Hello and Happy Friday (aka 4 DAYS left to get your comments to the park!)
We have been FLOODED with questions this morning so we decided we would try to answer them here.
Yesterday, the North Dakota State Senate introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR 4014. A resolution that will be voted on in both the ND Senate and House asking that Theodore Roosevelt National Park to keep the wild horses and longhorn cattle in the park.
The first thing you have to understand is that this has come after WEEKS of Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates working with our state legislators asking that they help us advocate for the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I can tell you in all honesty, there were moments that it looked like this moment would NOT happen. On January 4th, our North Dakota Legislators were so overwhelmed with calls and emails from all of you, that they sent us an email asking us to let everyone know that they were on our side! (See CHWHA blog post: https://chwha.org/2023/01/04/please-spread-the-word-i-am-on-your-side/)
CHWHA DID draft a resolution and submit it to our state legislators. As the resolution started gaining more and more support, legislators near Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s North Unit chimed in with their concerns for the longhorn cattle that reside only in that unit. You can view the resolution we drafted here: https://chwha.org/north-dakota-supports-trnps-wild-horses/
That is why the resolution is drafted the way it is. If you look at the resolution page (https://ndlegis.gov/assembly/68-2023/regular/bill-index/bi4014.html?bill_year=2023&bill_number=4014&fbclid=IwAR27efX8XVDbmojfTrtAeMPB6SPwalX9eQH48U4c04HZfuv8P9jRPb0MpQ0) You will see that there is a tab that is called “versions”, so it is possible that the final resolution verbiage may be different.
Please understand this:
As one of our legislators told me, “We are human just like all of you.” All of our state legislators were getting ready to go into their session with other bills ready to be submitted based on the needs of their specific areas and their own constituents. I have heard that there is a record number of pieces of legislation being introduced this session.
Then Theodore Roosevelt National Park made their announcement to eliminate ALL of the wild horses from the park. Our state legislators heard from all of us, and we no doubt added to their workload.
To let you know how close this was – YESTERDAY, January 26, 2023, was the last day to introduce resolutions!
Questions we have been getting include:
What happens now? The resolution has been assigned to the Energy & Natural Resources Committee. Testimony is expected to be in the ND Senate on February 9th or 10th.
This will also be open for public comment. That means that each one of you will have the opportunity to have your thoughts and opinions be a part of this legislative process! We will let you know as soon as we hear that this is open for public comment.
Another question: What will this do?
This resolution is a formal response from our North Dakota state legislators to Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s announcement to eliminate the wild horses and longhorn cattle from the park’s landscape. EVEN THOUGH Superintendent Angie Richman DENIED our state legislators the extension they requested, the process will still continue.
Once this passed both the house and senate, which it is expected to very easily, if not unanimously, it will be presented to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and, as the resolution states:
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Secretary of State forward copies of this resolution to the United States Secretary of the Interior, the Director of the National Park Service, and each member of the North Dakota Congressional Delegation.”
THIS is an important step in getting the federal support that these horses need to be able to stay in the park.
So yes, we think this is a pretty big deal! THIS shows the power of your calls and emails! As Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
KNOW that each and every one of you are helping to make a difference to this herd!
Many of you have also asked us: Why isn’t this something every advocate page for these horses is talking about? We cannot answer for the response, or lack thereof, of any other organizations. We can only speak for ourselves. As part of our response at CHWHA, we are asking today that you take a moment out of your day to send a quick thank you note to these North Dakota legislators that have heard ALL of our voices and are working to do what they can to help save our iconic wild horses.
THANK YOU to the following senators and representatives for sponsoring this resolution!
Senator Bekkedahl: email@example.com
Senator Elkin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Kessel: email@example.com
Senator Patten: firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Kempenich: email@example.com
Representative Steiner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our state legislators are doing their jobs. Have you done yours?
Remember, the #1 thing you can do to help these horses is to make sure you get your comment to the park! There are ONLY 4 DAYS left to speak up for these horses!
Please share your comments no later than January 31, 2023, online through the PEPC website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP
Or in writing to:
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645
As a reminder, we have a sample comment letter for you that you can find here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/20/sample-comment-letter/
There is also a presentation that everyone is invited to attend being given by the Oregon Wild Horse Association. Information about tonight’s presentation can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OregonWHO
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.