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Forest Service honors “excellent land stewards” in Oregon.

By Scott Staats

Three hundred cows and their calves grazed there a few weeks ago, but you couldn’t tell by looking at Sawtooth Creek. Sedges and other vegetation grew over a foot high in places along the riparian area. Moving up to the pasture where the cattle had gone, not a single cow could be seen along the stream. The first ones were found about 200 yards away drinking from troughs. Don’t streams draw cows like a magnet? How could this be?

The answer lies in the grazing strategy of the Hotchkiss Company Inc. in Burns, Ore. Owned by Mark and Susan Doverspike and Susan’s parents Richard and Vera Hotchkiss, their stewardship has earned the Forest Service’s highest national award for “Outstanding Achievement in Range Management.”

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Degraded riparian areas in the Sawtooth Creek Allotment in October 1976, below, are shown restored and vastly improved, above, in September 1997 due to changes in grazing and land management. Such stewardship has won the Hotchkiss Company, Inc. of Burns, Ore. much praise from the Forest Service. Photos courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
From left: Steven, Daniel, Mark and Donald Doverspike, Dick and Vera Hotchkiss, and Susan Doverspike on their Oregon ranch. Their achievements are aided by a strong working relationship and good communication with resource agents and federal agencies. There is trust from all parties.

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last page update: 04.03.05