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LOOK Who Stepped into the Arena TODAY!!!!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”


Margaret Mead

That quote has been echoing in my head since North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum held his press conference this morning!

Have you seen it?  You can view the entire press conference here:https://fb.watch/inK2U4TBFB/

TODAY – Governor Burgum stepped into the arena!
TODAY – Senator Kevin Cramer stepped into the arena!
TODAY – Senator John Hoeven stepped into the arena!
TODAY – The North Dakota Department of Tourism stepped into the arena!

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU COMMENT ON THE LINK ABOVE AND THANK THE STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA FOR ADVOCATING WITH US!!!

Our friend Patrick Springer at the Fargo Forum his story hot off the presses for you! https://www.inforum.com/news/north-dakota/north-dakota-officials-plead-with-theodore-roosevelt-national-park-to-keep-wild-horses

It has been FORTY-NINE DAYS! 

WE ALL worked hard for this moment!

Take a moment and pat yourselves on the back!  I was sooo proud to hear Representative Josh Boschee say that he received HUNDREDS of emails THANKING HIM for his efforts to help save our iconic wild horses!  THANK YOU for answering our calls to remember gratitude as much our advocacy work!  I was beaming like a proud mom thinking about each one of you who have been on this journey with us for FORTY-NINE DAYS!!!

Remember as great as this moment is – it is just that  – a moment!  (It is a PRETTY GREAT moment – isn’t it?!) There is STILL A LOT of work that needs to be done!

Governor Doug Burgum got his comments into the park today!  You can read them here:

Does the park have YOUR comments?

You have until 11:59 PM MST TOMORROW to get your comments in. 

PLEASE make sure you are making this moment count!

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

And THANK YOU – to each and every one of you who answered our Calls to Action for the last FORTY-NINE DAYS!!! Together we ARE making a difference!

I NEVER doubted any of you 😉


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.

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PLEASE Step into the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Powerful words from Theodore Roosevelt himself as we come down to just TWO days for this public comment period. 

The 185 horses that currently call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home need you to step into the arena for them.  This is quite literally a fight for the Spirit of the Badlands!

Have YOU stepped into the ARENA?  

Know that you are not alone as you stand in the arena. 

North Dakota’s own Teddy Roosevelt – Joe Wiegand is standing IN the arena with you! Joe told us early on: “Please know that I’m happy to add my name as an individual who believes the horses are an important part of our community fabric in the Badlands and that their presence in TRNP should be supported.”

There are so many others standing with you as you step into the arena:

We at Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates are standing with you. 

The North Dakota legislators are standing with you.

Patrick Beers is standing with you.

American Wild Horse Campaign is standing with you.

The Fargo Forum is standing with you.

The Cloud Foundation is standing with you.

Save our Wild Horses is standing with you.

Oregon Wild Horse Organization is standing with you.

The Nokota Horse Conservancy is standing with you.

Steve and JoAnna from Fargo, are standing with you.

Dr. Bonnie Kohleriter, Science Educator with The Mustang Project and Devils Garden Wild Horse Placement Group is standing with you.

Wild Horse Observers Association is standing with you.

Castle McLaughlin is standing with you.

The Dickinson Press is standing with you.

Citizens Against Equine Slaughter is standing with you.

Other concerned citizens from all across the US like: Wally, Heather, Lynn, Kimberly, Jessica, Ginny, Birgit, Erica, Janice, Frank, Shelly, Patrick, Christa, Jess, Trent, Tracey, Margo, Tina, Michael, Jessie, Mary, Denise, Jennifer, Theresa, Alison, Linda, Julie, Gary, Carol, Leslie, Barbara, Keith, Christina, Matt, Selina, Nina, Tracy, Julia, Syndi, Lauren, Jena, Shannon, Sherri, Tawnel, Mark, and countless others are standing IN the arena with you. 

There are only 2 days for you to get your comments into the park. 

This comment period is a critical one because THIS is the comment period where you get to let the park know what other alternatives you think they should consider as they move forward with their Environmental Assessment (EA). 

Yes, the park has correctly stated that under the NEPA process, we will ALL get another chance to comment.  That comment period will be the one where the park lets us know WHAT decision they have made.  Then we will get to comment on THAT.  There will be no way to let them know what you wished they considered at that point.

Please note that your comments must be received by JANUARY 31, 2023.  The park did not state they had to be postmarked by January 31, 2023.  They said RECEIVED.  IF you have to mail your letter and supporting documentation, make sure that you send it to be received by January 31, 2023.  Sending it via certified mail is also a good option as well.  Since we are so close to the last day to comment, if it is possible, please send your comments through the park’s website.

Please share your comments online no later than January 31, 2023, online through the PEPC website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP

Or in writing to:
Superintendent
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/

We also welcome both individuals and organizations that have written their comment letters to share them with us.  We will be adding them to a new section of our website!  You can email us yours at info@chwha.org.

Also – DON’T FORGET! There are also ONLY 2 DAYS left to grab your “I stand with the wild horses of TRNP” shirt!  Get your order in by January 31st here: https://stores.logomagicinc.com/savetrnphorses/shop/home

We hope to see you in the arena!

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.

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And then there were three…

Can you believe that it has been 47 days since we all learned about Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the badlands of North Dakota?!

A LOT has happened over the last 47 days!  Together we have come so far in our fight for the freedom of these horses.  We have gained A LOT of support along the way too!

Thank you to our NEW friends at Oregon Wild Horse Organization!  Last night they held a Zoom event to help those of you who still needed to write their comments.  They will be posting their slide presentation on their website: https://www.oregon-wildhorse.org/?fbclid=IwAR1TTDOTGlCG196QZJNFmALPqaV6Y7sgaDbtfJkXg7HNiuHkXN4WyUwef4g

Thank you to our NEW friends at Save our Wild Horses.  They hosted an event that we gave a presentation at earlier this month.  You can view that presentation here: https://chwha.org/events/ You can also learn all about them and their 2nd Annual Save Our Wild Horses DC Conference that is scheduled for April 22-26 at Yotel DC in Washington DC on their website at https://saveourwildhorses.net/

Our friends at American Wild Horse Campaign have been banging the drums too helping to raise awareness about our iconic wild horses!  They have a call to action for you on their website: bit.ly/3ZWVpBZ

Our friends at The Cloud Foundation also weighed in and asked you to help fight for the amazing wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home!  www.thecloudfoundation.org

We have also made a lot of new friends within the North Dakota legislature!  Several of our North Dakota elected officials have stepped up and spoke out for our wild horses!  They have submitted Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR 4014 that has been assigned for hearings in the Energy & Natural Resources Committee! https://chwha.org/north-dakota-supports-trnps-wild-horses/ Make sure read our blog post yesterday. This weekend would be a GREAT time to send emails to those North Dakota house and senate members that are advocating with us for these amazing horses! https://chwha.org/2023/01/27/friday-gratitude/

We seem to have a whole new group of friends in the press as well!  We have done countless interviews over the last 47 days and worked hard to both raise awareness about these amazing wild horses and also keep  the story of their fight for their freedom in the news! https://chwha.org/chwha-in-the-news/

We have heard from The Dickinson Press (https://www.thedickinsonpress.com/opinion/dont-let-the-wild-horses-of-theodore-roosevelt-national-park-disappear?fbclid=IwAR3KkwTajoVMmUxe4oUe_m7Tr8pox94X0exP40arc8FkJFqO64LMuI8ZoXg) , The Fargo Forum (https://www.inforum.com/opinion/forum-editorial-north-dakota-officials-must-speak-out-to-keep-the-horses-at-theodore-roosevelt-national-park?fbclid=IwAR3-JWSglfScVc9ZHcOa-p9yAyYO7YSj0WJujKJBVaucOtLpVmm5rVxAaxo)  and countless other organizations throughout the state of North Dakota plead with Theodore Roosevelt National Park to allow the wild horses to stay in the park.  The Medora Foundation, & The Medora Chamber of Commerce as well as Governor Burgum are expected to make statements in favor of the horses early next week.

There are so many others that have been helping to fight for this amazing herd of horses!  The love for them is literally felt around the globe!

While there are only 3 days left for YOU to get your comment into the park, know that this fight for this iconic herd of wild horses is FAR FROM OVER! There are still A LOT of things being done behind the scenes and A LOT of people still fighting for these amazing horses in so many other ways!

Remember, the #1 thing you can do RIGHT NOW to help these horses is to make sure you get your comment letter to the park! There are ONLY 3 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:
Superintendent
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/

We also welcome both individuals and organizations that have written their comment letters to share them with us.  We will be adding them to a new section of our website!  You can email us yours at info@chwha.org.

Also – DON’T FORGET! There are also ONLY 3 DAYS left to grab your “I stand with the wild horses of TRNP” shirt!  Get your order in by January 31st here: https://stores.logomagicinc.com/savetrnphorses/shop/home

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.

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Friday Gratitude

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!

****WHEW*****

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: bbekkedahl@ndlegis.gov

Senator Elkin: jayelkin@ndlegis.gov

Senator Kessel: gkessel@ndlegis.gov

Senator Patten: dpatten@ndlegis.gov

Representative Kempenich: kkempenich@ndlegis.gov

Representative Steiner:  vsteiner@ndlegis.gov

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:
Superintendent
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.

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SCR 4014

We OFFICIALLY have a number! SCR 4014

A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to: Sen. Bekkedahl, Sen. Elkin, Rep. Kempenich, Sen. Kessel, Sen. Patten, Rep. Steiner!

TODAY SCR 4014 was formally introduced! 

We will find out soon if this will be scheduled for a hearing on February 9th or 10th.  It will be scheduled with the Energy & Natural Resources Committee. 

Stay tuned for another call to action when they turn on the Email campaign so that people can direct their voice to the committee!

