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CUT IN GRAZING ALLOTMENTS LIKELY TO STAND, FOREST SERVICE SAYS

A Forest Service official says plans to cut livestock grazing allotments on the Dixie National Forest likely will stand, despite opposition from southern Utah ranchers.

Under the plan, grazing on the forest would be reduced by up to 17 percent on several parcels.Responding to complaints from local cattle interests, the Iron County Commission has written regional forester Hugh Thompson to express its displeasure with the plan.

Forest Service spokesman Ron Wilson said the commission letter received last month surprised Forest Service officials, since area cattlemen had been involved in every phase of DNF management planning.

"We petitioned by letter public comment on this, and then we developed the issues," Wilson said at a recent commission meeting. "We want you to understand that the livestock permittees were involved in this process from the very beginning."

Wilson said cattlemen have filed a formal appeal to the regional forester, but he added that if the DNF assessment has been made properly, there is little chance the plan will be changed.

"We've put more public input and effort into this than anything we've ever done," Wilson said. "Based on all the information, I think this is a good, solid decision for managing land."