BLM Seeking Public Comment On Wild Horse Management Changes

Feb 4, 2020

Wild horse numbers are carefully managed in each area in Wyoming.
Credit Bureau of Land Management via Attribution 2.0 Generic

The Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on proposed changes to a resource management plan and environmental impact statement for wild horse management in southern Wyoming. 

The Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town, and White Mountain Herd Management Areas (HMA) are made up of a checkerboard pattern of private and BLM owned land.

Most of the private land parcels in the areas are owned by the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA) and the historic agreement that allows wild horses to utilize both organization's land came to an end in 2010. The RSGA now wants the horses removed from their property.

"Since it is a checkerboard of alternating sections fences really aren't feasible in that area, because it would basically restrict all movement through the checkerboard for horses and other animals as well," the BLM's public affairs specialist, Courtney Whiteman, said.

Because fences aren't a feasible option, the BLM is considering four other options for wild horse management.

"We are just in the analysis stage, we have identified a preferred alternative, but that does not equate to us having made a decision yet," Whiteman said. "We've got a lot more work to do before we make a final decision."

The preferred alternative will remove all horses from the White Mountain, Great Divide Basin, and Salt Wells Creek HMAs. The Adobe Town HMA will be shrunk to remove the portion that intermingles the most with private land and the amount of horses managed for in that area will be reduced. The number of horses over the new management number will likely be rounded up and put up for adoption. Additionally, birth control measures may be applied to the remaining herd to maintain new numbers.

Regardless of which alternative is selected, there are still several steps before action can be taken, including economic and environmental analyses of each step.

The BLM will be accepting public comment on their website until April 30.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Ivy Engel, at iengel@uwyo.edu.