Monday, February 22, 2010

WildHorses: BLM Targets Wyoming next - Adobe Town and Salt Wells

Now that the BLM has been halted in its massive roundups in NV it naturally follows they would set their sites on the state with the second largest wild horse population, Wyoming. The Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek Herds are the largest herds left in Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management began managing the two herd areas as a "complex" because there are no fences or barriers to prevent the herds from ranging over a total area of over 1.5 million acres.

With miles upon miles of sagebrush, buttes, harsh but beautiful landscapes with no man made sights other than oil wells, it is hard to believe that there is not room for the wild horses that have roamed this land for so many years.

The BLM has announced plans to remove over 1000 horses from the two herd areas this year. They say that there are currently 1950 horses roaming free in the two area. The problem is that the BLM can't seem to get its numbers straight. In an article by C. R. MacDonald "The Wild Horses of Wyoming, AdobeTown/Salt Wells - A Tale of Tallies" spans the intricacies of the BLM's convoluted estimation process:

In the last 4 years, BLM estimates for the two wild horse populations have gone from 300 to 3000 horses with no rhyme or reason.
So my questions are: 1. how many horses are REALLY out there, and
2. How many horses can 1.5 million acres support? I think these are really the only relevant questions. And the BLM does not have real answers for these questions. They will tell you they are doing this for the horses' own good, that the horses are starving, that the range is degraded, and that the Wyoming Consent Decree of 2003 requires them to remove horses in WY Herd Management Areas that are over AML.

I began observing and photographing the horses of Adobe Town in 2004. At that time, the BLM estimated 1200 horses were in the herd area. I spent time with 8 bands of wild horses over several years, and developed a relationship with them that allowed me to come close enough to observe their relationships and behavior over time. My book "Wild Hoofbeats: America's Vanishing Wild Horses" is the story of the Adobe Town Herd. There have been two roundups in those herd areas since then, and my current observation from driving the areas and looking for horses is that there are many less horses than the BLM suggests left in these herd areas. I have never seen starving horses - I have seen and photographed large, healthy horses on healthy range. You can see a YouTube video of the Adobe Town wild horses at

The BLM posted its scoping notice for the two areas:

Comments from the public are due by mail and email by April 2, 2010. The Environmental Assessment will be posted approximately July 1 and the roundup is scheduled to begin on October 1 , 2010:

"Please submit written comments by April 2, 2010. Comments may be mailed or hand delivered to: 280 Hwy 191 North, Rock Springs, Wyo. 82901. Comments may also be email to Please include “Adobe Town & Salt Wells Creek HMAs Scoping Comments” in the subject line. The scoping notice, map and all other future documents corresponding with this action will be posted at: ."

In 1999 the BLM estimated that over 11,000 wild horses roamed free on these lands. Now there are probably less than 1000, depending upon whom you ask.
Please send your comments in and help stop the destruction of one of the last large herds in our country, on our public lands - these are OUR wild horses.

WildHorses: BLM Targets Wyoming next - Adobe Town and Salt WellsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend