It always puts a wrench in my day when the park does a press release. This morning was no different. We have been flooded with messages and emails so we decided to write what will be a VERY LONG but also EXTREMELY IMPORTANT POST!
Theodore Roosevelt National Park made an announcement in the spring of this year that they were FINALLY implementing a wild horse management plan. This has been THE #1 goal of Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates – so naturally we were excited, until we read through the analyses they presented.
The park changed the spring announcement and comment period from a scoping period to what they are now calling a “Pre-NEPA civic engagement”. CHWHA sent in a 15# box filled with scientific documentation for the first public comment period for TRNP park management to consider for future analyses. The park originally stated that they would be back in the fall with new analyses to consider.
So here we are.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park has hired an outside agency, EMPSi, that will be working with them through this process.
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has hired the well respected and established environmental legal team of Eubanks and Associates from Washington DC to work with us through this process to make sure these horses get the best wild horse management plan possible.
We cannot stress this enough: DECISIONS MADE FOR THIS WILD HORSE MANAGEMENT PLAN WILL IMPACT THIS HERD FOR GENERATIONS TO COME!!
This morning I read through their press release and what they were proposing. Like so many of you, I was outraged, angry, I may or may not have said a swear word or two. And then I took a breath.
We are now in what the park has listed as step 2 of this process: “Initiate NEPA/Public Scoping Period”. They have also come up with 3 new analyses to be considered and are asking that if you have other analyses that should be considered that you send those to them by January 31, 2023. You can read their newsletter here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=125324
The park is basically offering to:
1 – take the herd of 190 horses down to 35-60.
or option 2 or 3 – to either slowly or quickly eliminate the ENTIRE herd of horses from the landscape of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Those 3 options paint a clear picture of Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s intentions for the wild horses that call that park home. The park itself states that their “Proposed Action” is Option C which very clearly states:
” This alternative would also require active capture of horses with the methods best suited to reducing the population to zero, but in a phased approach. Tribes would be provided the first opportunity to receive horses; after Tribal requests are fulfilled, they would be sold to the public via GSA auction. Contraceptive techniques would be used to prevent future reproduction. Once a reduced herd size of fully contracepted horses is achieved, these horses would be allowed to remain in the Park to live out their lives. Cattle would be gathered and donated to other authorized entities or sold via GSA auction.”
YES! The park has very clearly stated that their main goal is to TOTALLY eliminate the herd of horses from Theodore Roosevelt National Park!
The thing is – our national parks belong to the taxpaying public – which is the reason for the public comment periods. We get a say in what we want in OUR park! We cannot stress enough that this is the time to make your voice heard! YOUR VOICE IS LITERALLY THE VOICE OF THE HORSES!!
We KNOW and have scientific proof that 35-60 horses is NOT enough for a viable herd of horses. We will not support that proposal. We are also obviously NOT supporting the park’s current plan to eliminate the herd in any way shape or form.
We have also shared before the difference between an Environmental Impact Statement and an Environmental Assessment. An Environmental Assessment is done when little to no impact will be made on the environment due to the proposed actions. How can Theodore Roosevelt National Park honestly say that removing ALL of the wild horses from Theodore Roosevelt National Park would NOT impact the environment? EMPSi and TRNP park management know as well as we do that an Environmental Impact Statement is called for in this situation.
We have hired Eubanks and Associates because once we submit our documentation (AGAIN) the park states on their newly developed timeline that they will be back in the spring with new analyses to consider before they release their final plan to the public in the spring of 2023. IF the SCIENTIFIC data we submit is NOT considered by the park – our lawyers will step in to find out WHY. This is up to and including litigation over this management plan if need be.
We would love to continue our relationship with Eubanks and Associates to make sure there will always be wild horses for future generations to enjoy. But we can’t do this without the financial backing to continue to retain them. To date, 95% of the funding that Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has received has been from Chasing Horses, LLC – a small business run by CHWHA’s founders, Chris & Gary Kman. That cannot continue to be the case. We are NOT working with any other advocates for these horses at this time, but we do welcome them to join us if it fits their advocacy efforts.
We will be sharing our thoughts on this management plan regularly in the coming weeks along with suggested comments and documentation that you can use to write your own comments to present to the park during this extremely important process.
For now, please just breathe and start to compile your comment letters. We also strongly suggest that you sign up for the public scoping meeting on January 12, 2023.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!! Please share these posts to help spread the word and PLEASE donate to us help support our legal fees so we can ensure there are always wild horses living wild and free in Theodore Roosevelt National Park!! We need your financial support now more than ever!!!!
We hope this helps answer some of the questions you may have. We will do our best to continue to answer any additional questions and will keep you posted on any new developments.
Thank you for your support!
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is committed to advocating for a wild horse management plan and protection for these unique wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home! We are fighting for a management plan that is guided by science especially when it comes to decisions regarding the removal of horses and the administration of birth control. Many other wild horse management plans have proven to be successful with their science-based plans. We are asking for the same for this amazing group of wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.