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Utah’s latest land battle pits ranchers against not the feds but the state

Posted by   /  November 5, 2018  /  No Comments

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Cattle graze on Garfield County’s Aquarius Plateau in the Dixie National Forest. Citing the importance of livestock to Garfield’s culture, economy and heritage, county leaders passed a resolution to preserve grazing on state trust lands and are considering an ordinance that would obligate private property owners to accommodate historic cattle operations. /Brian Maffly/The Salt Lake Tribune


By Brian Maffly | Salt Lake City Tribune

Born in Garfield County on his grandfather’s birthday 87 years ago, James Robert Ott was named after the patriarch who was among the first to homestead near the Utah settlement of Cannonville, where the family continues to run cattle just north of what would become Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Ott, who goes by Bob, bought an old sheep permit on state trust lands on 519 acres at a place called Yellow Creek abutting his property, just south of his Garfield County town under Bryce Canyon’s pink cliffs. The Otts converted the permit to cattle and have kept their herds there ever since.

But much to the dismay of Garfield County leaders, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), a land-management agency that prioritizes raising revenue for public education above all other considerations, last month canceled the Otts’ grazing permit.


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