Letter to the editor
It’s happening other places, too
April 24, 2014, Tahoe National Forest Tom Quinn, Supervising Officer, met with me and Quinten Youngblood, Sierraville District Ranger, and Leigh Seng and their NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) person at Nevada City, the headquarters for TNF. Quinten said he gave The Nature Conservancy my information regarding my Pass Creek allotment grazing permit because they had a “right to know” this information. I’m not sure they asked for my information under the “Freedom of Information Act,” but Quinten said they are the public and they have a right to know this information (brand, boundaries, home address).
Quinten said that I have no right to be there with my cows to graze my allotment. I said my father bought these two homesteads in 1936. Quinten said the land belongs to the “public” and I’m stopping their use of their land.
One-third of the TNF is privately owned. I lease land from Sierra Pacific Industries (a timber company) as part of my allotment. Since 1980 I have had the Pass Creek allotment. Quinten Youngblood made the statement June 14, 2013, at his office, that the Forest Service likes me, because I don’t do anything wrong, like trample the meadow by coming in with cows when the meadow is too wet, and I don’t overgraze.
I now believe the sole basis of giving information about my allotment to The Nature Conservancy people was so that they could drive my cows off my permit and get me in trouble; so that I would lose my grazing permit.
I asked to go to a sheep permit so that the livestock could be herded, but, according to Tom Quinn, NEPA would take eight years; so, no, I can’t do that.
My private property is under the Williamson Act, CA, Ag Preserve and the TPZ (Timber Preserve Zone). Sierra County Assessor Laura Marshall said I have to graze or lose the ag umbrella and pay something like $40,000 in taxes. Catch 22.
I’m still out cattle and unable to round up since last Sept. 1, 2013, my off date. My sister sold her meadow with my corrals to John “Mike” Smith, a surveyor from MHM in Marysville, CA, who tore out my corrals without notice, and I could not round up all of my cattle last September.
Even still, adding insult to injury, Forest Service today again (per phone call) threatened to send me a letter with 25 percent suspension of numbers for this season because I haven’t gotten the rest of last year’s cattle off the permit.
My father established those corrals in 1936 when he bought the property. I never had problems gathering my cattle in 33 years until the Forest Service gave The Nature Conservancy my boundary information for my permit and time of use and my corrals were torn out. We are, by Forest Service law, required to let the Forest Service know five days before we go on the allotment and five days before we leave the allotment.
This gives the Forest Service an opportunity to give this information to The Nature Conservancy and they can go out and drive our cows off our permit, and mess with us.
If this is supposed to be “multiple use,” why doesn’t the Forest Service let me graze my property and my allotment with cows or sheep?
In my opinion, the reason the Forest Service is now siding with The Nature Conservancy is to get rid of grazing in the Tahoe National Forest.
Forest Service is now, or should be, called the “U.S. Department of Recreation.” — Louise Ahart, Marysville, CA