Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
in southern Utah is internationally famous for its
scenic beauty and recreational opportunities
. Partly because of this notoriety the Rock Creek/Mudholes Allotment within the monument has recently received more attention than nearly any other public lands grazing allotment in the West.
Following several years of drought and the ensuing degradation of the landscape, the BLM on August 18, 2000, informed the permittee, Mary Bulloch, that unless her cattle were removed from the allotment by the first of September the animals would be subject to impoundment. Negotiations in late August between Bulloch and Monument manager, Kate Canon, failed when Bulloch allegedly rejected an offer of assistance in removing her cattle. Bulloch allegedly further declared that her cattle would not leave the summer range before October 1st. Additional negotiations between Bulloch and agency personnel in early September culminated in postponing the agency’s removal deadline until September 15th. Although Bulloch removed some of her animals during September, many remained. Finally, on October 11th the BLM informed Bulloch that trespass fees had accrued for her remaining cattle and that they were subject to impoundment.
The BLM began removing Bulloch’s cattle on October 17th. Subsequent to removal, approximately fifty animals were trucked to a feedlot in Salina, UT, where they were to be auctioned. On November 7th Bulloch, along with fifteen friends, arrived at the feedlot. With the blessing of Sevier County Sheriff Phil Barney, himself a rancher, the impounded cattle were turned over to Bulloch, who presumably then sold them at undisclosed locations. More details of these events can be found in the November 26, 2000, edition of the Denver Post
Shortly thereafter, Mary Bulloch gained further notoriety when she pleaded guilty to class B misdemeanor retail theft as a result of her taking $120 worth of merchandise on December 15, 2000, from Honey’s Jubilee in Kanab, UT.
The BLM has assessed fines against Bulloch in excess of $65,000 for cattle trespass and impound costs. In addition, Bulloch’s branded cattle, mules and horses that eluded the October 2000 roundup have been accruing trespass fines at the rate of $20 per Animal Unit Month since September 2000. As of August 2002 BLM reported that there were at least twenty-two head of cattle on the allotment. The number of such animals remaining as of June 2003 is uncertain.
I toured the allotment with
of the Escalante Wilderness Project on August 10, 2002, at which time the following photographs were taken.