For now, you can read all about it here: https://ndlegis.gov/assembly/68-2023/regular/bill-overview/bo4014.html?bill_year=2023&bill_number=4014&fbclid=IwAR27efX8XVDbmojfTrtAeMPB6SPwalX9eQH48U4c04HZfuv8P9jRPb0MpQ0

Thank you also to each one of you who made calls, sent emails and helped make this possible! THIS was NOT an easy task but WE DID IT!!!!

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT night!


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.

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They are ALL looking at YOU!

5 DAYS! We are down to the last FIVE DAYS! 

The 185 wild horses that currently call the park home CANNOT speak for themselves.   They CANNOT comment to the park for themselves.  And even IF they are able to sense the danger of their current situation, there is nothing they can do from the fenced boundaries that they currently live in.

These horses need you to be their voice more than ever!

Have you contacted our North Dakota federal legislators?  We have ALL of their contact info for you here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/  Senator Cramer told us last week that he was waiting to see what the people of North Dakota AND the people who visit the park have to say about the park’s proposal.  Make sure he hears from you!

Have you contacted Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland?  Have you contacted National Park Service Director, Charles F. “Chuck” Sams III?  Have you contacted the Regional Director of the National Park Service, Bert Frost?  We have all of their contact information for you here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/18/call-to-action-10/

Most importantly…

Have you sent your comments into Theodore Roosevelt National Park yet? We have a sample comment letter that you can customize here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/20/sample-comment-letter/

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

THIS comment period is extremely important!  THIS is when the park will decide what additional alternatives to consider – besides the three they gave us.  It will be too late in the next comment period to let them know what YOU want for the future of this herd.  The next comment period will be when they let us know their decision.

Flax, Boomer, Anisak, Red Face, Sundance, Sumac, Circus, Sidekick an all of the other wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home are counting on you. 

Please don’t let them down.


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.

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6 DAYS – Support is coming in many ways!

Hello and Happy Wednesday to everyone!

Just 6 – SIX DAYS left to get your comments into the park!

I know a lot of you were very disappointed that the Superintendent did NOT grant our North Dakota legislators an extension.  Please understand that they are STILL working on the resolution.  Nothing changes with that aspect. 

There are also A LOT of people working behind the scenes to try to help save these horses. 

People like Patrick Beers. 

We were contacted last week by Mr. Patrick Beers.  He shared with us the following letter and information that he sent to both Theodore Roosevelt National Park Superintendent Angie Richman AND The Theodore Roosevelt Library Foundation. 

As of this morning, he has not received any response.

I think we will ALL agree, Mr. Beers went above and beyond in his attempts to save the herd of horses currently living wild and free in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

THANK YOU, Patrick Beers!

Have you done your part?
PLEASE make sure that you share your comments no later than January 31, 2023, online through the PEPC website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP

Or in writing to:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

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.

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Good Afternoon Senator Cramer

This afternoon one of our followers alerted me to The Jay Thomas Show – a radio show that North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer is on regularly in a “Town Hall” fashion. 

I immediately called in and was the FIRST caller on today’s show!

If you click on this link and fast forward to 18:27, that is where my time on the air starts.  https://www.wdayradionow.com/show-episodes/59921-1-24-23-the-jay-thomas-show?fbclid=IwAR2Sy4jUkYUCRySpJY0-plnaMld4df3UMBIl5h3YerbTotkj3BPlEV_Nc-U

Thank  you Senator Cramer for taking the time to talk to me today.  I may not like everything he had to say, but kudos to him for making the time to talk to his constituents.

Please make sure you are calling our federal legislators – IN WHATEVER WAY YOU CAN! – see our Call to Action #9 for a list of ALL of their contact info: https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/

And the #1 thing that we can ALL do:

PLEASE make sure that you share your comments no later than January 31, 2023, online through the PEPC website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP

Or in writing to:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

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.

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park to ND’s legislators: NO Extension!

As you know, the North Dakota legislators are in the process of drafting a resolution asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to keep the wild horses IN the park’s boundaries. 

As you also know, Representative Josh Boschee wrote a letter to the National Park Service asking for an extension to the comment period to allow our North Dakota state legislators to formulate a proper response, either in the form of a letter or a resolution.

TODAY, Representative Boschee received the following letter from Superintendent Angie Richman letting him know that Theodore Roosevelt National Park would NOT grant an extension for our legislators so that they could go through their process to introduce an vote on the resolution.

The legislators WILL still be moving forward with the resolution.  Representative Boschee spoke with me today and said that Senator Jay Elkin was taking the lead and pretty much all of the legislators on the western part of the state were now involved in some capacity – ALL IN A GOOD WAY!  This includes adding to the resolution to keep the longhorn cattle in the North Unit.

The fight is far from over.  Please make sure you are calling our federal legislators (I TALKED TO ONE TODAY – more later on that!) see our Call to Action #9 https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/

And the #1 thing that we can ALL do:

PLEASE make sure that you share your comments no later than January 31, 2023, online through the PEPC website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP

Or in writing to:


Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

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.

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7 Days – Checklist

We are on day 43 since Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced their plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of horses from the park.  There are ONLY 7 DAYS left to get your comments into the park!

Can we make a difference?

Together, WE already have!

We decided to start local: Governor Burgum, and our state legislators. Governor Burgum stated he would have a comment after the park’s January 12th virtual meeting.  It has been suggested that his comment will be in support of the horses staying in the park. 

Our state legislators have shown that they are just as outraged as we are about the park’s plans to eliminate the entire herd of horses from the park as all of us are.  They have heard each one of you that has called, emailed, or written them with your concerns for these horses! They have also seen all of the “letters to the editor” in our local newspapers. 

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates (CHWHA) has submitted a draft resolution to our state legislators.  A final version has been sent for legal drafting and is expected to be returned to Senator Jay Elkin this week.  I spoke with Senator Elkin yesterday.  He is sponsoring the resolution and said that he was “happy to carry this water bucket” for us.  He did give me some work to do for him to help fill those buckets 😉 That is one of today’s projects.  We will update you on what committee the resolution will go before and any other details as we get them.  You can view the draft resolution we submitted here: https://chwha.org/north-dakota-supports-trnps-wild-horses/

THAT is something that each one of you helped to make a reality!  I have said before that there were several times over the last few weeks when it seemed like we were building some momentum for a resolution and then things seemed to go backwards and then forward again.  Give yourselves a pat on the back!  This was NOT an easy task to complete!

CHWHA gave a presentation on the NEPA Process and how to make your comment count.  You can view the recording here: https://chwha.org/events/

CHWHA has done all we can to keep the story of the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the news over the last 43 days and there is more reporting coming out in the week ahead so stay tuned!  We are working on updating the news section of our website, but there is still a lot for you to see here: https://chwha.org/chwha-in-the-news/

CHWHA gave you 10 Calls to Action to help fight for this herd.  Once we went through the proper channels getting state support, we asked you to reach out and help get support from our federal government.  The last 2 calls to action ask you to contact the North Dakota’s Congressman Kelly Armstrong and North Dakota Senators Kevin Cramer & John Hoeven.  ALL of their contact information is in our Call to Action #9: https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/

Call to Action #10 asked you to contacted leaders in the Department of The Interior and the National Park Service.  ALL of their contact information is here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/18/call-to-action-10/

CHWHA has worked with national organizations: American Wild Horse Campaign and The Cloud Foundation.  Know that there are several other organizations that are coming out in support of these iconic wild horses!  Stay tuned for more coming soon!

Each one of these things that we have all done TOGETHER is making a difference for the future of the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

Please know, this list is far from complete!  There are still a lot of other things being worked on in the background that we are not able to share – yet!  We have literally been advocating from every angle we could think of – and thank you to those of you who helped us find some of the new ways we didn’t think of!

We have one last ask for you.  It is the MOST IMPORTANT thing that each one of us can do – SEND YOU COMMENT TO THE PARK!!!

As one of our followers so gracefully stated – as part of the NEPA process, every single comment letter that you send to the park has to be scanned into their database.  Your voice is literally the voice of 186 horses that currently call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home!! MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT!! 

MAKE SURE THE PARK HEARS YOU LOUD AND CLEAR! 

CHWHA has even put together a sample letter that you can customize to fit what it is YOU want to see for the future of these iconic wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home!

THIS IS IMPORTANT:

YES!  There WILL be another public comment period BUT THIS is the ONLY PUBLIC comment period where you can suggest alternatives that you want them to consider. 

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT TO SEE FOR THE FUTURE OF THESE HORSES?

You have 7 (SEVEN) DAYS to let the park know. 

186 wild horses are counting on you.

PLEASE, don’t let them down.

A quote that has echoed in my head throughout this process is by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO REMAIN SILENT! We CANNOT stress that enough!

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

If you have already submitted your comment letter and would like to share it with us and our community, please email us at info@chwha.org.

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!


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.

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8 DAYS!!!!

There are just 8 days left to get your comments into Theodore Roosevelt National Park! Remember what the park is asking you: They have a proposed action they have introduced to the public that means total elimination of the 186 wild horses that call the park home.  They DO NOT want your opinions, your thoughts, or your feelings. They simply want to know WHAT other alternatives they should be considering as they move forward in the NEPA process that they have committed to.  The next step for TRNP will be to consider other alternatives they received and decide which of those they will take forward as they begin their Environmental Assessment.  We have posted a sample comment letter here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/20/sample-comment-letter/

We spoke with Representative Josh Boschee over the weekend.  He let us know that Superintendent Richman sent him an email acknowledging receipt of his letter requesting an extension to the comment period. We will keep you updated on the park’s response as soon as they reply.

ND State Senator Jay Elkin will be sponsoring the resolution, which is expected to come down from legal drafting this week.  We will share more information when it becomes available.

Our North Dakota state legislators have listened to everyone who contacted them asking them to do what they can to help keep the horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park wild and free. 

Since Theodore Roosevelt National Park is managed by the National Park Service, a federal agency under the Department of the Interior, any significant changes need federal support.

