropped to $6.4 million in 1934 due to the stock market crash in October 1929 that led to the Great Depression (Elliot, 289). In 1932, a series of Nevadan banks closed, causing many Nevada stockmen to go bankrupt (Elliot, 286). A common reaction to the low prices caused by economic instability was that many stockmen increased the amount of animals on the range in order to stay in business, further overburdening the range and causing increased decline of the perennial native bunch grasses. Savage winter snows killed thousands of animals and a severe summer drought in 1934 made water and feed scarce (Shane, n.p.). Raising sheep and cattle was hard and full of risks, but it was a way of life for many Westerners.

The Taylor Grazing Act

Spurred by Secretary Ickes and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Henry Wallace, the Taylor Grazing Act was presented to Congress on January 5th, 1934 by Congressman Edward Taylor of Colorado (Georgetta, 228). The Taylor Grazing Act was an exact copy, word for word, of the previous Colton Bill of 1933 (except for a thirteenth paragraph, which would have allowed individual states to decline the act, and which had been removed at the urging of the Secretary Ickes) (Georgetta, 212). Although many supported the bill, the opposition was fierce from western ranchers and their legislators. Some westerners were concerned with state’s rights, and wanted the federal lands to be given to the states. Others were afraid that the Secretary of the Interior would hold too much unchecked power over the grazing land. Still others were outraged by this government meddling in the private rights of the people. Nevadan ranchers were deep-rooted in the discussions, as over 85 percent of Nevada’s land was federally owned at the time of the Taylor Grazing Act, and the state contained one-third of the public domain left in the continental United States. Farrington R. Carpenter, a Colorado rancher and later Director of Grazing, said, “Grazing in Nevada is of such transcending importance that whenever any grazing meetings are held in that State by the Division of Grazing, the legislature if in session adjourns to attend the grazing meeting, together with the Governor of the State” (Merrill, 182).

Even if a majority of ranchers supported the Taylor Grazing Act, those that opposed it were outspoken and loud, and were concerned with their rights and whether or not they would be recognized under this new law. Stockmen were already wary of bureaucratic control from their previous experience of regulation in Forest Reserve lands. Would some official far off in the east be able to control the amount of grazing permits distributed? Would existing rights be acknowledged? Western ranchers had specific concerns about whether or not there would be consistency in range access to water and in the new permits and fees that were to be put in place (Shane, n.p.). Western Congressmen were eventually able to pass amendments on the bill to insure that existing owners of permits would not be denied renewal and that customary practices on the range would remain, but other provisions were rejected.

It was known by most that something had to be done about the overgrazed, eroded condition of the range land, although it was not easily agreed upon how. President Roosevelt himself wrote two letters to support the passage of the bill, to say that he “favored the principle of the bill,” and that it “embodied a principle which had his hearty approval” (Georgetta, 216,225). The opponents seemed to accept that the bill was to be passed; the focus shifted to amendments to improve the bill rather than simply opposition. This was the famous “First Hundred Days” of Roosevelt’s presidency. When the President gave the word, it was done. Dust blown from the Great Plains hung, literally, in a great haze over the Capital, and the threat of erosion and America’s deteriorating landscapes hung with it (Clement, n.p.). On the 28th of June, 1934, President Roosevelt signed the Taylor Grazing Act into law (Buckman, 2).


Farrington R. Carpenter, appointed Director of the newly formed Grazing commission, said: “The act was passed on an unsuspecting west. Just how it got by is one of those miracles of legislation.” (Georgetta, 228). As soon as the law was passed, the Department of Interior hurried to write the “Rules and Regulations for Administration of the Public Range” in order to instate permits, establish grazing districts and otherwise define new laws (Georgetta, 229). However, when the finished manuscript was released, ranchers were outraged. Many of the rules would have put numerous sheep and cattle men out of work: The amount of animals that a stockman owned would be limited by the amount of land which they owned and water rights would not be considered property. But most terrifying of all, it seemed, was that the permit which would allow stockmen to stay in business would only be issued from year to year; at the end of each year the Secretary of the Interior would assess the situation on the range and decide how many permits would be renewed, and how much the fee would be (Georgetta, 229). The western stockmen were aroused at this new threat to their industry and livelihood.

