Hello and Happy Saturday!
I have been wanting to share this photo of Stallion Arrowhead all week. Today seems like a good day.
This picture was taken in the spring on a very foggy and rainy morning.
When I look at this picture, I am reminded of the journey that Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has been on as we continue pushing forward with all of you to do what we can to save this iconic herd of wild horses.
Do you remember December 12, 2022? The Park made their formal announcement to us that their “preferred alternative” was to eliminate this entire herd of horses!
I will admit, at that moment, I felt completely defeated and helpless.
I believe I quoted “Inch by inch, it’s a sinch” at that time.
One step, one action at a time.
This week, I spent most of my time reaching out to our North Dakota State Legislators and working on the North Dakota Wild Horse Preservation Act. It was a long week.
This quote made its way across my path this week and it seems fitting here:
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
― Jim Rohn
We worked hard this week to get the attention of the North Dakota State Legislators – and it worked! The North Dakota State Wild Horse Preservation Act was brought to the table as our legislators discussed yesterday which bills to bring forward into this special session.
First, out of somewhere between 30-40 bills/resolutions that were brought forward, only 7 made it to the table for the 17 committee members to vote on. The North Dakota State Wild Horse Preservation Act was one of them!
Our legislators heard you! Their email boxes were flooded in a 24-hour period from all of you BEGGING them to help save our TRNP wild horses.
In the end, only one of the seven bills made it into this special session, and it was not ours.
Representative Josh Boschee did an amazing job not only getting this into the mix at the last moment but also speaking to the importance of the issue of the wild horses to the committee. He called me last night on his way home to make sure I heard the news. He also encouraged me to reach out if something else comes along that the State of North Dakota can help with. He also said that he noticed more of his own constituents in West Fargo (400 miles from TRNP) contacted him this time compared to last December when all of this started. He said, “You have really gained some traction and support.”
All of you should be proud of what we have accomplished together! This one didn’t go our way. BUT it would have been criminal on our part to not try.
Since December, Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates, along with our followers have realized some AMAZING things. Here is a small list of some of our accomplishments:
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates worked hard from the moment the Park made their announcement to bring attention to the plight of the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park! CHWHA NOT ONLY got the attention of our North Dakota State Legislators who UNANIMOUSLY passed SCR 4014 but also:
- Governor Doug Burgum who sent in his own comment letter to the Park offering ““the State of North Dakota stands ready to collaborate with the National Park Service, whether with resources or management expertise, to ensure that the herd of wild horses can be maintained in a manner and size that supports genetic diversity and protects the park for visitors today and for generations to come.“
- By spreading the word about these horses with all of you, Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s public comment period that ended January 31, 2023, the Park received 19,012 comments. Of the comments received only 45 of those comments supported the Park’s plans to eliminate the horses.
- On February 3, 2023, the United Tribes of North Dakota sent a letter to Theodore Roosevelt National Park urging them to continue the preservation of the wild horses within the Park’s boundaries.
- CHWHA began working with the MHA Nation and Whereas on April 13, 2023, the MHA Nation sent a resolution to Theodore Roosevelt National Park stating that the MHA Nation holds horses in high esteem as horses are significant to the MHA people and have played a major role in MHA history, tradition and culture; and The MHA Nation recognizes the wild horses running free in the park require genetic diversity and responsible herd management policies and techniques to maintain for the health of the herd. The Tribal Business Council voted unanimously to support the continued free running of the horse herd in Theodore Roosevelt National Park pursuant to a management policy that includes proper genetic diversity and efficient herd management policies and techniques.
- On April 17, 2023 North Dakota Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR 4014 was formally filed with the North Dakota Secretary of State after the resolution which asked Theodore Roosevelt National Park to allow the wild horses to stay within the Park passed both the North Dakota House and Senate unanimously.
- On July 11, 2023, the City of Medora requested in their own resolution to Theodore Roosevelt National Park that the Park keep the horses. Their resolution stated that the horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park bring tourism to the state and the City of Historic Medora and elimination of the herd poses economic concerns for the business community and negatively impacts preservation and appreciation of our state and communities’ history.
- CHWHA has been in regular communication with North Dakota Senator John Hoeven’s office. The Senator, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, included language in the Interior Department’s Appropriations Bill urging Theodore Roosevelt National Park to allow the horses to stay in the Park.
In addition to those very important and very critical milestones, Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has:
- Worked hard to maintain a relationship with other advocacy groups like American Wild Horse Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, Save Our Wild Horses, Oregon Wild Horse Organization, and Equine Collaborative International, just to name a few.
- Worked with photography pages and groups like National Geographic to not only help spread the word on the plight of our amazing wild horses, but to help use their strengths to bring about new tools to our advocacy toolkit, like the videos we released this week: https://youtube.com/shorts/JCysrji51-w and https://youtu.be/WD1qw_9CA1U
- We have the North Dakota State Historic Preservation Office requesting more information from Theodore Roosevelt National Park – more on this in a new blog post hopefully tomorrow lol
- We got an extension to this comment period! Comments are NOW due by November 24, 2023!
- Remained in regular contact with Senator Hoeven’s office. He is hearing the people who are reaching out to his office and is committed to helping us save this herd!
- Continued to engage with our media contacts who are helping to keep the Fight for the Spirit of the Badlands in the news.
I could go on and on – but I do hope you get the picture.
What you CAN do now to help:
Sign the petition for the State Historic Preservation Office – over 2,000 people have signed! Do we have your name on our list? https://secure.everyaction.com/Af1717oXqU2wTrcB0Yz6jw2
Send an email to Deb Haaland: https://secure.everyaction.com/5pWZb1KoLUO0EDlYwRHEMA2
Make sure you comment! https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=132035
We will continue to go over ways to make your best comment for these horses in our blogs. We also had a GREAT talk with Heather from Save Our Wild Horses yesterday. We will share that video when it is available. We will also have some new Horse Talks coming up soon so stay tuned!
Most importantly, give yourselves a pat on the back! You all did a great job this week! Heck! You guys have done a GREAT job for the last 10 months. Thank you for being in this fight with us for the long haul. We STILL have a LONG way to go and A LOT of work to do to save this herd.
Thank you for your support and have a great day!