That federal support SHOULD come from the state of North Dakota! Please see our Call to Action #9: https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/

We are thankful to all of you who made phone calls and sent emails that made an impact on our North Dakota STATE legislators.  Now we need to do the same thing to get the attention of North Dakota’s federal delegates. 

More than anything, remember that the #1 CALL TO ACTION each one of us has is to get your comment letter to the park by January 31, 2023. THAT can only be done online through the PEPC website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP.

Or in writing to:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

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.

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9 DAYS!!!

Hello and Happy Sunday to everyone!

It was too nice of a day to NOT be out enjoying it in some capacity yesterday!  As we were leaving the park, we found Stallion Teton and his band grazing along the snow-covered landscape with some bison as the sun was setting. 

As I sat and watched Teton, I thought, you have no idea how many people are fighting for your right to continue to do this VERY simple thing that you have done throughout your 13 years of life – simply live wild and free within the boundaries of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 

There is no doubt and no question that Teton and the other 185 wild horses that call the park home only add to the rustic landscape of the Badlands of North Dakota.  These horses help recreate a scene that Theodore Roosevelt himself experienced when he was in this same place at a much different time in our history. 

Before we went out to the park, we went to the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Coffee with the Legislators”.  The video will be available Monday or Tuesday and we will share that link as soon as we have it.

We had the opportunity to speak with some different North Dakota house and senate members.  They are all as upset as we are at the Park’s actions.  A few of them have seen the resolution that we presented to Representative Josh Boschee.  Senator Jay Elkin said he will be sponsoring this resolution and Representative Mike Lefor said that he would be co-sponsoring the resolution.  Both said they would do whatever they could to help keep the horses in the park.  Senator Elkin said that the resolution is expected to come down from legal maybe Monday or Tuesday.  He is not sure what committee it will be presented to.  We will be testifying when the time comes and are recruiting others to testify as well. They, like the legislators we spoke with last week, believe this resolution will pass with no problems.

Again, we cannot thank each one of you enough!  There was a point in this resolution process where I wasn’t sure if this was even going to happen.  ALL of your calls, emails and letters WERE HEARD! Our state’s elected officials are now doing the job we elected them to do.  They are making sure that Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Governor Burgum and our federal delegates ALL hear what the people who live AND visit North Dakota are saying – “KEEP THE HORSES IN THE PARK!”

This is not THE answer for these horses.  We do believe that it will carry some weight and also hope it helps to open the eyes of our federal delegates as to what the people of North Dakota expect from them. 

These horses need your help to get assistance from our federal delegates.  Please make sure you contact their offices.  We gave all of their information in our Call to Action #9: https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/

We have just 9 DAYS left – yep!  We are officially in the single digits to help save this herd.

Remember, the #1 way that you can help this herd is to make sure you send your comment to the park!   

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

We have even given you a sample comment letter that you can customize with your own thoughts on what you want for the future of this herd: https://chwha.org/2023/01/20/sample-comment-letter/

Remember what the park is asking the public at this time: They have a PROPOSED ACTION = TOTAL removal of the horses from the park. They are considering 2 other alternatives and want to know from YOU what else they should be considering for the future of this herd as they move forward with the NEPA process. If you are NOT familiar with the NEPA process, the presentation we did earlier this month can be viewed here: https://chwha.org/events/

The NEXT public comment period will come when they share the results of their research. NOW is the time for you to let them know what YOU want to see for the future of this herd!

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!


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.

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40 Days

The sun actually rose this morning! I got to experience it in all its beautiful glory!  We have had sooo many days of fog that it gets easy to forget just how beautiful the sunrise is here in North Dakota!

I also feel like I have been walking through the fog here too!  Can you believe that it has been 40 days since Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced their plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of horses from the park?!

A lot has happened since December 12th!

With your help, we have reached our North Dakota State legislators!  Yesterday, they sent the resolution to be drafted!  It will be introduced and voted on in this session!  They heard your voices LOUD & CLEAR!

We have done everything we can to keep this story in the news – including volunteering to free-lance write for our local newspaper! We need to update the news section, but you can view some of those stories here: https://chwha.org/chwha-in-the-news/

This morning, we will attend another Coffee with the Legislators that is being hosted by the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce.  We will share that video when it becomes available.  If you have not seen last weeks, you can view it here:  https://youtu.be/GmrfOtRj0i8 Fast forward to 1:15 to see their response to our questions on the horses in TRNP – INCLUDING North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley (3rd speaker)!

We have TEN (10!) DAYS LEFT for this comment period! 

After this comment period is over, the park will begin the Environmental Assessment process.  That means they will look at the comments they received and decide what other alternatives to consider as they continue to work on their management plan for these horses. The next public comment period will be where you can comment on what they already decided. THIS comment period is for you to let them know WHAT to consider as they move forward with their plans!

Have you sent your comment letter in yet?  We posted a sample comment letter that you can customize to let them know what you want them to consider for the future of this herd.  You can view that post here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/20/sample-comment-letter/

In these last 10 days, we need to get some support from our federal government.  We gave you 2 additional “Calls to Action” this week.  One asks you to contact the Department of the Interior & The National Park Service https://chwha.org/2023/01/18/call-to-action-10/ and one asks you to contact North Dakota’s Federal Legislators https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/.  We will have another “Call to Action” for you next week so make sure you get these done over the weekend!

Remember, no matter what “Calls to Action” you choose to answer, the #1 Call to Action we ALL have is to send in our individual comments to the park!

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

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.

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In Defense of Superintendent Angie Richman

We have received several emails, comments and private messages that blame current Theodore Roosevelt National Park Superintendent Angie Richman for the current “Livestock Management Plan” that includes the park’s “proposed action” to eliminate ALL of the wild horses from the park’s boundaries.

The truth is that the budget for this management plan takes time to go through.  Remember, this is the federal government we are dealing with.  The proposal for this management plan came long before Angie Richman was Superintendent and the plans laid out in the current proposal are more than likely NOT just Angie Richman’s sentiments.  We actually do not know her personally, so we cannot speak for her personal views on wild horses or this management planning process.

This also is PROBABLY NOT a product of our current “cancel culture” or a result of things that Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying. 

The truth is that there is a very long history of Theodore Roosevelt National Park trying to get rid of the wild horses within their park’s boundaries since the very first wild horse round up in 1954.  There were even attempts to poison the horses in 1964.  Castle’s report shows the proof of the parks ongoing plans to eliminate the horses from 1954 through 1989.  You can view all of this on the TRNP Wild Horse Timeline on our website: https://chwha.org/trnp-wild-horse-timeline/

Castle’s report also shows that in the 1960’s, the 1970’s and the 1980’s the park tried to eliminate ALL of the horses from the park.  They were unsuccessful because PUBLIC OUTCRY and LOCAL PRESSURE was so overwhelming, they have allowed the horses to stay.

Someone said to me after the park’s virtual meeting last week, “They have already made up their minds.  We have no chance to change that.”

My reply was that I have to believe that together WE can make a difference.  Otherwise, why even bother fighting?

I spoke with Senator Hoeven’s office yesterday.  His position has not changed according to the person I spoke with.  He is still encouraging the public to comment and NOT taking a position.

I also spoke with Congressman Armstrong’s office.  He HAS taken a position to side with the park.  One that is EXTREMELY UNPOPULAR with people in North Dakota.

I am still waiting for Senator Cramer’s office to return my phone calls or emails. 

Have you contacted their offices?  They are in our “Call to Action #9”: https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/

With your help, we have brought this matter to the North Dakota State Legislators.  They have answered our calls, emails and letters!  TODAY, Representative Josh Boschee let me know that the draft resolution we submitted was sent in for formal drafting.  The resolution is expected to pass easily as it has bipartisan support.  Our state legislators are doing what they swore to do when we voted for them into their offices. 

Now it is time to remind North Dakota’s federally elected officials that they were voted into office to be the voice of the people of North Dakota.  They need to listen to the people who put them in office. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is under the jurisdiction of the federal government and we need support from the federal government to change the outcome for the wild horses that currently call the park home.

Instead of being upset with Angie Richman, please make sure you answer our “Call to Action #10”. https://chwha.org/2023/01/18/call-to-action-10/ Yesterday when I made calls to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s and NPS Director Charles Sams III offices, the voicemail boxes were FULL!  I smiled and thought of each one of you! 

Don’t forget Bert Frost.   He is the NPS regional director and someone who is probably more closely tied to what is happening at TRNP than Secretary Haaland and NPS Director Sams. 

MORE THAN ANYTHING!  Don’t forget that the park has tried this repeatedly over the years.  PUBLIC OUTCRY AND LOCAL PRESSURE always wins. 

Keep the pressure on.

We are HUGE fans of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We appreciate every person who works at TRNP that helps each and every visitor have an experience similar to what Theodore Roosevelt did when he was in this same area. What we are upset about are the current management practices for the wild horses that call the park home.

Have you submitted your comment to the park yet?

The MOST IMPORTANT call to action you can answer is to make sure you share your comments no later than January 31, 2023, online through the PEPC website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP

Or in writing to:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!


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.

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Sample Comment Letter

The #1 question we keep getting is how you can make your comment count. 

To help, we have drafted the following letter in an attempt to help you formulate your own letter.  Feel free to modify this letter in any way that helps you let the park know what other alternatives you feel they should consider as they move forward in their management planning process.  We do ask that you NOT simply copy and paste this letter in its entirety as that will lessen the impact of the letter.  This is being provided simply as a guide for your own comment letter.   

Dear Superintendent Richman:

I am writing today to comment on Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s proposed management plan that includes the wild horses that have called the park home long before the park was fenced in.

