We are a community-based organization whose founding purpose is to represent and advocate for the interests of concerned neighbors of the Mogollon Rim who seek to preserve and protect the scenic and natural beauty, fish and wildlife, ecological, and other natural resource values of the Mogollon Rim area, particularly in its public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
Our main goal is to preserve the health of these lands and streams under the Mogollon Rim for present and future hunters, fishermen, campers and recreationists consistent with the Tonto National Forest Plan. We ourselves are hunters and fishermen, and campers.
The U.S. Forest Service has recently approved reopening a pasture (Colcord/Turkey Peak) that has been closed to grazing since 1979 and increasing the number of Cattle the Bar X Ranch is permitted to graze in all of its pastures from the previously permitted 130, to an unsustainable (per previous Forest Service studies) 552 head yearlong (not including calves).
The previous Forest Services studies (downloadable on this website) showed 468 head of cattle (not including calves) had severely degraded forest resources including Fish and Wildlife habitat. Some of the Forest Service findings were:
1. Extreme overuse of grass and browse on the Bar X... severely damaged habitat for wildlife resource;
2. Severely depleted not only the range resource, but wildlife
habitat, soils and watershed quality;
3. Severely denuded riparian areas and adversely affected fisheries.
4. Excessive grazing by livestock eliminated cool season grass species in the woodland zone.
5. Water shed conditions were deteriorated throughout the woodland zone.
6. Wildlife habitat was damaged significantly by removal of herbaceous plant cover and often by direct livestock/wildlife competition for food.
7. Deer and cattle were in direct competition for browse which was especially evident in the pine type.
In 2018 (without conducting any evaluations as contemplated in its 1985 Allotment Management Plan and as required by law), the Forest Service attempted to allow Bar X cattle into the closed pasture, which prompted a lawsuit by NOMR who was represented by Advocates for the West to force the Forest Service to comply with existing laws. That lawsuit was settled.
The US Forest Service has since completed a rushed Environmental Assessment (EA) and approved a Finding of No Significant Impact.
It is NOMR's position that the increase of cattle permitted year long on the Bar X allotments as well as the reopening of pastures that have been closed to grazing for 40 years are entirely contrary to the Tonto National Forest Plan which for Area 5D states the primary emphasis is to be on intensive, sustained yield timber management, timber resource protection, creation of wildlife habitat diversity, increased populations of emphasis harvest species, and recreation opportunity. It is NOMRs position that the Forest Service did not take the "hard look" required before taking this action.
The grazing of 550 head-year-long, more than the Forest Services own studies showed devastated the resources in the 1970s is shockingly irresponsible and contrary to the Forest Service's obligation as the land's steward, especially in light of changes in land use over time, climate change, and the long term drought that Arizona has been in. The forests will suffer as much if not more if the proposed plan in the 2019 PEA is put in place on this allotment.
Many people from the Phoenix area enjoy camping in the Rim area. During mid-summer, the designated campgrounds are all full and even more folks end up camping in Tonto National Forest lands. It would be during this heavy use period that the Forest Service will allow the Bar X cattle in. The Phoenix area has nearly doubled in population from the time the Tonto Plan was adopted in 1985, and is projected to grow from 4.3 million (2016) to 6.3 million by 2030. This will only increase pressure for recreational opportunities. The introduction of cattle in the closed Colcord pasture will degrade already "at-risk" water quality, compete directly with wildlife for limited forage, and negatively impact those who camp, hike, fish or enjoy wilderness experiences.
NOMR files its Motion for Summary Judgment on October 2, 2020 requesting the Court to find that the Forest Service violated Federal Law in its environmental assessment and requests the Court to order a full environmental impact statement. The motion and supporting documents can be found on the document page.