GILPIN GRASSLANDS SAGA
Corrective Measures Urgently Needed
The Gilpin grasslands need Wildlife Management Area status quickly. Remember two other significant attempts to rescue this land base,
the 1972-1973 1945 acre land purchase and the mid-nineties Kootenay Boundary Commission On Resources and Environment were cast aside.
This is essential as the wild ungulate and livestock issue is only part of the total ecosystem management dilemma
The great biodiversity of plant and animal species has not been adequately documented and several, such as the badger, are on the
Rare or Endangered species list. There should be a joint cooperative program among wildlife, environmental, government and academic
interests to gather the missing ecosystem information. Then to incorporate biodiversity and endangered species concerns into planning
management and resource use on the Gilpin.
Unless such a cooperative program is achieved within the next few years, degradation to
the native grasslands and associated wildlife species and their habitats will continue to worsen.
Within the next decade the ecologically
unique Gilpin could become another weed-infested pasture devoid of the great diversity of plant and animal species and habitat types
that originally made it an ecological wonder.
Lost Opportunity Costs
What the Public, Societies and Politicians Can Do To Ensure Proper Management of the Gilpin Grasslands
Public individuals and their Naturalist, Environmental and Wildlife Societies should:
- Pressure the provincial government and natural resource agents to correct the livestock grazing problem and manage the Gilpin for
all its diverse values, and
- Encourage academic centers to conduct studies to document and periodically monitor all ecosystem components
and the effect of livestock and wildlife grazing on the grasslands
- Public/Government/Academic field trips and Knowledge Transfer meetings
should be held on the Gilpin and at nearby communities to make the public resource managers and politicians better informed on all
aspects of the land-use dilemma and to develop superior management plans and government legislation in the interests of all Gilpin’s
consumptive and non-consumptive values.
Houndstongue seeds with their Velcro-like surfaces find an easy ride and are widely dispersed by encrusted animals. This weed, like
many others that are rampant on the Gilpin, is inedible.
A spring adjacent to Morrissey Rd. that has been battered and denuded by heavy cattle use. Note cattle feces in foreground.
Creek bed degradation due to overuse by cattle
Barry Brandow update Nov 2008:
Motor Vehicle damage 2008
An American Grasslands study reports the following:
"The values of non consumptive recreation, biological and other ecological services
are rising relative to traditional consumptive uses of public lands. Lost quality of life, reduced recreation values, diminished wildlife
and game, degraded archeological resources, impaired watersheds and water quality and flammable forests that result from livestock
grazing all represent lost opportunities of the grazing program."
Economists estimate that livestock grazing on US public lands is
costing the public purse $16 or more for every $1 in revenue and that figure does not include the 'lost opportunity' costs.
rancher has 1220 AUM's (Animal Unit Months).
So the AUM cost ( $2.19 month in 2013 and frequently less) therefore the revenue from
cows on the Gilpin Grasslands is approximately $2671.
An AUM is the amount of dry forage required by one mature cow/calf on Crown land
for one month.