The first point I would like to make is that including the wild horses in a management plan for livestock is a huge mistake.  After reviewing the Theodore Roosevelt National Park 1984 General Management Plan that you and your staff referenced throughout the virtual public scoping meeting on January 12, 2023, it is clear that this document not only makes no reference to the wild horses as livestock, but also speaks of the need for a WILD HORSE MANAGEMENT PLAN. Further, the park’s own Foundation Document dated 2014 makes no reference to the wild horses as “livestock” but instead speaks of the need for a Feral Horse Management Plan.

Second, the degrading narrative about the horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park being nothing more than local ranch horses that went unclaimed when the park was fenced has been disproved throughout Dr. Castle McLaughlin’s 300+ page report entitled The History and Status of the Wild Horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Since the original copy of this report is in Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s possession, you already have the case for the historical and cultural significance of the wild horses that call the park home within that 300-page document. We also know by Theodore Roosevelt’s own writings that there was no question that he experienced wild horses running free through the Badlands of North Dakota.  This includes references that go beyond his ranching experiences.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park needs an alternative that takes into consideration the genetic viability of this herd.  Dr. Gus Cothran has stated repeatedly that 150-200 adult horses are needed for a genetically viable herd.  On January 5, 2023, Dr. Cothran spoke to North Dakota’s KX News (https://www.kxnet.com/news/state-news/cutting-the-herd-size-at-theodore-roosevelt-national-park-could-be-bad/) and reiterated this statement, this time speaking SPECIFICALLY with regards to the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro handbook also supports the need to maintain 150-200 horses for genetic viability.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park should develop and analyze an alternative in which ONLY reversible birth control is administered to the herd with the following conditions: (1) older mares should only be given birth control where they have a proven genetic representation in the herd; (2) any birth control program should be rotated to reduce the chance of permanent sterilization; and (3) treated mares should be monitored for any health or behavior changes.

Assateague Island is successfully implementing its birth control program with PZP, with marked reductions in population growth and better body condition scores within their herd. As a result, that park has added two new age groups to the herd dynamics because they now have horses living beyond the age of 25.

A similar birth control program should be implemented in this wild horse management plan. To the extent that a successful birth control program is implemented, TRNP should stop managing the herd by numbers only and make sure that science and genetics are guiding the use of birth control on ANY horse in this herd.

To the extent that culling the herd is required, TRNP should develop and analyze an alternative that makes any wild horse removals contingent on rigorous genetic monitoring; that is, an alternative whereby horses are removed only if their removal would not negatively impact the genetic health of the entire herd.

As TRNP is well aware, prior gathers have largely prioritized removing foals from the Park due to their desirability in subsequent adoptions/sales. However, the National Academy of Sciences Report: BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward (https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/13511/using-science-to-improve-the-blm-wild-horse-and-burro-program), concluded that “the absence of young would alter the age structure of the population and could thereby affect harem dynamics.” NAS Report at 134. Similarly, citing a study of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses which looked at the impacts of birth control and removals on the herd, 21 the NAS Report found that “management strategies based on removal and fertility control were most effective in achieving management goals” but should focus on “strategies that rely less on removal and more on fertility control.” NAS Report at 177. That Report also “highlighted the importance of management actions to delay age at first reproduction and increase generation length to reduce population growth.”

Throughout the January 12, 2023, meeting, you and your staff cited that 36 CFR § 2.60 will not allow horses to stay on NPS property.  Communication with the Chief Resource Manager at Assateague Island National Seashore states that their horses are allowed to stay on NPS lands because they classified them as “wildlife” instead of “livestock”.  Since there is no clarity on how/when TRNP determined this “livestock” classification for the horses in the park, if TRNP went back to prior classifications they used on these horses, that would resolve this issue. 

Additionally, you and your staff were quick to cite the NPS’s Organic Act and your own Management Policies for reasons to support your “proposed action” that would allow for no horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Those same policies also state that where certain species like wild horses are “maintained to meet specific, identified management needs,” like cultivating a historic setting, the nonnative “species used must be known to be historically significant, to have existed in the park during the park’s period of historical significance, to be a contributing element to a cultural landscape, or to have been commonly used in the local area at that time.” NPS, Management Policies at 47 (2006), https://bit.ly/3tvupvi.  Again, within your possession is Dr. Castle McLaughlin’s report that speaks to the historical and cultural significance of these horses.

Furthermore, NPS, and the National Park system as a whole, were established by Congress in 1916 through the Organic Act. See 54 U.S.C. § 100101 et seq. Unlike other federal land management statutes (e.g., the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, 43 U.S.C §§ 1701(a), 1702(c)) that require a balance between conservation and extractive uses, the Organic Act focuses exclusively on the preservation of the nation’s park lands and the specific resources found therein. In relevant part, the Organic Act provides that NPS:

“Shall promote and regulate the use of the National Park System by means and measures that conform to the fundamental purpose of the System units, which purpose is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in the System units and to provide for the enjoyment of the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

54 U.S.C. § 100101(a).

Given the Organic Act’s strict preservation mandate, NPS’s regulations implementing the Act broadly prohibit the removal of any wildlife, dead or alive, from the boundaries of a National Park. See 36 C.F.R. § 2.1; see also id. § 2.2 (NPS regulations concerning wildlife, which include a prohibition against “taking” and/or intentionally “disturbing” wildlife found within a park unit). According to NPS, “wildlife means any member of the animal kingdom and includes a part, product, egg or offspring thereof, or the dead body or part thereof, except fish.” 36 C.F.R. § 1.4. Notably, NPS’s regulations pertaining to wildlife take do not draw any distinction between native and non-native (i.e., invasive) species, although the latter may be removed from a park unit under specified conditions. See NPS, Management Policies at 48 (2006), https://bit.ly/3tvupvi.

NPS’s regulations, however, contain an exception for “livestock” animals. The “pasturing or grazing of livestock of any kind in a park area” is generally prohibited but may be permitted “as a necessary and integral part of a recreational activity or required in order to maintain a historic scene”—so long those animals have been “designated” as such by the responsible park official. 36 C.F.R. § 2.60(a)(3).

The late historian, Robert Utley, spent part of his life trying to help right the apparent wrongs done to the wild horses of TRNP. His position is significant because he actually penned many of the policies that have shaped the National Park Service. Robert Utley’s position has always been that Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 applies: Section 106 of NHPA granted legal status to historic preservation in federal planning, decision-making, and project execution. Section 106 requires all federal agencies to take into account the effects of their actions on historic properties and provide a reasonable opportunity to comment on those actions and the manner in which federal agencies are taking historic properties into account in their decisions. (Summarized at https://ncshpo.org/resources/section-106/)

Finally, there can be no question that an EA is insufficient to analyze the full extent of the impacts of and alternatives to TRNP’s formation of the wild horse management plan. TRNP must prepare an EIS to evaluate this plan. As TRNP is aware, NEPA obliges agencies to prepare an EIS for any major federal action significantly affecting the environment.

For the reasons clearly stated above, I am asking that as you and your staff begin the Environmental Assessment aspect of this management planning process that you consider the above valid scientific points as well as your own NPS policies, as you formulate new alternatives to consider.

Sincerely,

We hope this helps you formulate your own comment letter to the park.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing is to make sure you comment!

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!


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.

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How to make YOUR comment count

The #1 question we have been getting is about WHAT to comment. 

Let’s look at what Theodore Roosevelt National Park has said they are looking for from YOU during this public comment period:

You are invited to submit comments on the information in this newsletter, the preliminary alternatives, proposed action, and what the EA should address and analyze.

THAT is what they want to hear from the public at this time. 

Think to yourself – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE WITH REGARDS TO THE WILD HORSES IN THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATIONAL PARK?

The park continues:

Comments that provide relevant and new information with sufficient detail are most useful. Comments that will be considered are those that present information that can be used when developing alternatives, present reasonable alternatives, or present information that can be used when the NPS considers impacts of alternatives.

This is the part we don’t want everyone to get bogged down with.  If you aren’t or have never been a scientist, don’t try to be one now!

THAT doesn’t mean you can’t comment! You can have a great comment and still keep it simple!

Also know that Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates, American Wild Horse Campaign, The Cloud Foundation and other organizations and individuals WILL be submitting extensive comments to the park.  That by no means is suggesting that you should NOT comment anyway!

So what should your comment letter look like?

For example, if you want to comment about the three alternatives the park gave and why those are NOT genetically viable options for this herd, one of the United States leading wild horse geneticists. Dr. Gus Cothran,  answered that for all of us: https://www.kxnet.com/news/state-news/cutting-the-herd-size-at-theodore-roosevelt-national-park-could-be-bad/

The same link above will help you answer WHY Theodore Roosevelt National Park should consider an alternative that includes a MINIMUM of 150-200 ADULT horses in the park. 

Those are not opinions that we made up.  Dr. Gus Cothran weighed in SPECIFICALLY about the Theodore Roosevelt National Park wild horses. 

Just make sure what you are sharing are FACTS – NOT OPINIONS. 

American Wild Horse Campaign has also listed the following points that you can use for comments and things the park should be considering in their horse management plan:

Due to the controversial nature of the LMP and the myriad of legal, environmental, economic, and social issues it raises – which have not been evaluated, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required, and should consider and analyze the following alternatives:

  • Change the designation of the Theodore Roosevelt horses from “livestock” to “wildlife.” The NPS has never explained why they’re designated as livestock and doesn’t acknowledge paleontological evidence and mitochondrial DNA analysis supporting the fact that wild horses are a reintroduced native species to this continent.
  • Set a minimum herd size of 150 horses to ensure a genetically viable herd, as recommended by not only by Dr. Gus Cothran, geneticist and professor emeritus at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine but also as acknowledged in Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Handbook.
  • If “new blood” needs to be brought into the herd, introduce horses who are historically significant to the TRNP and prioritize the Nokota horses.  A 2018 study from Texas A&M found that the historic herd is at risk of inbreeding (even at a number of 70-75 horses!) and recommended introducing new mares and changing removal strategies to preserve genetics and lineages.
  • Given concerns about its potential for permanent sterilization and injection site abscesses, eliminate the use of GonaCon for the fertility control program. When administering any fertility control program, the NPS must consider the herd’s genetics and bloodlines as well as the safety of mares.  Instead of GonaCon, the NPS should implement a fertility control program using PZP that has been proven to be reversible and safe for the mare.

