It’s been a BUSY BUSY day!
If you remember, we sent the following email to Superintendent Richman on October, 23, 2023:
Superintendent Richman ~
Hello! I have been asked the following questions several times by our followers and did ask these questions at the Civic Engagement meeting, but they seem to have not made the cut for questions that were answered that night.
When the Park plans to eliminate 150-200 horses during week long helicopter round-ups, what is that cost and where will that money come from? Is this something that will come out of the budget of the NPS or will the BLM be footing that bill like they did with the GonaCon experiment? What is the proposed budget for the removal of the horses? We are sure you have prepared a budget that was proposed to cover things like the cost of week-long helicopter roundups, veterinarian bills, and all of the aftercare associated with rounding up the horses. While you are asking the public to weigh in on the alternatives you have presented, it would seem that knowing what that budget is, that will obviously be paid for with our tax dollars, would be important to making an educated comment on the Draft EA.
If, in fact, you will say that there is no proposed budget, aside from the obvious comment that there needs to be a determination before any such actions take place, can you tell us what the cost was to round up the 400 bison last week? Maybe that will help us get an idea of the overall cost.
Also, I noticed on the BLM sites for comments, there is a way for the public to see how many comments have been submitted. Is there a way for the Park’s planning site to give the public updated information on the number of comments that have been submitted for the TRNP Livestock Plan?
Lastly, the Draft EA states that if after “several” attempts to sell the horses on GSA Auctions that the horses would be euthanized. Can you define “several” and that timeline for selling the horses please? i.e, will the horses be listed for a day, a week a month, etc. before they are relisted and/or euthanized? Also, what agency will be responsible for the actual euthanization of the horses and the costs associated with that? i.e., the NPS, BLM or is this new and alarming direction coming from the DOI directly?
It would seem like all of this should have been discussed in the Draft EA.
Thank you for your consideration. I appreciate your commitment to being transparent with the public.
She sent us the following response today:
Hello, Ms. Kman,
Thank you for reaching out. I appreciate your continued engagement in the Livestock Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) process. Formal comment on the Livestock Plan EA is only accepted through the project website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP or hardcopy by U.S. mail. Please submit your questions about the content or specific concerns about the Livestock Plan EA on the project website or by mail. The Livestock Plan EA public comment period is now open through November 24, 2023.
We have continued to respond to all communication pertaining to horse and cattle management through the online communication portal. Our hope is to maintain transparency, information consistency, and equitability among the public and park stakeholders. Horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Theodore Roosevelt National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Medora, ND 58645
Superintendent Richman ~
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my email. We will definitely raise these questions in our comment letter and I will also take the time to submit them through the horse portal and encourage our followers to do the same.
More importantly, the answers to those questions would be helpful for the public to make educated comments to the Park on this Livestock Plan process. Especially since this is our last opportunity for public comment during this process.
For clarification purposes, does your response mean that the NPS views last week’s bison roundup within the scope of the LP EA?
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW:
You heard the lady: “We have continued to respond to all communication pertaining to horse and cattle management through the online communication portal. Our hope is to maintain transparency, information consistency, and equitability among the public and park stakeholders”
Please visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s “horse portal” on their website: https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/nature/feral-horses.htm and submit the questions we asked in our original email to the Park.
You should also ask those questions in your own personal comment letters to the Park.
Thank you for your support!