Grazing to continue on parts of Craters of the Moon


Bureau of Land Management

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WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced that livestock grazing will continue on BLM-managed portions of the Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho.  The decision demonstrates the Trump Administration’s effort to support traditional uses such as grazing on public lands while providing opportunities for recreation and promoting conservation.

“By working together with our stakeholders, we can strike a balance of various uses in this iconic national monument while also serving the greater community,” said BLM Acting Director Michael Nedd.  “Our multiple-use mission helps ensure that public lands—including Craters of the Moon—work for local communities and visitors alike.”

Craters of the Moon, which the BLM co-manages with the National Park Service, covers a total of approximately 750,000 federally managed acres and is known for its geologic features that includes exceptional volcanic landscapes.  Today’s decision satisfies a 2012 order of the U.S. District Court of Idaho to complete an amendment for the Monument plan that analyzes a no-grazing alternative and a reduced grazing alternative.

“We studied various alternatives, including ones that reduced grazing by three-quarters or one-half of current rates, or eliminated grazing altogether,” said Idaho BLM Twin Falls District Manager Michael Courtney.  “We found that we could manage sagebrush landscapes just as effectively with small adjustments to grazing levels that wouldn’t negatively impact the economy of the communities surrounding the Monument.”

The plan will have a minimal impact on the actual number of livestock allowed, which will be at about 99 percent of current levels.  The plan also establishes protections for sagebrush vegetation within the Monument that provides habitat for more than 100 wildlife species.

On July 13, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that a recent review of national monuments directed by President Donald J. Trump earlier this year, had concluded that no modifications should be made to the boundaries of Craters of the Moon.  

The Approved Plan Amendment and ROD are available at this link here.

The BLM manages 275,100 acres ­ more than one-third ­ of the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, which encompasses approximately 753,000 acres in Butte, Blaine, Minidoka, Lincoln and Power Counties in south-central Idaho. 

The National Park Service manages the balance of the unit, which was first established in 1924 to protect the unusual landscape, which Secretary Zinke recently described as “a living timeline of the geologic history of our land.”  In 2000, the Monument was expanded to include most of the Great Rift, the source of the lava flows that characterize the landscape.

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.