Temporary Area Closure for Unauthorized Livestock Gathering Operations

Release Date: Nov 10, 2021

Silver City, NM – Nov. 10, 2021The Gila National Forest has temporarily closed an area that includes portions of the Wilderness, Glenwood and Silver City ranger districts during operations to remove unauthorized and unbranded cattle from the forest. The purpose of the closure is to minimize public exposure to the potentially hazardous conditions associated with the capture and removal of the cattle in an area that is frequently used by recreational visitors. The closure is currently in effect and will last until Nov. 30, 2021.

The current removal operation is part of a decades-long effort to protect natural resources and stem the spread of unauthorized cattle that have been in the removal area since the 1970s. Unmanaged cattle cause long-term damage to water quality, riparian ecosystem conditions, and habitat for threatened and endangered species. Since 1994, the USDA Forest Service has removed over 640 of the unauthorized and unbranded cattle from the Gila National Forest.

In September 2021, the Forest Service awarded a contract to gather the unauthorized livestock from the removal area on the Gila National Forest and deliver them to the livestock auction in Belen, New Mexico. The current contract is for the removal of an estimated 50 cattle, to be completed by September 2022.

View the closure order and closure area map.

For more information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/gila or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.