You can sign AWHC’s letter here: bit.ly/3QONMJJ

The Cloud Foundation has also shared some good points for your comment letter:

– Preserving the TRNP horses MUST be a cornerstone of the Park’s livestock management plan, since they contributed to President Teddy Roosevelt’s wonder at the natural world, leading to his CREATION of the very FIRST NATIONAL PARKS.
– Horses have lived wild in TRNP for generations and MILLIONS of Park visitors view these animals as an integral part of the cultural heritage of the Badlands.
– These horses must be managed to preserve natural behaviors just as Teddy Roosevelt would have experienced. He would have seen stallions protecting their families, foals with their mothers.
– Protect the GENETIC HEALTH of the horses—the minimum population should be 150+. By allowing the horses to use additional areas of the Park, the herd can and should be managed at a HIGHER MINIMUM POPULATION LEVEL.

I was also talking to our legal team today and they said that since we sent in 15# of supporting documentation last time, we DO NOT have to send it again.  We can assume the park has it and they have to reference it for this comment period too!  That means you can quote from any of the documents listed in the Save the TRNP Wild Horses section of our website without having to send them in!: https://chwha.org/save-the-trnp-wild-horses/

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates will be submitting a comment letter similar to our last one.  Our legal team is working on updates to our comment letter so that it reflects the gravity of the new proposed alternatives.  You can view our last comment letter here:

There are NO LIMITS on how many times you can comment.  There is also no prerequisite for how long your comment should be.  Please do not let yourself get bogged down because you think that you have to have a long scientific comment to submit.  Your comments can be as simple as any or all of the bullet points above.  Just make sure you are sharing FACTS on alternatives that you want them to consider.  THAT is all they are asking for – WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE CONSIDER?

The park explained in their report about the last public comment period what they did with the comments they received:

The NPS developed a coding structure to help sort comments into logical groups by topics and issues. The coding structure was derived from an analysis of the range of topics discussed during internal NPS review, past planning documents, and the comments themselves. The structure was designed to capture all comment content rather than to restrict or exclude any ideas.

The NPS used its PEPC database to manage the comments. The database stores the full text of all correspondence and allows each comment to be coded by topic and issue. Some outputs from the database include tallies of the total number of correspondence and comments received, sorting and reporting of comments by a particular topic or issue, and demographic information regarding the sources of the comments.

The analysis of the public comments involved assigning codes to statements made by the public in their submitted letters. The NPS read and analyzed all comments, including those of a technical nature; those expressing opinions, feelings, and preferences of one element or one potential alternative over another; and comments of a personal or philosophical nature.

That being said, keep in mind the park has a SPECIFIC ask from the public at this time:

Comments that will be considered are those that present information that can be used when developing alternatives, present reasonable alternatives, or present information that can be used when the NPS considers impacts of alternatives.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing is to make sure you comment!

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

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.

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We are ALL Fighting for you!

We are so happy to announce the support we are getting from our North Dakota legislators.  We have updated our North Dakota supports TRNP’s wild horses page: https://chwha.org/north-dakota-supports-trnps-wild-horses/YOU WILL WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU READ THIS!  There have been some INTERESTING developments today!

More than anything, we hope this helps you see that your calls, letters and emails are working!  It may not always look like it – BUT THEY ARE!  As Heather from Save Our Wild Horses says: “Every letter matters!”

This week we have given you two additional Calls to Action.  This time we are seeking support on a federal level.

Please make sure that you contact North Dakota’s federal delegates in our Call to Action #9: https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/

Call to Action #10 asked you to contact our federal representatives at the Department of the Interior/National Park Service: https://chwha.org/2023/01/18/call-to-action-10/

Remember that NO call to action you are taking replaces the #1 Call to Action we ALL have:

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!


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.

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Call to Action #10

Today we have a new Call to Action for you.  In our attempts to get the attention of members of the federal government that can help the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, today we are asking you to contact Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland.

The National Park Service falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior.

You can email Deb Haaland through her at Debra.Haaland@doi.gov and also through her website: https://www.doi.gov/contact-us

You can also call their office at (202) 208-3100.

Respectfully let Secretary Haaland know:

The exclusion of wild horses who reside in National Parks from the 1970 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act is endangering these beloved horses.  Further, inconsistencies in the management of wild horses on National Park Lands means that some are treated as a respected cultural resource and others, such as the Theodore Roosevelt National Park wild horses, are facing complete elimination from the Badlands landscape because park officials refuse to see their value.  These wild horses need to be protected too!  Please let me know how your office plans to intervene to allow the horses to continue to live wild and free in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  These wild horses are an asset to the state of North Dakota’s tourism industry and are instrumental in recreating President Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences in the state. 

The second part of today’s Call to Action is to CALL the National Park Service Director, Charles F. “Chuck” Sams III at 202-208-6843

Ask Director Sams what he will be doing to help keep the wild horses IN Theodore Roosevelt National Park so that part visitors can continue to experience the beauty of the Badlands of North Dakota the same way Theodore Roosevelt did.

The last part of today’s Call to Action is to contact the Regional Director of the National Park Service, Bert Frost.  His information is:

Bert Frost, Regional Director
National Park Service
601 Riverfront Drive
Omaha, NE 68102-4226
402-661-1736
Bert_Frost@nps.gov

Respectfully let Mr. Frost know:

The classification of the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park as “livestock” was an arbitrary decision made by the Theodore Roosevelt National Park staff and must be changed to be consistent with the management of the wild horses at Assateague Island National Seashore.  Those horses are classified as wildlife and as such do not violate 36 CFR § 2.60.  If the wild horses are removed, I will not visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Please let me know how your office plans to correct this situation before it is too late for the horses.

Remember the #1 way you can help this herd is to make sure you comment to the park!

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

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.

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North Dakota State Resolution

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has just submitted the following proposed concurrent resolution to one of our North Dakota state legislators. They will review and modify the document if need be and take care of all of the legalities associated with it. The concurrent resolution will be submitted by January 26th to be voted on during this 2023 North Dakota legislative session.

THANK YOU! To everyone who answered the call to contact our state legislators! Thank you also to our wild horse lobbyist friends for all of your help and support! Together WE made a difference!

REMEMBER! This is just ONE PIECE of the photo being framed for the fight for the wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park! The BIGGEST thing you can do to help them is make sure they have your comment! We will be sharing more this week on how to make your comments count!

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Thank you for your support!


A concurrent resolution urging the U.S. National Park Service to preserve the horses residing within Theodore Roosevelt National Park and urging the U.S. Congress to assist with preserving this historic herd. 

WHEREAS the National Park Service has stated the Service’s intentions to eliminate the horses from Theodore Roosevelt National Park; and

WHEREAS the National Park Service was established by Congress in 1916 through the Organic Act (54 U.S.C. § 100101 et seq.), which provides that the National Park Service “shall . . . conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life [and] provide for the enjoyment of the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations;” and

WHEREAS the horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are acknowledged, by the National Park Service among others, as historically and culturally significant to the State of North Dakota and the history of the United States; and

WHEREAS the horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park were a significant part of President Theodore Roosevelt’s experience in the State of North Dakota, now serving as a living legacy to President Roosevelt, and are important to maintaining the historical setting of his era; and

WHEREAS the late Robert Utley, former Chief Historian for the National Park Service has repeatedly stated that the horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park were an inherently significant resource that fell under Sec. 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966; and

WHEREAS the horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park bring tourism to the state and elimination of the herd poses concerns for the local businesses and negatively impacts preservation and appreciation of our state’s history; and

WHEREAS the last public comment period for this management planning process in April of 2022 generated 1,774 responses from all 50 states and 58 countries, showing national and international interest in the horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park; 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF NORTH DAKOTA, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN: 

That the sixty-eighth Legislative Assembly urges the National Park Service to preserve the horses residing within Theodore Roosevelt National Park and urges the U.S. Congress to assist with preserving this historic herd.


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.

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What should my comment letter look like?

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in the process of putting together a “livestock” management plan for the wild horses that call the park home. 

So what SHOULD you comment?

If you do not understand the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process, please watch our presentation that explains that: https://chwha.org/events/. This post will assume you understand the NEPA process.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park has stated that they  are PROPOSING AN ACTION: Phased Reduction of Herds to No Livestock

BECAUSE of their PROPOSED ACTION, the park is required to follow the guidelines of NEPA which include:

#1 – they have to look at a “no action” alternative – that is why we have Alternative A – No Action Alternative: Continued herd management under the 1978 EA and 1970 Management Plan

They also have to consider REASONABLE alternatives.  They have only given us one: Alternative B – Action Alternative: Expedited Reduction of Herds to No Livestock

You have until January 31, 2023 to tell them WHAT ELSE THEY SHOULD CONSIDER.

From the parks newsletter:

Comments that cannot be considered include comments for or against an action without any reasoning, comments that only agree or disagree with NPS policy, comments without justification or supporting data, comments that take the form of vague, open-ended questions, and form letters. Comments are not accepted by fax, e-mail or in any other form.

So what CAN we comment?  The park has told us that too:

Public participation is an important element of the planning process, and we welcome your comments, concerns, issues, suggestions, and potential topics for consideration. You are invited to submit comments on the information in this newsletter, the preliminary alternatives, proposed action, and what the EA should address and analyze. Comments that provide relevant and new information with sufficient detail are most useful. Comments that will be considered are those that present information that can be used when developing alternatives, present reasonable alternatives, or present information that can be used when the NPS considers impacts of alternatives.

