Goat Grazing in Open Space Areas

July 13, 2020

Goats to Graze Open Space for Weed Management and Wildfire Safety
4 Leaf Ranch to help with Basin Recreation vegetation management

Back by popular demand, goats will begin grazing on two of Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District’s (“Basin Recreation”) properties in efforts to manage vegetation, mitigate weeds and, new this year, reduce wildfire risk.

Goat grazing is an efficient and cost-effective way of removing weeds and potential wildfire fuel from a specific area. The goats, to arrive the week of July 13, are expected to munch their way through two acres a day, clearing unwanted weedy plants from the grassy meadows of Willow Creek and potentially combustible vegetation from Toll Canyons dedicated fire egress area.

The natural process is a sustainable solution for vegetation management and defensible space creation, which are both efforts that traditionally require extensive personnel and resource allocation. The goats browse around, eating shrubs, weeds, tall grasses, and non-native, invasive plants. Goat grazing is gentle on the land, not only reducing fuel for wildfire but restoring native grasslands and lessening the need for traditional herbicide treatments. Basin Recreation successful conducted a similar goat grazing pilot project in 2019.

Basin Recreation will be working again this year with 4 Leaf Ranch to orchestrate the grazing operation. While 4 Leaf Ranch uses low-voltage electric fencing designed for small livestock to section off targeted land, the herders rely heavily on professionally trained herding dogs to keep the goats on track. The dogs also function as guards against predatory animals. 4 Leaf Ranch’s staff oversees the operation, continually monitoring the health and safety of the animals.

Both treatment areas will remain open to the public during the grazing operations. Patrons recreating in the areas with pets must comply with leash laws, physically containing dog(s) for their safety and the safety of the goats and herding dog onsite. Please take some time to come observe these amazing creatures at work.

About Basin Recreation: Established in 1986, Basin Recreation’s mission is “to enhance life” by connecting the community through recreation. To that end, the District owns and manages over 2,300 acres of open space, has built and/or maintains over 170 miles of trails and operates an 87,000 square foot indoor fieldhouse facility. Additionally, the District manages several outdoor park facilities and popular recreation programs, fitness classes, camps, and community events.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please call Open Space Management Supervisor, Jessica Kirby at (435) 649-1564 ext. 26 or email jessica@basinrecreation.org.