BUNKERVILLE — Tensions between federal agents and states’ rights activists nearly came to violence Saturday, but by Sunday afternoon, the Southern Nevada ranch at the heart of a clash over cattle and grazing rights looked more like a campground than an armed standoff.
Trucks lined state Route 170, and U.S. flags waved, as children ran between the parked campers and desert hills near the ranch 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
Operations to seize Bundy’s “trespass cattle” that have been grazing on Bureau of Land Management grounds for 20 years ended a week after it began. As agents from the National Park Service and the BLM began rounding up the livestock, protesters and militia members from across the country poured into the Gold Butte area to support Bundy.
About 380 confiscated cattle were released back to Bundy onto federal lands Saturday after protesters stormed the corral where agents kept the animals.
BLM spokesman Craig Leff told The Associated Press the agency would continue to try to resolve the matter “administratively and judicially.”
“The door isn’t closed. We’ll figure out how to move forward with this,” he said, adding that the BLM did not participate in the negotiation moderated by Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie that de-escalated tensions on Saturday.
“The BLM and National Park Service did not cut any deal and negotiate anything,” Leff said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Wesley Juhl at firstname.lastname@example.org and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter @WesJuhl.