Think of it this way:

The park is about to do research on what the best plan is for the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home. 

WHAT OTHER REASONABLE ALTERNATIVES DO YOU WANT THEM TO CONSIDER?

WHY?

WHAT PROOF/DATA/SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION DO YOU HAVE TO SHOW WHY THEY SHOULD CONSIDER YOUR REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE?

This is NOT an argument to be won.  If we all comment the same thing letting the park know what we disagree with 36 CFR § 2.60 – they don’t care – they told us that clearly. 

PLEASE DO NOT share your stories about the horses here – that is NOT what they are asking for.  They don’t care – they told us that. They want alternatives to consider – period. Another organization is asking for those – NOT THE PARK!

ALL THE PARK WANTS IS WHAT THEY SHOULD CONSIDER.

They are about to start researching those options.

We have less than 14 days to tell them. 

We will be spending time over the next few weeks sharing things that you can use to write a good comment letter. A good place to start is with what American Wild Horse Campaign gave us a few weeks ago to use as comments: https://secure.everyaction.com/uPCRult4YUaFYzVPO7liHA2?fbclid=IwAR20QUZGXcOAB3tr_1cL62X_wwe2CBCigPL1mnap_heRVQ01MAJKC40Syzs

If you already sent in your comments – feel free to send more as we go along.  No one said you only had ONE chance to send in comments.  Think of it more like speak now or forever hold your peace.  The Environmental Assessment process starts after the park finishes their review of the comments. When they come back and tell us WHAT they will be doing, it will be too late for you to tell them what you wish they would have considered.

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

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.

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HOW Assateague Island gets to keep their wild horses

We have shared on our Facebook page, and we will also share here ~

This is the meeting we attended last Saturday that was hosted by our Dickinson Chamber of Commerce – Coffee with the Legislators. If you fast forward to 1:15 you will see the portion where we ask questions about the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park to our state legislators, including Attorney General Drew Wrigley. You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/GmrfOtRj0i8

This speaks to the importance of getting the support of our federal delegates. Have you checked “Call to Action #9” off your list yet? https://chwha.org/2023/01/16/15-days-call-to-action-9/

Also…

You may recall that it WAS asked in the meeting that Theodore Roosevelt National Park held last week how it is that the wild horses at Assateague Island National Seashore are able to stay in THAT national park but the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Pare are not.

Blake McCann answered for the park and said essentially that he could not speak to the management at Assateague. We would have to ask them for that answer.

You know what we said Sunday – FACT CHECK everything.

And so, we did just that!

We reached out to the Chief of Resource Management at Assateague Island National Seashore. He is a pretty transparent guy and is always willing to answer questions we have asked.

We asked: How is it that Assateague Island is allowed to have horses since it is a violation of 36 CFR § 2.60 and the NPS Organic Act (54 U.S.C. §§ 100101 et seq.) 

He replied: The Assateague horse herd is managed as wildlife, not as livestock, so 36 CFR § 2.60 does not apply.

There you have it. Since we have no idea how/when Theodore Roosevelt National Park decided to change the wild horses in the park from any other name or classification they ever did for these horses TO livestock. AND since they have yet to produce ANY document (aside from “we said so”) to explain it, we believe it should be as simple as a change in the wording being used to describe one of the greatest resources the state of North Dakota has.

Remember that NO call to action you are taking replaces the #1 Call to Action we ALL have:

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Thank you for your support and make it a GREAT day!


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.

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15 DAYS! Call to Action #9

Hello and Happy Monday to everyone!

Our blog posts yesterday seemed to stir some attention.  That is good! We are glad you are hopefully SEEING things in a new light this morning.

That being said, there is STILL A LOT of work to do in the next 15 days to help save the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.

In light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day we thought this quote was appropriate as we give you a new Call to Action: “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

We hope that you will do what is right for the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

TODAY is Call to Action #9

Contact North Dakota’s federally elected officials: Senator John Hoeven, Senator Kevin Cramer and Congressman Kelly Armstrong. 

Just a reminder, their offices are probably closed today, but that does not mean that you cannot make sure they have your message waiting for them when they get into the office tomorrow!

Congressman Kelly Armstrong is the only one of our state’s three federally elected officials that has taken a position on Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s announcement to eliminate ALL of the wild horses from the park:

“I have confidence that the staff experts at the TRNP will make an appropriate, science-based decision to ensure that future generations can enjoy the park. The House Committee on Natural Resources has jurisdiction over the NPS. While I do not serve on this committee, please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should related legislation come before for me a vote.”

Please contact Congressman Kelly Armstrong and respectfully remind him that he represents the voice of the people of North Dakota and the people of North Dakota DO NOT agree with what he has stated.  If you are NOT from North Dakota, this would be a good time for you to also voice your opinion to the Congressman and let him know that if the wild horses are removed from Theodore Roosevelt National Park, you will join the growing list of people who will not visit the state and can guarantee that North Dakota’s #3 economic source will most certainly be negatively impacted if the horses are removed. 

You can contact Congressman Kelly Armstrong at any or all of the following ways:

You can contact him through his email form on his website: https://armstrong.house.gov/contact/email-me

You can also call or write to Congressman Armstrong at any or ALL of his offices:

Washington, D.C. Office
2235 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC  20515
Phone: (202) 225-2611

Bismarck Office
U.S. Federal Building
220 E Rosser Avenue
Room 228
Bismarck, ND  58501
Phone: (701) 354-6700

Fargo Office
3217 Fiechtner Drive
Suite B
Fargo, ND  58103
Phone: (701) 353-6665

You can also email Congressman Armstrong at Mary.Christy@mail.house.gov

Senator Kevin Cramer has NOT taken a position and has been encouraging the public to take advantage of this comment period.  The park’s meeting is over, and they clearly stated their intentions.  It is time for Kevin Cramer to take a position.  He either sides with the overwhelming calls of public outcry from the people who voted him into office and that he swore to represent OR he stands with the detrimental decision that Theodore Roosevelt National Park is making.  Please be respectful in your comments. 

If you are NOT from the state of North Dakota, you can STILL contact Senator Cramer.  Let his office know how often you visit North Dakota and how that will change if the wild horses are removed from the park. 

Senator Cramer can also be emailed through his website: https://www.cramer.senate.gov/contact/contact-kevin

He can also be contacted by phone or mail at any or ALL of his offices:

Fargo Office:
306 Federal Building
657 Second Avenue N
Fargo, ND 58102

(701) 232-5094

Minot Office:
105 Federal Building
100 First Street SW
Minot, ND 58701

(701) 837-6141

Bismarck Office:
328 Federal Building
220 East Rosser Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58501

(701) 699-7020

Grand Forks Office:
114 Federal Building
102 North 4th Street
Grand Forks, ND 58203

(701) 699-7030

Williston Office:
125 Main Street, Suite #217
Williston, ND 58801

(701) 441-7230

Washington DC Office:
330 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-2043

Senator Cramer’s office can be emailed at: Jason_Stverak@cramer.senate.gov, Jody_Link@cramer.senate.gov, kris@kevincramer.org

Additionally – Senator Cramer holds weekly Town Hall meetings.  You can find that schedule here: https://www.cramer.senate.gov/news/weekly-town-hall-schedule?fbclid=IwAR3O-M8owaNrPaQIOkyuAy6FI9K6GLmt5rnuiCIkbSbMVo8oKpuiUREQPEE

Senator John Hoeven also has NOT taken a position and has only been encouraging the public to comment to the park by January 31, 2023. 

Senator Hoeven is a bit different.  He serves on the US Senate Subcommittee for National Parks. 

As a reminder, the Shackleford Banks wild horses from Cape Lookout National Seashore (another National Park with wild horses) are protected under United States Public Law.  That came about because ONE federal legislator cared enough to start a process to make sure those horses were protected. 

Senator Hoeven can be a hero to the state of North Dakota and help save our wild horses.  His voice most definitely carries some weight within our state and within the committee he serves on. 

EVERYONE should contact Senator Hoeven’s offices.

You can email Senator Hoeven through his website: https://www.hoeven.senate.gov/contact/email-the-senator/form

You can also call or mail his any or ALL of his offices:

Again, please be respectful when you call.  Ask Senator Hoeven what his position is on the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Tell him that you would like him to make sure these horses always have a home in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and given the history of the park trying SO HARD to constantly eliminate them, the ONLY way we will know they are truly protected is under Public Law, similar to the way the Shackleford Banks wild horses are protected. 


Bismarck
U.S. Federal Building
220 East Rosser Ave.
Room 312
Bismarck, ND 58501
P: 701-250-4618


Grand Forks
Federal Building
102 North Fourth St.
Room 108
Grand Forks, ND 58203
P: 701-746-8972


Western North Dakota
204 N. Main St.
#516
Watford City, ND 58854
P: 701-609-2727


Fargo
123 Broadway North
Suite 201
Fargo, ND 58102
P: 701-239-5389

Minot
100 1st Street SW
Suite 107
Minot, ND 58701
P: 701-838-1361

Washington, D.C.
338 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
P: 202-224-2551

You can also email the Senator’s office here: Monty_Rauser@hoeven.senate.gov, Shari_Buck@hoeven.senate.gov, tony_eberhard@hoeven.senate.gov, daniel_auger@hoeven.senate.gov


Remember that NO call to action you are taking replaces the #1 Call to Action we ALL have:

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Thank you for your support and make it a GREAT day!


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.

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What about the bison?

I have a friend named Wally.  Wally is an interesting guy because he used to run the horse-riding concession in the park.  Like most of us, Wally has been almost literally screaming from the rooftops to anyone who will listen about how Theodore Roosevelt National Park has stated they plan to ELIMINATE the ENTIRE herd of horses from the park. 

People like Wally, Frank Kuntz, Patrick Springer, Castle McLaughlin and Robert Utley are sooo interesting to talk to because they can share a history that many of us were not here to experience.  A lot of that history includes the park’s never-ending plan -that NO ONE can understand – to eliminate the horses from the park. 

