Why Are Cows Grazing in the Parks?

Grazing on Public Lands

Have you been surprised to see cattle grazing along the trails at Taylor Mountain or North Sonoma Mountain? Sonoma County Regional Parks' Natural Resources Manager Melanie Parker explains in a guest editorial for The Press Democrat why grazing can benefit public parks and preserves.

Balanced Grazing Helps Sonoma County's Beauty Grow

January 28, 2016

What do soil carbon, wildflowers and raptors have in common? They benefit from well-managed grazing in our parks and open space preserves.

Cattle grazing at Taylor Mountain Regional ParkGrazing is one of those topics that can put a dinner table conversation among friends on edge. Everyone has an opinion. Grazing is good. Grazing is bad. Cows are undoing the planetary environment. Cows are the next salve for conservation.

The real story with grazing is that it’s complicated, and it is both a science and an art. As park managers, we are working hard to learn as much as we can about restoring and stewarding grassland ecosystems with grazing as one of our tools. When you see cows in a Sonoma County park or open space preserve, please know that they are there to get some work done. So what’s the work? 

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About the Author

Suzie Rodriguez is a Sonoma-based writer, editor, lifelong outdoors enthusiast and president of Bay Area Travel Writers.

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