Hello and Happy Saturday!
We are starting to realize that while we are in a waiting period for Theodore Roosevelt National Park to come back with the results of their Environmental Assessment (EA) people think that the horses are now safe and this battle has been won.
THAT IS NOT TRUE!
Our North Dakota legislators have passed Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR 4014. That is GREAT! BUT in essence SCR 4014 simply is the state of North Dakota asking the park to keep the horses IN the park. And yes, the movement for keeping the horses IN the park has gotten the support of Governor Burgum, Senator Cramer and Senator Hoeven. The issue is that the park is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The state of North Dakota can only make the request and offer support, as our governor so generously did.
We did a check in with our legal team yesterday and had some conversations that I wanted to share with you. I also brought some of this up at the Coffee with the Legislators today that was hosted by the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce. The video will be available in a few days and we will share the link as soon as we have it.
We read an article earlier this month in the National Parks Traveler. They did an interview with Superintendent Angie Richman. Many of you have sent us the link making sure that we read it – THANK YOU!
Several of you have also asked us questions from that article, so we thought we would address those now. If you have not read it, you can read it here: https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2023/03/update-key-feral-horse-issue-theodore-roosevelt-national-park-natural-ecosystem?fbclid=IwAR0QrzBsrwB-a-5Dbe4jza1reMEfdnou78MEmyOk3tH88H-OUook03N8eds
This article also came up in our conversation with our legal team yesterday.
One question was if the park gives any supplemental feeding to the horses in the winter. The answer is NO. The park DOES feed the longhorn cattle and since this management plan includes both the horses and the longhorn, that is where that came from. Simply put, it speaks to the need for a separate management plan for the wild horses and the longhorn cattle.
Our lawyers felt that the responses given by Superintendent Richman seem to reiterate the park’s plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of horses. The language seems to speak to them staying the course in spite of the growing support for keeping the horses in the park.
THAT is why even while we are waiting for the results of the EA, we CANNOT stop advocating for these horses!
THAT is why when reporters call and ask for updates or ask if we can meet them for an interview, we say YES! https://www.kfyrtv.com/2023/03/25/north-dakota-house-passes-bill-maintain-livestock-trnp/
THAT is why we are SOOO excited about the American Wild Horse Campaign putting up billboards in Dickinson.
THAT is why Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates wants to add their own billboards along I-94. Over 700,000 people travel to Theodore Roosevelt National Park each year. Someday, I am confident that winter will end here in North Dakota, and the tourists will come. Signs along I-94 would be a GREAT way to let them know about the plight of the wild horses that many of them are traveling to see!
THAT is why we are hosting our first “Horse Talk” tomorrow. If you have not registered for our “Coffee with Castle” yet – there is still time! You can register here: https://secure.everyaction.com/Zigrlc4gnEWkGkIYq2km_A2 The event is FREE but you need to register ahead of time!
THAT is why we are traveling to Washington DC next month to speak at the Save Our Wild Horses conference and to speak with as many federal legislators as possible.
THAT is why there are so many other things we are still working on and will continue to, until we know this herd is safe.
One of those things include what seems like small things, like our Coffee with the Legislators. This event has been a wonderful way to give us an opportunity to speak with our elected officials and today, ND House Majority Leader Mike Lefor and Senator Dean Rummel were in attendance.
Again, we will share the video when it is available but I made sure that both legislators had a copy of the National Parks Traveler and explained my concerns. Both were equally upset to hear that after all the hard work they have done that the park would not be taking advantage of Governor Burgum’s offer to help with whatever resources they needed that are available within the state of North Dakota. Representative Lefor said that it had been about 6 weeks now since he was in the meeting with Governor Burgum, Senator Hoeven, NPS Director Sams, Superintendent Richman, ND Attorney General Wrigley and other ND state legislative leaders. He said that they all spoke about the concerns they have about removing the horses from the park and the reasons why they feel they should stay. He said that he believed that Senator Hoeven was getting through to Director Sams, as he seemed pretty receptive to what was being said. He did not get the same feeling from Theodore Roosevelt National Park Superintendent Richman. He said that Director Sams’ comments seemed to state that he had an open mind to what our state legislators were asking. He felt like he was giving what the state was asking serious consideration. Representative Lefor said that he is hoping that Director Sams takes that information to the Secretary of the Interior and that allows the horses to stay. Representative Lefor said that he will check in with Senator Hoeven and will continue to monthly until a final decision is made as a way to stay on top of this topic.
I also spoke with Senator Rummel afterwards. He said that Governor Burgum asks him about this quite often and actually just asked him if he heard anything lately in a conversation earlier this week. Senator Rummel will share this information with the Governor and make sure he sees the article from the National Parks Traveler.
We have also been asked if we feel the park can be trusted to do the Environmental Assessment. If you look at the 1978 EA (you can find it in the library section of our website: https://chwha.org/library/) no, we don’t have a lot of confidence! That is also why we have lawyers.
Once the EA is complete, there will be another public comment period. The public will get a chance to tell them what they think of what they did, but that also doesn’t mean anything will change. In the 1978 EA the Department of the Interior sent a BLM Range Specialist in to evaluate the EA. Theodore Roosevelt National Park DID NOT even listen to his recommendations!
Another question we get often is about why Superintendent Richman is doing this. THIS is NOT her doing. In a meeting we had with the last Superintendent Wendy Ross, she stated it would be over $150,000 for this management plan. THAT kind of money for this kind of project takes a LONG time to get approved – ESPECIALLY at a federal level. These plans were in place long before Superintendent Richman came along. Stay tuned… There will be information coming out soon to prove this and more!
This is a very critical time for the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That is why Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has been leading the fight to save these horses from day 1 and from every angle possible. Every moment from now until when the EA comes out needs to be taken advantage of! We are LITERALLY Fighting for the Spirit of the Badlands!
The work we are doing, support we are getting and partnerships we are forming are critical. I literally do some form of advocacy work every single day for these horses. There is always more that can be done. We are a small board and have a very limited budget. As a 501 (c)(3) organization, we rely on donations to survive. IF this goes to litigation, we will need a heck of a lot more money than we have to make that happen. If we want to get billboards put up, one billboard will cost $12,000. We estimate the cost for literature to hand out in Washington DC along with travel expenses, giveaways and other necessities will be over $5,000. Those costs are in addition to our monthly expenses which include things like website fees, zoom fees, and general office expenses like stamps, envelopes, paper and ink just to name a few.
IF the park is allowed to remove these horses from the park, we will lose this historical and cultural treasure forever. There will be no bringing them back. Also, remember that the park stated they would offer them to the tribes first. The tribes have stated that they are not interested in the horses and think they should stay in the park. Where will these 185 horses go?
They need to stay RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE! And THAT is what CHWHA is fighting so hard for!
There are several ways you can help support our work listed on our website https://chwha.org/support-chwha/. There are options to support different fundraising campaigns or just add money to our general fund. Please consider supporting our advocacy work so we can keep the momentum going.
We also need help! If you want to volunteer to help, please go to this link https://secure.everyaction.com/6xS7i5nc70mzvKF-gTvjcA2 and let us know the ways you would like to help. The sky is literally the limit when it comes to the help we need.
Remember that sharing our posts is a great way to help!
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Thank you again 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.