Wally calls, texts and emails me pretty regularly.  The other morning, he sent me a text that said “For giggles, Google are bison livestock”

So I did!

I didn’t just giggle – I literally LMAO!

Before I go on, I want to say that bison are amazing creatures in their own right.  We are in no way against bison being part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  It is obvious that they, along with horses, elk, deer, etc. were ALL part of Theodore Roosevelt’s experience in the Badlands of North Dakota.

According to the North Dakota Game & Fish Department, the state of North Dakota classifies bison as LIVESTOCK!

Right…right… the whole state/federal thing.  I gotcha!

How’s this…

I also came across this website: https://sites.coloradocollege.edu/rockies/2013/09/11/american-bison-native-wildlife-or-domestic-livestock/

A key point within that paper:

“The American bison is classified by the US government as a type of cattle, and is therefore managed as such.  This misunderstanding of this native species as livestock not as wildlife has created conservation management issues.”

Well…well….wellllllll….

It would seem that Theodore Roosevelt National Park is being overrun by LIVESTOCK!

We ALL heard Superintendent Richman say at the park’s meeting on Thursday: “Really, again, the park has very limited ability to have livestock in any park.  And we don’t have any basis for continuing to keep livestock here at this park.” 

You heard her folks….NO LIVESTOCK!

Can’t do it!
Laws would have to change…blah blah blah….it would impact all 424 national parks…blah blah blah…simply can’t be done…no WAY…no HOW…no Sir!

At this rate, the ONLY thing that we will be left with in Theodore Roosevelt National Park will be the Little Missouri River, Petrified Forest and the other things Deputy Superintendent Maureen McGee-Ballinger noted in her answer about tourism. 

In all seriousness, this does BEG for the question: HOW can two species classified as livestock be in the park boundaries and how can one – quite suddenly – be forced to KEEP their livestock classification while the other is treated as a treasured native species of wildlife with more rights than any horse will EVER have?

Today we have shared a few different posts with you to make a point: DO YOUR RESEARCH.  I could LITERALLY do this all day. 

PAY ATTENTION!!! LISTEN CAREFULLY!!! FACT CHECK EVERYTHING!!!

And yes – FEEL FREE to use these VERY interesting points in your comment letters!

The BEAUTIFUL thing about the National Park Service documents like the Foundation Document and the 1984 Management document – is that in your comment letter you can simply say “On page 10 of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s Foundation Document, it clearly states that the horses are considered “other important resources and values”. You DO NOT have to print and send those documents in.  You can BET the park has those 😉

By the way…

DOES the park have your comments?

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

We hope that our posts today have helped you feel a little better after that horrible excuse for a public meeting on Thursday evening.  We also hope this helps you see there is sooo much happening behind the scenes.  Have FAITH.

My friend Wally said to me the other day at the end of this conversation, “Chris, I think we can win this thing.” 

I think so too Wally!

And THANK YOU Wally for an awesome tip and for your support!

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!


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.

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Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Have you been reading through the Foundation Document?

Did you notice this GEM – the Foundation Document OF COURSE lists the Park’s Purpose Statement:

Theodore Roosevelt National Park ALSO gave us the Park’s Purpose Statement in their December newsletter where they told us about their plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the park:

Notice an EVER SOOOOO SLIGHT difference in the two?

YEP!

ONE WORD: NATIVE

The use of the word NATIVE in front of the word wildlife is like a bomb exploding in front of every horse that calls the park home.  THIS is a BIG part of what the park is using to tell us why the horses can no longer stay within the park boundaries.  According to information that the park is willing to accept, the wild horses are not NATIVE and according to the Park’s Purpose Statement, ONLY NATIVE wildlife is allowed within the park.

That’s either one BIG typo OR

A clear sign of some deception on the part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park to change the narrative to fit their goals.

LISTEN CAREFULLY to EVERYTHING that they say and then: FACT CHECK EVERYTHING!

Shall we keep this Sunday Funday going?

We will share one more VERY interesting discovery with you in another post so be sure to check back!

TOMORROW we need everyone to put their advocacy hats back on and roll up your sleeves! We will have more Calls to Action for this week!

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.

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PAY ATTENTION!!!

I know that so many of you are STILL so disheartened about the park’s meeting the other day.

We say meeting/schmeeting!  What did you REALLY expect? If you went into that meeting with any kind of high hopes – we are truly sorry.

The park WILL make the video of the meeting public (hopefully soon) and when they do, we encourage you to watch it again – and again, if necessary. 

Why?

LISTEN to what they say.

PAY ATTENTION to what they say.

Take note and then DO NOT take what they say at face value. 

FACT CHECK them!

First of all – Assateague Island National Seashore is also a national park that has wild horses.  Has ANYONE heard about the plans to eliminate ALL of the wild horses from that park? 36 CFR § 2.60 and the NPS Organic Act (54 U.S.C. §§ 100101 et seq.)  would HAVE to apply to them too!

The answer is NO!

THAT means that there are ways that the horses CAN stay in the park!  All of the environmental laws & policies are things that our lawyers are looking at AND there is A LOT to see 😉  Stay tuned for more on that!

Since we have been advocating for this herd, the park has told us what they can and can’t do and every action they have is referenced back to another document.  The 1978 Environmental Assessment.  The Foundation Document and Thursday gave me a first: The 1984 General Management Plan.  Since I don’t believe I have ever seen this document, I Googled it!  AND BINGO! THANK YOU to NDSU for having it in their repository!   You can read it for yourself here: https://library.ndsu.edu/ir/handle/10365/6669

We will talk about the 1984 Plan probably in another post. For TODAY– let’s go over Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s Foundation Document.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park released their Foundation Document in 2014.  That is PRETTY recent for the document names and years being thrown out by the park. 

PAY ATTENTION!

What IS the Foundation Document?

They tell us right in the document!

“Introduction
Every unit of the national park system is to have a foundational document that will provide basic guidance for planning and management decisions. The core components of a foundation document include a brief description of the park as well as the park’s purpose, significance, fundamental resources and values, other important resources and values, and interpretive themes. The foundation document also includes special mandates and administrative commitments, an assessment of planning and data needs that identifies planning issues, planning products to be developed, and the associated studies and data required for park planning. Along with the core components, the assessment provides a focus for park planning activities and establishes a baseline from which planning documents are developed.

A primary benefit of developing a foundation document is the opportunity to integrate and coordinate all kinds and levels of planning from a single, shared understanding of what is most important about the park. The process of developing a foundation document begins with gathering and integrating information about the park. Next, this information is refined and focused to determine what the most important attributes of the park are. The process of preparing a foundation document aids park managers, staff, and the public in identifying and clearly stating in one document the essential information that is necessary for park management to consider when determining future planning efforts, outlining key planning issues, and protecting resources and values that are integral to park purpose and identity.”

Well that seems like a PRETTY important document – wouldn’t you say? Oh BTW – you can read it here for yourself. It’s a REALLY pretty document too!

Soooooo……

WHAT does the Foundation Document SAY about the livestock within the park?

Actually NOTHING!

If you search within the document for the word “livestock” there are 3 matches – ALL refer to livestock outside of the park or that the park is fenced to keep trespass livestock out of the park. 

Ok.

What does the Foundation Document say about horses? 

A LOT!

For example – did you know that according to the Foundation Document the horses are classified as “other important resources and values”. What does that mean?  Here is the page directly from the Foundation Document:

Wait!  There is more – NOTE the good health of the herd mentioned along with the need for a FERAL HORSE MANAGEMENT PLAN!

The point we are making here is that it is so EASY to throw around a lot of information to people who don’t fully understand the language in an attempt to fit their narrative.  THAT is what the park did on Thursday night.  They wanted us to all leave the meeting feeling distraught and defeated. 

MEETING/SCHMEETING!

There ARE ways to save these horses – you just have to PAY ATTENTION and FACT CHECK everything!

We will be back with more – but please, on this Sunday afternoon, flip through the documents we posted in this blog.  We think you will be as surprised as we were with what we read.

Thank you for your support and have a great day!


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.

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Celebrating Small Wins

Hello again and Happy Saturday!

As we mentioned earlier, there are many things that are starting to come together in our fight to save the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  We have been BUSY and are EXHAUSTED! I DO feel like we are gaining some real support that will HOPEFULLY bring about a change to this whole situation for our iconic wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home! 

This morning, we met with some local state legislators, including our North Dakota Attorney General, Drew Wrigley.  We will share a recording of their answers to our questions regarding the wild horses when it becomes available.

Attorney General Wrigley said that the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park came up in his conversations with Governor Burgum yesterday.  He did not go into detail but let us know that the Governor said he was working on some things and will be making a statement soon.  We exchanged information with him and are hopeful that he will share our concerns with Governor Burgum!

That was all refreshing to hear!

It was also refreshing to talk to one of our Dickinson senators, Dean Rummel, who is a wonderful photographer that also frequents Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Dean told us that as he has been talking to his peers about the resolution being drafted, he feels that support for the resolution will be high, if not unanimous.  He said he has NOT found any state representatives who have said they agree with the parks decision to remove the horses. 

A resolution by the North Dakota state legislators is not THE answer, but an answer that we feel will carry some weight.  We are currently working with legislators to draft the resolution.  That will be given to the state representatives this week and will be submitted from them by January 26th.  We will keep you posted on the progress!

Just a short post tonight to share some highlights of the week and even the day!

Make sure you take a moment to thank the powers that be in your own personal life for the support!

We hope to have more positive news to share with you soon!

Please remember – the BIGGEST way that you can help this herd is to submit your comments to the park!

The ONLY way your comment is sent to the park is online through the PEPC website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP

Or in writing to:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Since so many of you have requested it, we will also be sharing some alternatives you can use in your comment letter next week!

