AZ/UT Strip Range Livestock Workshop and Tour - Addressing Controversies, Building Partnerships Since 1978.
Between the Grand Canyon and the Utah border lie five million acres of public land where, in the 1970s, ranchers and government agents clashed head-on over grazing rights and environmental impact.
"There was a lot of angst on both sides, especially the ranchers," recalls Bob Sandberg, who was with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the time.
He contacted UACE and asked for help. He sat down with Robin Grumbles, Mohave County Cooperative Extension Director and several others. They came up with a novel idea:
What if we brought everyone to the table for a science-based workshop on the issues of grazing livestock on public land to improve knowledge, promote understanding and start developing productive relationships?
Oh yeah, that'll work.
The Arizona Strip was wild-west rangeland where cattle ranchers and BLM agents shared only heated arguments and intense emotions.
Yet work it did. And still does 33 years later.
The Arizona/Utah Strip Range Livestock Workshop and Tour, introduced in 1978, was so successful it has continued every year since, reaching more than 7,000 participants. The two-day event brings ranchers, researchers, BLM agents, forest rangers, Cooperative Extension specialists, environmentalists and others together.
"The workshops really catapulted us into the new age," said Whit Bunting, BLM range management director. "It's that new information we're always looking for. It's certainly helped our range program."
Sandberg still serves on the workshop's planning committee. He said, "Rob Grumbles deserves the lion's share of the credit for getting this program going. If it hadn't been for him, we would not have the quality workshops and the cooperation we've enjoyed."