The livestock men held meetings and sent a multitude of angry letters. Finally after receiving complaint after complaint, Secretary Ickes agreed to hold a conference to consider potential changes to the proposed rules. The conference was held in Denver, Colorado in February 1935 (Georgetta, 231). Statements were read, some of which were not very flattering, demanding that the President dismiss Ickes and replace him with someone who was familiar with the livestock industry in the West (Georgetta, 232). In the end, one change that the Secretary was willing to make was to provide the stockmen who owned land preference in the distribution of permits over those with no land such as nomadic herders who relied entirely on public lands for the grazing of their stock (Georgetta, 227).

Under Carpenter, the newly formed Division of Grazing began setting up grazing districts and forming grazing boards made up of local stockmen. They were to consist of sheep and cattle men, as well as one government representative, allowing control of the range to be informed through people experienced with local range conditions and geography (Shane, n. p.). This helped to alleviate fears over “bureaucratic” control, by putting considerable influence back in the hands of the people. Grazing district boundaries, encompassing areas of hundreds of thousands of acres, were submitted to local boards and designated, with Nevada being divided into five districts, and grazing permits were distributed (Shane, n.p.). Unavoidably, many herders and ranchers were not given permits and had to shut down, and with them thousands of sheep and cattle were taken off of grazing lands, including nomadic ranchers as the new law gave precedence to range users with land ownership (Georgetta, 227). Some stockmen marked this as an end of an era, and bitterly denounced the Taylor Grazing Act as unwanted, unnecessary government meddling, and the death of the grazing industry in the West. It certainly was the end of an era, but the beginning of a new and more sustainable grazing practice in the Western states.


In the long term, the Taylor Grazing Act achieved its goals. The ranching industry of Nevada was greatly stabilized; one rancher said during an interview in 1984, “During the Depression a lot of little outfits went out of business. We came in just as the times changed from the bad ones to better ones… Really, the (Taylor Grazing Act) helped us, you see… no little outfit could have operated without the help of the (Division of Grazing)”(Shane n.p.). The level of rangeland deterioration was greatly reduced compared to previous levels as the concentration of animals on the range lowered. Although friction continued between stockmen and the government, even ranchers who vehemently opposed the act say with grudging acknowledgment that the Taylor Grazing Act had lasting positive effects.

A broader need to conserve resources for economic recovery and ecological sustainability in the West and throughout the United States culminated in the Taylor Grazing Act. It provided for the West a transition from unregulated exploitation to shared rights and responsibilities between ranchers, stockmen and the common interest. Much concern was voiced over the passage of the bill and the taking away of rights from the people who used the public range, but in the end a compromise was met between stockmen and bureaucrats wishing to bring federal responsibility to federal lands. Although range use issues and conflicts continue to this day, the Taylor Grazing Act provided the foundation for ecologically and economically sustaining the rangelands and livelihoods of people in Nevada and the West.


Primary Resources


43 USC. Sec. 315-315r. 1934. Web.

The actual United States federal code section for the Taylor grazing act.


“Amendments to Taylor Grazing Act Opposed by Livestock Men’s Group Addition of New Taxes Disapproved.” Nevada State Journal, 24 January 1935: 3. Print.

This newspaper article was mostly taken up by a revision to several amendments of the Taylor Grazing Act, submitted by the Nevada State Cattle Association. It stated that the association did not approve of these amendments because they would attach fees to the grazing permits. It was important because it showed the opposition to taxes and regulation from the cattlemen.


Buckman, Thomas. The Taylor Grazing Act in Nevada. Bulletin 76. University of Nevada, Agriculture Extension Service: Reno, Feb. 15 1935. Print.

This bulletin was extremely helpful in my paper because it contained an informal account of the first grazing board meeting in Nevada, including an account of specific concerns that some of the Nevadan ranchers voiced.


“Colton Range Bill Opposed by G.W. Malone.” Nevada State Journal. 27 February, 1940. N.p. Microfilm.

