Here’s a pretty succinct summation of property rights and public lands.
Fundamental to understanding these “independent ranchers” is the long term and hugely generous grazing and water rights and subsidies which make it possible for them to scratch a living on land that is marginal for grazing.
An excerpt from the article:
“Then as now, Western states continue to benefit from Washington’s ownership and management of federal lands. Without incurring the costs of conservation, reclamation and upkeep or the financial and legal liabilities associated with ownership, the states keep about 50 percent of revenue from mineral and timber extraction on federal acreage. The federal government also awards local governments grants to offset lost opportunities to levy property taxes on public land. Those are generous terms”.