Public comments needed on BLM plan to capture 1,029 Wyoming wild horses

Wyoming wild horses at play. Associated Press photo.


A deadline of April 4 has been set for public comments on the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to capture and remove next fall 1,029 wild horses from Herd Management Areas in Wyoming’s Checkerboard region.

BLM’s goal is to reach the low end of Appropriate Management Levels at the Salt Wells Creek (current population: 835 wild horses, low AML: 251), Adobe Town (820, 610) and Great Divide Basin (650, 415) HMAs.

Written comments should be emailed, with ““2017 AML Gather” in the subject line, to: Salt Wells BLM. More information about submitting a written comment is available on the BLM websiteMore detailed background information on the proposed roundup is available here.

The Checkerboard is an unfenced 2 million-acre area of alternating blocks of public and private land.

BLM conducted a 2014 roundup there after reaching an agreement with a ranching association to remove wild horses from the entire Checkerboard. That followed a 2013 lawsuit filed by the Rock Springs Grazing Association demanding that BLM remove wild horses from private ranch land there.

Last October, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that BLM violated both the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act and Federal Land Policy Management Act in conducting that 2014 roundup. The court found that the agency illegally treated public lands as private in its plans.

Return to Freedom joined fellow wild horse advocacy organizations as a co-plaintiff in the case. The appeals court’s ruling resulted in the cancellation of a planned fall 2016 roundup in the Checkerboard, also based on the agreement with the grazing association.

Now, BLM is now basing its justification for conducting a roundup there on Section 3 of the Wild Horse and Burro Act, rather than pointing to the agreement with the ranchers.