Horse Riding & Camping

Weed Free Forage

U.S. Forest Service Requires the Use of Noxious Weed-Free Hay.

The Forest Service will requires all hay, straw or mulch used on National Forest System lands in Colorado and Wyoming to be certified as noxious weed-free.  This requirement will affect persons who use pack and saddle stock, outfitters, ranchers with grazing permits, ski areas and certain contractors.

Some hay and straw contains harmful weed seeds that can be introduced in to vulnerable National Forest ecosystems.  Noxious weeds like Leafy Spurge, Spotted Knapweed, Musk Thistle, Purple Loosestrife and others are alien to the United States and consequently have no natural enemies to keep their populations in balance.  They displace native vegetation and severely reduce the productivity and health of natural resources.  Water quality, wildlife habitat, forage production and recreational opportunities are negatively impacted by the spread of noxious weeds.  An estimated six million acres of National Forest already contain these harmful weeds and they are spreading to another ten percent of lands yearly.

Rocky Mountain Regional Forester, Elizabeth Estill, decided to implement this requirement as one method of controlling noxious weeds.  “We have been assigned the responsibility to care for the National Forest for the American people,” stated Estill.  “It would be irresponsible to ignore this problem.  To prevent further spread of these noxious weeds, I have decided to alter our traditional way of doing business and allow only certified hay and straw.   Processed pellets and grains will continue to be allowed.”

For more information:  Colorado Department of Agriculture – Weed Free Forage