The History and Status of the Wild Horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Part 9

Castle McLaughlin does a great job summarizing her report in this final section of her research (file above).

Her final paragraph, written 32 years ago, speaks volumes:

“In sum, the National Park Service was not prepared to manage wild horses when the park was established in 1947, and no research had been undertaken to guide that process prior to 1987.  Park policy has changed from total elimination of the horses to the protection of a designated number; but more specific decisions regarding the herd have fallen upon the judgement of succeeding superintendents and staff.  Future decisions regarding the number and type of horses to be conserved, methods of herd reduction, the continuation of introductions, etc., are decisions pending study; such research must provide the basis for establishing policies and developing a Wild Horse Management Plan.”

That was written in 1989!  We are still waiting for a Wild Horse Management Plan.  The park’s “Horse Portal” states:

                ” Q5: When will a new horse management plan be completed?

A5: The NPS will be initiating a new horse management planning process during fall of 2021. Updates on timelines will be posted on the portal.”

Today, December 21, 2021, is the first day of winter.  There have been no updates to the plans for the start of the TRNP’s horse management planning process.  We also have no knowledge of any public forums for any discussion on the highly anticipated TRNP Wild Horse Management Plan. 

This takes us back to the blog that led into this one along with a very pertinent quote by Carl Sagan:

“You have to know the past to understand the present.”

To date, no one has done this amount of extensive and exhaustive research on the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  Castle went on to work for Harvard’s Peabody Museum as Curator of North American Ethnology.  We hope that the information she has shared in her research has helped you understand how important it is to know the past so that we can understand the present challenges facing the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 

Once again, Castle’s full report is available to download in its entirety in the library section of our website:

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