A newspaper article written about an unfavorable testimony that the State Engineer, G.W. Malone, gave in Washington DC to the Colton Range Bill. It was significant because it gave insight into the attitude towards federal range management in Nevada, as well as several reasons to why Malone thought that the Taylor Grazing Act would not be beneficial in Nevada.


Georgetta, Clel. Golden Fleece in Nevada. Reno, Nevada: Venture Publishing Company, 1972. Print.

This primary source, a memoir/personal account of the passage of the Taylor Grazing Act in Nevada, was a complete and helpful, if slightly one-sided, narrative. I used multiple quotes and other references from this book, which helped to complete my understanding of one part of ranchers’ viewpoints as well as the only in depth account that I found of the political and legislative process of passing the Act in Congress.


“Grazing Program Well Supported is Claim of Ickes.” Reno Evening Gazette 6 August 1936: 1. Print.

In this article, Secretary Ickes reported that after an conference between ranchers from several states, himself and President Roosevelt, he felt that the ranchers were “heartily in favor” with the grazing program. It also mentioned that the ranchers from a Wyoming Stock Growers’ Association attacked the grazing plan, calling it an interference with states’ rights and ‘menacing government regimentation’. I thought this was an interesting contradiction that demonstrated some of the views of ranchers who didn’t want government interference.


Hadley, Caroline Joy, ed. The Red Meat Survivors: A Century of Cowboy Memories. Carson City, Nevada: Purple Coyote Corp, 2010. Print.

A collection of stories and personal memories from cowboys who lived during the Great Depression. It showed the hardship that these westerners faced and their determination, toughness, and “cowboy” culture. I consider this a primary source because it is the men and women who lived through this time period telling their life stories and experiences through words and pictures.


Nevada Revised Statutes. CHAPTER 568 – GRAZING AND RANGING. Web. Nevada Revised Statutes, n.d. <http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/>.

The Taylor Grazing Act Statutes in Nevada.


Rowley, William. Personal Interview. 10 May 2014.

Professor Rowley is a local historian who specializes in environmental history in the west, particularly the Taylor Grazing Act and related land use topics. He has written several books about land management in Nevada which directly connect to the Taylor Grazing Act. I got to talk to him about my topic and he made several suggestions about how I could further improve my paper, and further sources that I had missed.


Shane, Maxine. Taylor Grazing Act in Nevada: A Nevada Retrospection 1934-1984. Public Affairs, Nevada State Office, Bureau of Land Management, June 1984. Print. N. P.

This anniversary pamphlet described the role of the Taylor Grazing Act through a longer period of 50 years. It was useful as it contained interviews from ranchers on how the Taylor Grazing Act affected the livestock industry in Nevada, as well as how the grazing boards were formed. I consider this a primary source since it contains interviews from ranchers about the Taylor Grazing Act.

“Stockmen Draft Grazing Act Recommendations.” Nevada State Journal (Reno) 26 September 1934: 7. Print.

Several articles on the early planning stages of the grazing board in Nevada. It discussed several suggestions that the meeting would consider, and the goals that the meeting would have. It helped with the further understanding of my paper because it had information about the grazing boards.

Secondary Resources


Armstrong, Marcia. Understanding American Property Rights pt 5: Public Domain. Family Guardian. 1998. Web. Access 15 April, 2014. <http://famguardian.org/Publications/PropertyRights/tableoc5.html#graz9>.

An interesting source, it had edited passages of land laws, as well as statements from certain individuals such as Senator McCarran, which were compiled to explain rights which people have under these laws. It was useful because it had more information on the legislative process of passing the bill.


Black, Conrad. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom. New York, New York: PublicAffairs, 2003. Print.

The chapters on the depression years and FDR’s conservation background that led to his formation of the CCC, SCS and other conservation focused programs were particularly helpful. It also discussed the Conservation Movement and the national attitude towards the conserving of resources.


Carter, Vernon Gill and Tom Dale. Topsoil and Civilization. Revised ed. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1955. Print.

This book is a broad look at the relationship between different cultures (including the United States) and the land they used for farming and grazing domestic animals. A major focus was sustainability that certain cultures did, or did not, achieve, in using their land and how they attained it. It was important because of its comparison of different cultures’ land use to the United States’.


