Monday, August 6, 2007

Don't you love cows?

Stop reading right now if you are:
1) A cattle rancher
2) Related to, or dating, a cattle rancher
3) Studying to be a cattle rancher

Now that SE Idaho has finally received some moisture in the form of regular afternoon thundershowers I was anxious to get back on my favorite singletrack and experience the post-rain buffed-out nirvana known as Horseshoe Canyon.

Sunday afternoon I did get to experience brief sections of perfectly smooth between the countless landmines of fresh green cow poo. Then there were the momentum killing moments while trying to "Yee-Haw" groups of cows off of the trail. And then there were the times I had to screech to a hault,dismount, and open and close a gate that is there only for the purpose of keeping the cows in! Lastly, I was able to relive my love for cows after the ride as I washed my bike, Sidis, and Camelbak which were all tainted by cow poo. Any one of these occurences is tolerable but Sunday's short ride was full of it...literally.

Teton Valley, ID has a limited number of trails and all of the good MTB trails get invaded by cows this time of year. I hate sharing the trails with cows and I realize it is selfish. In addition to the obvious cow poo, they erode trails, destroy man-made water bars, and compete for food with deer, moose, and elk.

If I understand the Federal Grazing Fee correctly, a rancher can turn 100 cows loose in the National Forest for $135 per month. You can barely feed two large dogs for $135 per month! What a business model! Am I wrong to think that if you want to be in the cattle business you should be able to afford to feed them on your own land?

Ok, I'm done ranting.


Unknown said...

Ahh, yes, and we taxpayers espcially love subsidizing Federal Grazing to the tune of $500 million to $1 billion annually. This is an issue that will be hitting the fan (er, camelbaks?) more and more as the population explodes while open spaces decrease. Plus, don't forget about sheep and their aggressive guard dogs, which are increasing in numbers in order to ward off the re-introduced wolves. It's a mess, in more ways than one. Let's hope (& vote) for change, but in the meantime we'll just keep riding and washing ;-)

- Rick

Dave said...

Ah, the persistence of the myth of the cowboy.

Ed said...

In answer to your question, yes! The perfectly cooked tenderloin I had on Sunday was delicious :-)


Dave said...

It is not that I am anti-beef. I love a big ole' cheeseburger, steak fajitas, or a filet from time to time. Selfishly, I just don't want to share the trails with cows. :)

Dave said...

Keep the cows in places like the midwest, where you only need .5 acres per head instead of the 120+ you need in places like Utah.

Or we could just eliminate cows in favor of bison.

D.P. said...

Bison taste better but they're harder to ride.

Dave said...

They're also better at goring tourists.

Mmmmm, bison burgers!

Dave said...

As a matter of fact, I will be grilling some yummy bison burgers tonight. Mmmmm.