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x Acknowledgments hiseminentbackground.HeandhismanyassociatesinNevada,andthe intermountain ranching states, were a pleasure to work with. My invaluable executive assistant over the last 47 years, Leta Lassetter, devotedoverayeartothecompilationofbackgrounddata,copyandeditingtoassistinthedevelopmentofthismanuscript .DonFickertandLaura JacobusmadesigniWcantcontributionstographicsandcopyediting. Russell E. Bidlack, editor of the Sparks Quarterly; Mrs. Grey Golden, former Texas State Archivist; and Mary Sparks Matthews, editor and publisher of Fourteen Frontier Families, added valuable inputs as did Leland SparksofSanFrancisco,California,andNancySparksLawrenceof Twin Falls, Idaho. The Matthews book, Fourteen Frontier Families, traces the Sparks and related families through three hundred years of their pioneering progress throughelevenstatesfollowingtheirarrivalonthiscontinentin1660as forefather generations to brothers John and Tom Sparks. OtherSparksfamilybackgroundwascontributedbyB.AbbottSparks Sr. and Van J. Sparks of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma (both great-nephews of John Sparks), as well as Estha Scoggins of Georgetown, Texas. Themanypersonalcontributionstothecompletionofthisworkwere inspiringandindispensable.IjoinDr.YounginhistributetoDr.Charles Peterson, and add my special appreciation to the endeavors of Sandy CroomsandherstaVattheUniversityofNevadaPressinbringingtolife this third printing (expanded edition) of Cattle in the Cold Desert. NewtonandLidaHarrell,formerlyof TwinFalls,Idaho,providedalivinglinkwithhistoricalcharactersinthebook .Newton,agraduateofthe University of Oregon, who spent his life “cowboying,” was a live-wire link to activities in the heydays of the Sparks/Harrell ranching empire. PhilEarlandGuyRochawereofinvaluableassistanceinobtainingand making available much of the material and photographs used in this manuscript. B. Abbott Sparks introduction On Cattle and Cold Deserts Allthingsoccurwithinalargercontext.Behindtheindividualeventsor circumstances is the grand mosaic of surrounding events—the geologic history, the human history, the environment. Thus, around the people and land of the Great Basin there is a hint, a Xavor, of events that have greater signiWcance when taken as a whole rather than as individual occurrences or circumstances. Against the backdrop of the cold desert’s sagebrush/grasslands is the pageant of manandhisherds.Itiseasyfromatwentieth-centuryperspectivetotry to discern the underlying “meaning of things,” in both a scientiWc and a historical sense, but recognizing those speciWc events as meaningful when they were under way would have taxed anyone’s intuition and intellect . Thus, it is doubtful that the early pioneers, ranchers, and sheep menrealizedthesigniWcanceofeventsastheywereactuallyhappening. This diYculty is perfectly understandable; even today we have no perspective when events are actually happening—when their place in the larger context has not yet become clear. However,aswetrytopointoutinthisbook,ifweareattentivewecan begin to gain a very useful sense of the larger context even while the events are in progress. We can do this by sensitizing our awareness to fragments of history and science that we frequently ignore. These fragments are like puzzle pieces that, when recognized and assembled, give an understanding of the greater meaning of things, the larger context. Thus, we have taken the disciplines of science and history with their individualeventsandcircumstances,placedtheminaspeciWcplacefor a speciWc time, and woven them together to create a larger view of the GreatBasin.Thechaptersalternatebetweenlandandman,butinasense they are inseparable, and that is the main thrust of this volume—the larger picture of man and his cattle in the cold desert. Another purpose of this volume is to provide perspective on the inXuenceofgrazinganimalsontheecologyofthesagebrush/grasslands. The scope of our coverage is designed to provide background information for those who earn their livelihood from grazing animals on sagebrush /grasslands, for professionals who manage such lands, and for individuals living in or outside the sagebrush/grasslands environment interested in the quality of life in this ecosystem. This volume traces the history of man and his herds and Xocks of domestic animals as they exploited the forage resources of a pristine environment.Wedonottelltheentirestory—onlytheintroductionand expansion period from roughly 1860 through the end of the nineteenth century. Essentially, this volume consists of a discussion of scientiWc principles and philosophies set in the context of historical events. It is not meant to be a biography of principal characters such as John Sparks and Jasper Harrell; however, it uses the life experiences of these and otherpioneerstoillustratehowman,theherdsman,interactedwiththe sagebrush/grasslands environment. The story of the exploitation of the grazing resources of the sagebrush /grasslands recapitulates what has happened over virtually the entire surface of the earth except for the bleakest Arctic wastes and densesttropicaljungles.ThediVerenceisthatthesagebrush/grasslands was one of the last great vegetation resources to be suddenly, radically, xii Introduction Introduction xiii Figure 1. Boundary of the Great Basin. From I. C. Russell, Geological History of Lake Lahontan (U.S. Geological Survey, 1885). and irrevocably changed by the introduction of domestic livestock. Becauseitisarelativelyrecentevent ,theprocessofthedevelopmentofthe livestock industry in the sagebrush/grasslands can be reconstructed with relative clarity. Environmental quality is very much in the eyes of the beholder. A major objective of this account is to provide perspective for decisions on the nature of environmental quality in the sagebrush/grasslands. It is diYcult for one to...


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