Cronan Ranch Trailhead parking area to temporarily close for 700 weed-eating sheep

Space needed to unload animals for invasive species management


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Mother Lode Field Office

Media Contact:

Sheep at Cronan Ranch. BLM photo

EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. – A flock of nearly 700 sheep will arrive at the Bureau of Land Management’s Cronan Ranch Trailhead near Pilot Hill on Tuesday, May 11, to start their summer of grazing on troublesome yellow starthistle and medusahead plants. As a result, the parking area will be closed that day to allow room for unloading the animals and moving them to the recreation area.

Visitors wanting access to the recreation area on May 11 should use the parking areas at the nearby Magnolia Ranch for horseback riding and Greenwood Creek trailhead for hiking and biking. It is recommended visitors arrive early to find parking and have an alternate plan in case parking areas are full.

“This is the sixth year that we have used sheep to control yellow starthistle and medusahead, both invasive weeds, that crowd out native plants and reduce the diversity of vegetation,” said Elizabeth Meyer-Shields, manager of the BLM Mother Lode Field Office. “Our monitoring has shown that carefully managed sheep grazing has dramatically reduced weed thatch and yellow starthistle.”

A sheep herder will manage the flock, moving them across 900 acres with assistance from herding dogs and a livestock protection dog. The sheep will be removed at the end of August.

The Cronan Ranch Trailhead provides access to 12 miles of trails for non-motorized uses including hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, bird watching and other recreation. There is a wide variety of terrain to explore including gentle slopes, challenging hill climbs, oak woodlands and gentle riverfront trails. Cronan Ranch connects to the American River Trail Corridor. More information is available at

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.