Range Management

Cattle in ERA MeadowCattle grazing in the Kettle Crest mounatain rangeEarly summer in Smackout MeadowsGettin’ a drink..Midnight Water Development in the Kettle Crest mountain rangePermittees moving cattleTransitory rangelands on the Quartz AllotmentDriving cattle to the Forest


The Forest Service has undergone many changes in its management of rangelands. In the early 1800s, free forage on unclaimed public domain lands allowed the building of cattle and sheep empires. The ranges soon became over-grazed, overstocked, and overcrowded. Congress stepped in the early 1900s and designated the Forest Service as the pioneer grazing control agency. By 1906 to 1907, the Forest Service had established its system of range regulation. This includes permits, limits on herd size, grazing seasons, allotments, and grazing fees.

Livestock grazing is but one of the approved uses of National Forest lands.  There is Congressional intent, provided through multiple laws, to allow livestock grazing on suitable lands where it is consistent with multiple use goals and objectives.  It is also Forest Service policy to  make forage available to qualified livestock operators from lands suitable for grazing consistent with land management plans.

Livestock grazing on lands of the Colville National Forest has changed dramatically over the past century. Prior to the Forest’s establishment, grazing was largely unregulated with mostly cattle and sheep grazing the rangelands. The Colville National Forest was created as a National Forest Reserve in 1907 and records indicate that the first grazing permit was issued in 1911.  Relatively large numbers of sheep and cattle grazed the Colville National Forest during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s with cattle utilizing the lower elevations and sheep grazing the higher elevations, especially in the Kettle Crest mountain range.  During the 1950s, the majority of sheep grazing ceased on the Forest, and today almost all permitted grazing is for cattle with only one sheep allotment remaining.

Current Direction

Today, the Forest Service concentrates its efforts on managing the vegetation resources across the range landscape to serve a multitude of resource needs. Rangeland management specialists are working to provide such things as habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, clean water, and sustainable grazing and browsing. They inventory, classify, and monitor rangeland conditions to maintain or improve rangeland health. When they identify unhealthy rangelands, they strive to restore rangeland ecosystem functions. Forest Service rangeland management includes a whole host of partners, public and private, working together to make sure our rangelands are healthy and functioning properly.

A few acronyms you may come across on the links below:

  • AMP - Allotment Management Plan
  • AOI - Annual Operating Instructions

Aladdin FONSI

Range AMP

Range TERM Grazing Permits

Range Allotment AOI