Hello and Happy Saturday to everyone! We want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who reached out to us Thursday night and Friday expressing outrage over the Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s virtual public scoping meeting. Everyone who reached out to us expressed their frustration and irritation. We agree with you 100%. The meeting was obviously scripted, and the park threw around A LOT of words, NEPA, CFR’s, Organic Act this and that and reasons WHY – AFTER 76 YEARS they SUDDENLY MUST comply with all of their noted policies and “realign” themselves with their purpose.
It was clear in the meeting that the park is used to going unchecked and unchallenged. That has been a huge problem since Frank and Leo put their main focus on saving the Nokota horses when the park failed to do their job to preserve that unique breed of horse.
We spent the better part of the day yesterday doing some fact checking and are eager to talk to our lawyers about some of the things we found. Fingers crossed.
Many of you also asked us yesterday if our lawyers were going to file a lawsuit.
If we had an endless bank account and I suppose if we felt like this was a good time to insert a lawsuit, I SUPPOSE we could do that. Would it be effective? Probably not ~ at this time anyway. I am quite certain that our lawyers would advise against it.
For starters, we feel that it is important to note that our lawyers did not just show up in December. We have been working with Eubanks and Associates for a few YEARS now. When we had our initial contact with them, we discussed concerns we had and then they went off and researched our concerns – and more. We knew that as they did this, IF they did not find any legal issues with how the park was conducting their business, they would let us know and that would be the end of our relationship at that time.
They DID their research and did find that not only were our concerns valid, but there were a significant number of things that they were also calling into question.
They started communicating with the park on our behalf asking questions and submitting FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests.
Last spring, the park announced their plans to finally give these horses a much-needed wild horse management plan. Now we have to follow a process.
What we hope you are taking away from the meeting is Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s CLEAR INTENT to remove ALL of the wild horses from the park. So, for all of you crossing your fingers, hoping, praying and commenting – PLEASE PICK OPTION A – LET THE HORSES STAY! Understand that is a completely unviable number of horses and the park is not even willing to allow 35-60 horses stay within the park boundaries.
No horses. The simply are NOT allowed. No way to make it ok for the horses to stay.
Then questions were asked – what about Assateague Island National Seashore? Another national park that also has “livestock” roaming their park. You will have to ask them about their management practices they said.
Ok. We have NOT heard any mention of the horses on Assateague Island being eliminated, so common sense would say that there IS a way for national parks to have wild horses within their boundaries.
Cape Lookout National Seashore is another national park that has horses. The difference there is that those horses are protected under public law. That is something we have been working on too in our effort to be PRO-ACTIVE instead of REACTIVE in our advocacy efforts.
Part of the problem, as we are now seeing with the park’s announcement, is that here in North Dakota, our federal legislators apparently don’t see the value of these wild horses to our state. Congressman Kelly Armstrong has stated clearly (see his letter to me below) that he stands with the park in their decision. Senators Cramer & Hoeven have only stated that the public should make sure they send their comments to the park. There is nothing else they can do. Right?
Dear Ms. Kman,
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the proposed Livestock Management Plan (LMP) for the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). Your thoughts are important to me as I work to represent you in congress.
As you may know, two livestock herds currently reside within the TRNP, including roughly 200 horses in the South Unit and nine cattle in the North Unit. Within the TRNP, cattle are governed by a 1970 Management Plan and horse management is informed by a 1978 Environmental Assessment. In March 2022, the National Park Service (NPS) solicited public input to develop a LMP to address the potential effects of livestock on the landscape and cultural resources, provide resiliency for native ecosystems, and bring livestock management into compliance with relevant statute and policies. In December 2022, the NPS presented several refined alternatives for public comment. The last day they will be accepting public comment is January 31st, 2023.
Like you, I believe we must respect our public lands. I have confidence that the staff experts at the TRNP will make an appropriate, science-based decision to ensure that future generations can enjoy the park. The House Committee on Natural Resources has jurisdiction over the NPS. While I do not serve on this committee, please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should related legislation come before for me a vote.
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.
| Sincerely, |
Member of Congress
Senator Hoeven serves on the US Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee AND the Subcommittee on National Parks. Since his office has not been willing to help protect our iconic wild horses, we have been working with lobbyists at a national wild horse advocacy group to try to get our horses protected under public law.
Do you know what we have found?
There ARE federal representatives in other states that appear to be MORE concerned about North Dakota’s iconic wild horses than North Dakota’s federal representatives. I am told that several of them have been watching this situation closely and will be weighing in during this comment period.
Maybe when our state legislators present the resolution they are currently drafting to our federal delegates, MAYBE that will help them see what the people who elected them to office want from them with regards to the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.
Do you FEEL another call to action coming?
Yep! We will have another one for you tomorrow so be sure to check back!
We know that this is an incredibly frustrating time. Be frustrated. Be angry. Scream. Yell. Stomp your feet.
And then think about how you can redirect all of that energy in a way that HELPS save this herd of horses.
This is going to take ALL of us. And yes, I get overwhelmed several times throughout the course of the day.
Take a breath. We are doing ALL we can and that is ALL we can do. I know I go to bed completely and totally exhausted every single night.
Also, please know that from the minute we were made aware of the park’s decision on December 12th, Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates IMMEDIATELY started looking for solutions, allies to help, ways to incite change. Some things take time BUT we are happy to say that some of those things we started over a month ago are now starting to come through. There is A LOT we have been working on! Stay tuned for more soon!
The #1 thing – and we CANNOT stress this enough – is that you comment! What Christine Garbriel said in the park’s meeting was absolutely correct – THIS public comment period is the BEST time for you to get your comments in and let the park know what other options you think they should consider and WHY. You can add your comment to their website here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=125324
I will close with a plea – PLEASE consider helping us financially. We need to be pro-active in our fight for the freedom of these horses. We need your help and support now more than ever!
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.