Casper Field Office. “The Taylor Grazing Act.” Bureau of Land Management, 13 January 2011. Web. Access 17 April 2014. <http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Casper/range/taylor.1.html>.

A page on the BLM website on their history, mentioning the history of grazing and the BLM’s goals for land management. It helped me understand different aspects of the Taylor Grazing Act, as well as a reference to later land management acts.


Charlet, David ed. Nevada Environmental Issues. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2002. Print.

This book was a collection of essays on various environmental issues in Nevada. It was important to my paper because it helped to increase my overall awareness of different environmental issues in Nevada with a more scientific, contemporary focus.


Clement, Lawrence Jr. “Taylor Grazing Act.” Encyclopedia of the Great Plains: University of Nebraska Lincoln, 2011. Web. Access April 15 2014. <http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.ag.071>.

This online “encyclopedia” had a short article on the Taylor Grazing Act, which had some different information, as it was from the perception of the Great Plains. I used this source, backed up by other sources, for a citation.


DeLong, Jeff. “Rebellion in the Sage”. Reno Gazette Journal 4 May 2014: 1A, 6A-8A. Print.

This newspaper article on recent conflicts in the “Sagebrush Rebellion” explores previous clashes that have culminated in standoffs in Nevada between ranchers and government officers. It offered a more current glimpse into the viewpoints of various ranchers as well as interviews with local historians and BLM officials.


Echeverria, Jeronima. Basque “Tramp Herders” on Forbidden Ground: Early Grazing Controversies in California’s National Reserves. Locus, Volume 4: 1991. Print.

This shorter piece was helpful because it focused on the Basque sheepherders (often labeled as “tramp” or “vagrant” in other sources), while other sources often looked on them from the outside. This was a group that many other sheepherders looked down upon as their practices harmed the range and this group was often blamed for the bad reputation that sheepherders had as a whole.


Elliot, Russell. History of Nevada. 2nd, Revised ed. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1987. Print.

A secondary source history book, this helped me to see a broader picture of grazing and politics as well as other industries during World War I. I also used this as reference and to confirm information from other books.


Fleischner, Thomas. Welfare Ranching: Land Held Hostage: A History of Livestock and Politics. publiclandsranching.org. National Public Lands Grazing Campaign. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. < http://www.publiclandsranching.org/htmlres/wr_history_politics.htm>.

This Website was comprehensive, as an overall history of land use, and as containing information from other primary sources and government reports. It was very important in the writing of my paper because it had information on land use and attitudes towards the land before the Taylor Grazing Act, as early as the thirteen colonies and much before.


Hage, Wayne. Storm Over Rangelands: Private Rights in Federal Lands. 3rd ed. Bellevue, Washington: Free Enterprise Press, 1994. Print.

This book provided insight on the situation in the west and what more conservative westerners and ranchers think and thought. I used a quote from this book.


History of Public Land Livestock Grazing. US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 17 July 2009. Web. Access 16 April 2014. <http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/prog/grazing/history_of_public.html>.

            This government website focused a lot on land use and land rights. It was helpful because it had a different perspective on the Taylor Grazing Act as a government website; it had a large section of the impacts of various land acts such as the Taylor Grazing Act and FLPMA which I found particularly useful.


Hulse, James W. Nevada’s Environmental Legacy: Progress or Plunder. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press, 2009. Print.

This book explored Nevada’s “Environmental Legacy” in a compressed, concise form, a good abstract of range history without going into too much detail. It helped me to have an unbiased synopsis of range history without worrying about rancher or government ties which would influence the view either way.


Kolvett, Renee and Victoria Ford. The Civilian Conservation Corps in Nevada: From Boys to Men. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press, 2006. Print.

This book is a secondary source but it also had many oral accounts. I used it to learn more about restoration work that the CCC did on the range under the Taylor Grazing Act, and the connection between the CCC and the Taylor Grazing Act.


Merrill, Karen. Public lands and political meaning: ranchers, the government, and the property between them. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. Google.com. E-book.

