High Country… here we come!

It is that time of year again, where we haul (some herds) and trail others up to the high country.  What is the ‘high country’ you ask? The area/country that we graze in the summer. These lands are only accessible in the summer months due to the elevation.  Think high elevations, fresh mountain streams and fields of grass and wildflowers between mountain peaks.  We do run on National Forest Service permits, for which we lease from the National Forest Service.  We work closely with Forest Rangers to determine dates which we can go on these lands as well as come off, the number of sheep we will be running on each permit, areas that can be used as bed grounds as well as areas to place salt for the sheep. Grazing these lands provide a majority of benefits for the land and ecosystem as a whole. When plants are grazed, with proper management, it stimulates growth as well s the diversity of plant species. The newer growth contains more nutrients for animals grazing at a later date, such as wildlife.  Wildfire risk is reduced on grazed lands since the natural grasses and forage are not left long to dry up.  The animals’ hooves naturally aerate the ground to increase the ground’s ability to absorb moisture (similar to you aerating your lawn) and the droppings of the sheep increase the organic matter of the soil (hello natural fertilizer!). Other benefits include: control of invasive plant species, preserving open spaces, improving vegetation along stream banks and improving watershed health. Many of the lands that are currently grazed are not suitable for other enterprises, yet the forage grown on these lands can be used by livestock to produce high quality agricultural products (in our case, wool and lamb).  Cheers to moving to the high country and all the benefits that come with it to maintain the beautiful spaces across our wonderful state! 


Check out the video below to see a bird’s eye view of sheep right after being unloaded off the trucks.