Sheep Returning to Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park for Weed Control

Photo Credit: BLM

by BLM

Approximately 700 sheep will be arriving around mid-March at the Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park along the South Fork of the American River near Pilot Hill. The Bureau of Land Management Mother Lode Field Office utilize the sheep as an environmentally-friendly weed control measure.

“The sheep are very effective at controlling yellow starthistle, which is a nasty, invasive weed. They are able to eat the leaves and young plants, despite the spiky thorns on the branches,” says BLM Mother Lode Field Manager William Haigh. “The sheep are cost-effective and help the BLM meet our commitment to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive.”

The sheep at Cronan Ranch will be grazing in areas surrounded by temporary electric fences, but outdoor enthusiasts are advised to keep an eye out for the possibility of animals on the roads, trails and pathways. Cyclists should slow down and use caution to avoid frightening the sheep, and visitors should keep dogs and horses under control. The sheep will be used to control weeds at the recreation area until the end of August.

In California, robust yellow starthistle plants can grow to shoulder height and form massive, briar patches, which can block popular trails. Reducing invasive weeds helps native plants grow.

Cronan Ranch offers 12 miles of trails from gently-sloped terrain to challenging hills through oak woodlands and riverfront vistas for non-motorized recreational activities such as hiking, biking and horseback riding; fishing; bird watching and other outdoor recreation. Portions of the trail system borders private property, so please stay on designated routes. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset year round.

Public lands keep America not only beautiful, but also strong. For more information, please contact the BLM Mother Lode Field Office at 916-941-3101.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska.  The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.  The agency's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016 - more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior.  These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.