This E-book was a more political look at the Taylor Grazing Act, putting emphasis on the public lands and the ranchers’ rights to use them. It was important because it provided a different view of the act, and it also had quotes by various politicians of the time such as Harold Ickes and Nevada Governor McCarran about their views and positions, as well as evidence on the importance of the Act in Nevada.


Nardo, Don. Franklin D. Roosevelt: U.S. President. New York, New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996. Print. Great Achievers: Lives of the Physically Challenged. Print.

This book, although it focused on Roosevelt’s disability and him overcoming it, was nevertheless a compact and comprehensible biography compared to other books I read on his life. Coupled with understanding of his athletic, outdoors background and his struggle to overcome his disability it helped me to understand his love of outdoors and conservation during the New Deal.


Pellant, Mike. Cheatgrass: The Invader that won the West. Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State Office, Boise, Idaho. PDF.

I used this online government document to learn more about cheat grass for use in my paper, and how it outcompetes and is detrimental to local ecologies.


“Priority Rulings on Grazing Land are Upheld by Examiner.” Reno Evening Gazette. 27 September 1937. Pg 1. Print.

This newspaper article is on a man whose permit was denied because he had only been grazing on the public domain for two years prior to the passage of the Taylor Grazing Act. It was important to my paper because it demonstrated the power of the Department of the Interior in the distribution of permits, and the priority that certain ranchers did or didn’t get in receiving permits.


Rowley, William. U.S. Forest Service Grazing and Rangelands: A History. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1985. Print.

This book focuses on grazing history on the Forest Reserves (today, National Forests). This was not only helpful in my research about previous land management in Nevada; it also had information on the Taylor Grazing Act and the cattle-sheep wars. It was a wider, national look at the conflict between ranchers looking to protect their livelihood and the government’s efforts to bring the open range out of chaos. It was one of the most important sources I used, as it was extremely well researched, dependable and informative.
Starrs, Paul Francis. Home Ranch: Ranchers, the Federal Government, and the Partitioning of Western North American Rangeland. Dissertation. University of California, Berkeley, 1984. PDF (UNR Archive)

This dissertation focused on several different communities, one of them being Elko in north eastern Nevada. It was important for my paper because it talked about the role the Transcontinental Railroad had on agriculture (grazing) and Northern Nevada economies.


“Taylor Grazing Act.” Western Heritage Alliance, n.d. Web. Access April 16, 2014. <http://www.peopleforwesternheritage.com/PFWHTaylorGrazingAct.htm>.

This was the first copy of the actual act that I found, containing the code section which led me to other sources. Also it had a record of amendments to the act and their dates, as well as succeeding acts. It was important as I finally had the full text of the bill, as opposed to small segments I had seen quoted in books.

Welsh, Michael. Beyond Designed Capture: A Reanalysis of the Beginnings of Public Range Management, 1928-1938. EBSCO Publishing, 2002. Print.

In this article, about the grazing boards, the author was concerned with the power that the ranching interests had in range management. He talked about recent changes in the grazing boards (now ranchers are not the main part of the board, but also environmentalist groups and other users of the range). It was important for my paper to learn more about how the grazing boards were set up and the potential misuse of power within them.


Wentworth, Edward. America’s Sheep Trails: History: Personalities. Ames, Iowa: The Iowa State College Press, 1948. Print.

The title says it all. This large volume tells the story of sheep in early America through the anecdotes and “personalities” of sheep and cattle men, including two whole chapters set in the west about the cattle-sheep wars. It was important for my paper because it showed the sheep herders’ view in conflicts for land and rights to graze.


Young, James and Abbot Sparks. Cattle in the Cold Desert. Expanded ed. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press, 1985. Print.

Cattle in the Cold Desertis a thorough account of early western settlement, and the “pristine condition” of the grasslands and sagebrush environments of the intermountain area. The information on prior conditions in the sagebrush ecosystem, with no concentrations of large herbivores, and then the impact of cattle and sheep when they were introduced, was extremely important to understanding the effect of grazing on the range.

I am doing a National History Day project on the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) and I will be posting it here. Either a documentary or a historical paper, leaning towards the latter! This is definitely a new challenge for me!

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