Hello and Happy Monday to everyone!
This will be a busy week for sure but we have some new information to share with you.
Please remember, A LOT is happening this week and we have A LOT brewing to share with you in the coming weeks BUT the #1 thing that EVERYONE has to do is send their comment into Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Please remember, the ONLY way that your comment counts is when you submit your comment on the Park’s planning website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=132035
Or when you have it postmarked by November 24th and mail it to: Superintendent, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, P.O. Box 7, Medora, ND 58645.
Those of you who have been with us for this fight since March of 2022, hasn’t this been such a CRAZY ride? We have come A LONG way since March of 2022 and we still have so much work to do to save these horses.
Thankfully, we have some pretty incredible people fighting WITH us for these horses. Hands down one of the most incredible people I have had the pleasure to meet on this journey is Dr. Castle McLaughlin.
No one has documented the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the detail that Dr. McLaughlin did. Her report is in the library section of our website (https://chwha.org/library/) and also a useful tool to help you write the historical aspect of your comment letter to the Park: https://chwha.org/save-the-trnp-wild-horses/.
Dr. McLaughlin also had the opportunity to talk to people who are no longer with us AND she had access to ALL of Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s records for her research into the history of the horses.
Even more incredible, as Dr. McLaughlin went on to help Frank and Leo Kuntz found the Nokota Horse Conservancy and went on to be curator at Harvard’s Peabody museum, she has been working with us in our Fight for the Spirit of the Badlands.
Everyone gets to talk to Dr. McLaughlin TONIGHT – we will be hosting her for our NEW Horse Talk. Please make sure you register for this talk: https://secure.everyaction.com/g7a0vfnvjE6GIyKovr3BUA2. It will be a casual talk and Dr. McLaughlin will do her best to answer your questions.
We think what we are about to share will definitely conjure up some questions from all of you!
As we said, Dr. McLaughlin had access to ALL of Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s records as she did her research. She was also invited back after her report was published. We will let her talk about all that tonight!
As Dr. McLaughlin is working on her own comment letter, she has been digging back into her records from the Park and shared a few of them with us.
We ALL know who Superintendent Angie Richman is. But today we want to introduce you to Superintendent Noel (Nole) Poe.
Noel (Nole) Poe became Superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 1995. We believe that he was superintendent for about 10-15 years. He may have been the longest running superintendent of TRNP.
In September of 1998, Superintendent Poe writes:
“During 1997, the park staff made the following decisions for the management of the feral horse herd. The last two years we have sought funding for developing an ungulate management plan that encompasses the three major wildlife species: bison, elk and horses. To date our efforts have not been successful. We will continue to pursue private and public funding.”
Did you get all that in that power packed paragraph?
- In 1997 decisions were made about the management of the horses.
- He WANTED a management plan but could not get the funding
- The park has three major WILDLIFE species: Bison, Elk AND HORSES
He goes on to explain that Dr. Gus Cothran analyzed blood samples that were taken in during the roundups in 1991 and 1994. Poe states:
“After reviewing Dr. Cothran’s report and the current Ungulate Carrying Capacity Model, park management made as decision in 1997 to increase the population range of feral horses to vary from approximately 70 to 140 animals.”
WOW! A management decision was made in 1997 to INCREASE the herd to 70-140 horses!
In March of 1997 Poe and his staff created a “Discussion Document” on Feral (Wild) Horse Management for TRNP – YES! Poe referred to the horses as “wild”!
In 1996 Poe states:
“Current Management Actions: A management plan was approved in 1970, when the decision was made to manage the horses because of their historical ties to the Theodore Roosevelt Ranching scene. Since that time the horses have been managed under this plan with modifications made through the Resource Management Plan, memos and letters.”
If there was no talk about the 1978 plan in 1996, why are we talking about it in 2023?
Ready for this…
CONCERNS WITH CURRENT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM:
#1 – THERE IS NOT ONE DOCUMENT THAT PROVIDES SPECIFIC DIRECTION FOR THE WILD HORSE PROGRAM.
Hmmmm again – in 1996 there was NOT ONE DOCUMENT that the Park used to manage wild horses? But in 2023 we can only get them to refer to a 1978 document?
And then there is also this…
“While refinements need to be made to the written wild horse management program, the park is essentially happy with the current management of the horses SINCE THIS PROGRAM MEETS THE GENERAL PUBLIC’S DESIRES and has cost effective practices.”
We could go on and on all morning. Instead, please read these documents for yourself.
We hope this helps enlighten you with some past management practices with regards to the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This clearly shows what CAN be done, IF the Park decided to listen to the “general public’s desires” and manage the horses – with some consultation with someone like – I DON’T KNOW – Dr. Gus Cothran – who has also weighed in on the current situation regarding the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park: https://www.kxnet.com/news/state-news/cutting-the-herd-size-at-theodore-roosevelt-national-park-could-be-bad/
More than anything, please, take advantage of the opportunity to talk to someone like Dr. Castle McLaughlin and hear what she has to say about her work, Noel Poe and the current situation regarding the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Remember, these events are FREE, but we do ask that you register in advance: https://secure.everyaction.com/g7a0vfnvjE6GIyKovr3BUA2
Oh, and yes, these documents will be included in the Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates & American Wild Horse Campaign joint comment letter. These documents will become part of the administrative record for this comment period.
Feel free to include them in yours as well!
Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!