Animals grazing helps reduce fire fuels in the parklands and maintain or improve habitat conditions for plants and wildlife. However, this comes with some trade-offs for our visitors. In the rainy season, the passage of cattle can cause damage to sections of trail, making the ground muddy, pocked, and unpleasant to walk through. Like all animals, cows produce manure, so visitors must watch their step.
Cattle are large animals but are not aggressive by nature. However, if aggravated or threatened, cattle can respond to defend calves or themselves, often in response to off-leash dogs. Dogs are members of the genus Canis, the same genus as wolves and coyotes, natural predators to livestock. Use common sense around cattle and remember the following:
- Dogs, or other animals, must be securely leashed and under control in any area where grazing animals are present.
- Protect yourself, your pets, and the livestock. Do not let your pets chase or harass livestock.
- If cattle are blocking the trail, approach them slowly, speak normally, and allow them to move away.
- Do not attempt to touch livestock. Do not get between a mother cow and young calves. Be EXTRA careful during the calving season.
- If you see a stray calf, leave it alone, the cow is often feeding or watering nearby and will return.
- If you encounter a cow that is acting in a threatening manner, or appears to be injured, sick or dead, please note the location, the color of the animal, the ear tag number, and report it to the park staff.
- All about Grazing
- Grazing Animals in the Parks (PDF)
- Sharing the Land with Livestock (PDF)
- Understanding Working Rangelands: Sharing Open Space -- What to Expect from Grazing Livestock. U of CA Agriculture and Natural Resources ANR publication 8516 (PDF)
Safety in the Parks & on the Trails
Sharing open spaces with livestock
Sharing open spaces with livestock when you have a dog
A year in the life of a cow