If I had a penny for every time I heard that line!
It is actually true. The park has gone seemingly unchecked, for years. Frank and Leo Kuntz were the last ones to challenge the park on their insane policies meant to eradicate the herd of wild horses that called the park home. Frank and Leo focused their efforts in starting a non-profit and saving the unique breed of horses that once called Theodore Roosevelt National Park home. That was before new blood was introduced. While they were still outspoken about the park through the years, the park has generally lived up to doing what it wants – when it wants to.
The thing is, our national parks belong to us – the taxpaying citizens of the US.
In the 1970’s when the park tried to eliminate ALL of the horses in the park, public outcry won.
Now, in 2022, the park has announced what we will say – out loud – their plans to eliminate the entire herd of horses from the park.
The federally elected senators and congressmen have shown that we cannot depend on them for any significant change. Congressman Armstrong told the Fargo Forum this week:
“Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., backed the park’s proposal to eliminate the horse and longhorn herds from the park.
“I support Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s management plan,” he said in a statement. “They have done the research and will make the best decision based on science so future generations can enjoy the park. These are tough decisions, but emotion cannot outweigh what is best for long-term sustainability.””
That is quite the different answer than he gave us in June of 2021:
“Dear Ms. Kman,
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). Your thoughts are important to me as I work to represent you in congress.
As you know, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 prevents the harassment or killing of wild or unclaimed horses on federal lands, with the herds managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The law considers these animals as the “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.” This legislation was amended to authorize the BLM to sell animals over 10 years of age that have unsuccessfully been offered for adoption at least three times, as an alternative to destroying the animals. As part of the authorized management of horses and burros, the BLM actively gathers hair samples to monitor the genetic diversity of each herd to develop individual recommendations for specific herds.
Like you, I believe we must respect and protect these horses, preventing as many unnecessary animal deaths as possible. Wild horses have lived on these lands since the 15th and 16th Centuries. We must develop a solution that allows the animals to continue their way of life while protecting rangeland, preventing boom and bust population events, and reducing conflict with ranchers. Although I do not serve on the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over these issues, I will work with my colleagues to find a humane and fiscally responsible solution to ensure the viability of wild horses on public lands. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should related legislation be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Again, thank you for contacting me on this issue. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website at Armstrong.house.gov to sign up for my newsletter or contact me with any other concerns you may have.
Never mind his ignorance as these horses are NOT protected by the Wild Horse and Burro Act, and that these horses are not battling for land use from any ranchers because they are fenced into a national park.
We have made countless phone calls over the years as we have been advocating for these horses. The responses are always similar to what you see above.
THAT is why we believe the only way that any change will even be possible is to have a team of lawyers working with us to fight for these horses.
This fight is going to take every single one of us. EVERYONE needs to comment. Share posts – keep this information flowing so that we can continue to build our army!
The park received 1774 pieces of correspondence for their last public comment period. We believe the majority of those comment letters were in favor of keeping the wild horses in the park’s boundaries in some capacity. Yet, the park came back with the revised analyses they presented us with last week – one seriously limiting the herd to an unviable number of 35-60 horses and the other two eliminating the herd ENTIRELY. This speaks volumes to the park trying to continue to do what the park wants to do. Our public comments will not be enough to bring about the necessary changes needed for the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is working with Eubanks and Associates. They are a leading environmental law firm based in Washington, DC that is experienced in handling cases like this. They also represent American Wild Horse Campaign and The Cloud Foundation – so we think they are pretty highly recommended.
Eubanks and Associates is currently working with us to draft our comment letter to the park. They have done extensive research into the history of the wild horses in this park and are well versed in the NEPA process. This comment period is critical because we will be presenting the park with other analyses that they should consider, based on science and facts. After this comment period, the park will begin its research on the impacts of the analyses they decide to consider in their EA (Environmental Assessment) or EIS (Environmental Impact Statement).
Retaining Eubanks and Associates is not FREE! It will take a lot of money to continue this fight with them by our side. Even then, nothing is guaranteed. We do feel that our best defense to fight for the freedom of these horses is working with Eubanks and Associates.
Otherwise, we are afraid this will turn into another case of “the park is going to do what the park wants to do.” We know that the park wants to get rid of the 185 horses currently living wild and free within their park boundaries.
We hope we can count on your support to make sure that the park is finally stopped from making decisions that do nothing but hurt the wild horses entrusted to their care.
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.