Please share our posts and PLEASE help support our advocacy work! There are several ways you can help listed on our website: https://chwha.org/support-chwha/

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.

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Breathe

Hello and Happy Saturday to everyone!  We want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who reached out to us Thursday night and Friday expressing outrage over the Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s virtual public scoping meeting.  Everyone who reached out to us expressed their frustration and irritation.  We agree with you 100%.  The meeting was obviously scripted, and the park threw around A LOT of words, NEPA, CFR’s, Organic Act this and that and reasons WHY – AFTER 76 YEARS they SUDDENLY MUST comply with all of their noted policies and “realign” themselves with their purpose.

It was clear in the meeting that the park is used to going unchecked and unchallenged.  That has been a huge problem since Frank and Leo put their main focus on saving the Nokota horses when the park failed to do their job to preserve that unique breed of horse.

We spent the better part of the day yesterday doing some fact checking and are eager to talk to our lawyers about some of the things we found.  Fingers crossed.

Many of you also asked us yesterday if our lawyers were going to file a lawsuit. 

If we had an endless bank account and I suppose if we felt like this was a good time to insert a lawsuit, I SUPPOSE we could do that.  Would it be effective?  Probably not ~ at this time anyway. I am quite certain that our lawyers would advise against it. 

For starters, we feel that it is important to note that our lawyers did not just show up in December.   We have been working with Eubanks and Associates for a few YEARS now.  When we had our initial contact with them, we discussed concerns we had and then they went off and researched our concerns – and more.  We knew that as they did this, IF they did not find any legal issues with how the park was conducting their business, they would let us know and that would be the end of our relationship at that time. 

They DID their research and did find that not only were our concerns valid, but there were a significant number of things that they were also calling into question. 

They started communicating with the park on our behalf asking questions and submitting FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests. 

Last spring, the park announced their plans to finally give these horses a much-needed wild horse management plan.  Now we have to follow a process.

What we hope you are taking away from the meeting is Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s CLEAR INTENT to remove ALL of the wild horses from the park.  So, for all of you crossing your fingers, hoping, praying and commenting – PLEASE PICK OPTION A – LET THE HORSES STAY!  Understand that is a completely unviable number of horses and the park is not even willing to allow 35-60 horses stay within the park boundaries. 

No horses.  The simply are NOT allowed.  No way to make it ok for the horses to stay.

Then questions were asked – what about Assateague Island National Seashore?  Another national park that also has “livestock” roaming their park.  You will have to ask them about their management practices they said.

Ok.  We have NOT heard any mention of the horses on Assateague Island being eliminated, so common sense would say that there IS a way for national parks to have wild horses within their boundaries. 

Cape Lookout National Seashore is another national park that has horses.  The difference there is that those horses are protected under public law.  That is something we have been working on too in our effort to be PRO-ACTIVE instead of REACTIVE in our advocacy efforts. 

Part of the problem, as we are now seeing with the park’s announcement, is that here in North Dakota, our federal legislators apparently don’t see the value of these wild horses to our state.  Congressman Kelly Armstrong has stated clearly (see his letter to me below) that he stands with the park in their decision.  Senators Cramer & Hoeven have only stated that the public should make sure they send their comments to the park.  There is nothing else they can do.  Right?

WRONG! 

Dear Ms. Kman,

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the proposed Livestock Management Plan (LMP) for the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). Your thoughts are important to me as I work to represent you in congress. 

As you may know, two livestock herds currently reside within the TRNP, including roughly 200 horses in the South Unit and nine cattle in the North Unit. Within the TRNP, cattle are governed by a 1970 Management Plan and horse management is informed by a 1978 Environmental Assessment. In March 2022, the National Park Service (NPS) solicited public input to develop a LMP to address the potential effects of livestock on the landscape and cultural resources, provide resiliency for native ecosystems, and bring livestock management into compliance with relevant statute and policies. In December 2022, the NPS presented several refined alternatives for public comment. The last day they will be accepting public comment is January 31st, 2023.

Like you, I believe we must respect our public lands. I have confidence that the staff experts at the TRNP will make an appropriate, science-based decision to ensure that future generations can enjoy the park. The House Committee on Natural Resources has jurisdiction over the NPS. While I do not serve on this committee, please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should related legislation come before for me a vote.

Again, thank you for contacting me on this issue. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website at Armstrong.house.gov to sign up for my newsletter or contact me with any other concerns you may have. 

      Sincerely,    
Kelly Armstrong
     Member of Congress

Senator Hoeven serves on the US Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee AND the Subcommittee on National Parks.  Since his office has not been willing to help protect our iconic wild horses, we have been working with lobbyists at a national wild horse advocacy group to try to get our horses protected under public law. 

Do you know what we have found? 

There ARE federal representatives in other states that appear to be MORE concerned about North Dakota’s iconic wild horses than North Dakota’s federal representatives. I am told that several of them have been watching this situation closely and will be weighing in during this comment period. 

Maybe when our state legislators present the resolution they are currently drafting to our federal delegates, MAYBE that will help them see what the people who elected them to office want from them with regards to the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.

Maybe.

Do you FEEL another call to action coming?

Yep!  We will have another one for you tomorrow so be sure to check back!

We know that this is an incredibly frustrating time.  Be frustrated.  Be angry.  Scream. Yell.  Stomp your feet. 

And then think about how you can redirect all of that energy in a way that HELPS save this herd of horses. 

This is going to take ALL of us.  And yes, I get overwhelmed several times throughout the course of the day. 

Take a breath.  We are doing ALL we can and that is ALL we can do.  I know I go to bed completely and totally exhausted every single night.

Also, please know that from the minute we were made aware of the park’s decision on December 12th, Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates IMMEDIATELY started looking for solutions, allies to help, ways to incite change.  Some things take time BUT we are happy to say that some of those things we started over a month ago are now starting to come through. There is A LOT we have been working on! Stay tuned for more soon!

The #1 thing – and we CANNOT stress this enough – is that you comment!  What Christine Garbriel said in the park’s meeting was absolutely correct – THIS public comment period is the BEST time for you to get your comments in and let the park know what other options you think they should consider and WHY.  You can add your comment to their website here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=125324

I will close with a plea – PLEASE consider helping us financially.  We need to be pro-active in our fight for the freedom of these horses. We need your help and support now more than ever!

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.

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About Last Night…

Good Morning!

We have been FLOODED with calls, emails, private messages and even text messages – ALL of them are “About last night…”

Last night was a disappointment.

Did we REALLY expect anything different?

In their scripted response, the park is now telling us that having horses on NPS property is a violation of 36 CFR § 2.60 and the NPS Organic Act (54 U.S.C. §§ 100101 et seq.) 

Welllll……

#1 The park seems to regularly forget that our national parks belong to US – the taxpaying public. 

And #2…

We have been trying to figure out HOW the park came up with this “livestock” classification for the horses for quite some time.  Our lawyers have been trying to get to the bottom of this very relevant question for a while now.  We KNEW this livestock classification was WRONG and yesterday the park showed their true reasoning for changing the label on the horses from their previous labels of “demonstration herd”- “historical representation” or “cultural resource” to simply “LIVESTOCK”.

We are now supposed to simply accept that after 76 years the National Park Service is forcing Theodore Roosevelt National Park – quite suddenly – to answer to these ongoing violations?

For those of you asking -the park has stated that they will make a recording of the meeting available.  We have no idea when that will be or if it will include the entire meeting – WITH the Q&A portion or just their presentation.

More than anything, we hope that last night showed beyond a shadow of a doubt how serious this situation is for our beloved wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  We need your help now more than ever.  Please help support our advocacy work.  There are several ways listed on our website that you can help: https://chwha.org/support-chwha/

This meeting also showed just how important it is that EVERYONE gets their comments into the park by the January 31st deadline! REMEMBER – the ONLY ways you can comment to the park is through the PEPC website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP

Or in writing to:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

We have more to share on this topic and the meeting yesterday so be sure to check back. 

We will leave you with this ~ For your reading enjoyment…from our lawyers in our March of 2022 letter to the TRNP on this topic:

  1. The Park’s Ad Hoc Classification of Wild Horses as ‘Livestock’ Runs Contrary to the Plain Meaning of the Agency’s Regulations

NPS, and the National Park system as a whole, were established by Congress in 1916 through the Organic Act. See 54 U.S.C. § 100101 et seq. Unlike other federal land management statutes (e.g., the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, 43 U.S.C §§ 1701(a), 1702(c)) that require a balance between conservation and extractive uses, the Organic Act focuses exclusively on the preservation of the nation’s park lands and the specific resources found therein. In relevant part, the Organic Act provides that NPS:

[S]hall promote and regulate the use of the National Park System by means and measures that conform to the fundamental purpose of the System units, which purpose is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in the System units and to provide for the enjoyment of the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

54 U.S.C. § 100101(a).

Given the Organic Act’s strict preservation mandate, NPS’s regulations implementing the Act broadly prohibit the removal of any wildlife, dead or alive, from the boundaries of a National Park. See 36 C.F.R. § 2.1; see also id. § 2.2 (NPS regulations concerning wildlife, which include a prohibition against “taking” and/or intentionally “disturbing” wildlife found within a park unit). According to NPS, “[w]ildlife means any member of the animal kingdom and includes a part, product, egg or offspring thereof, or the dead body or part thereof, except fish.” 36 C.F.R. § 1.4 (emphasis added). Notably, NPS’s regulations pertaining to wildlife take do not draw any distinction between native and non-native (i.e., invasive) species, although the latter may be removed from a park unit under specified conditions. See NPS, Management Policies at 48 (2006), https://bit.ly/3tvupvi [hereinafter Mgmt. Policies].

NPS’s regulations, however, contain an exception for “livestock” animals. The “pasturing or grazing of livestock of any kind in a park area” is generally prohibited but may be permitted “as a necessary and integral part of a recreational activity or required in order to maintain a historic scene”—so long those animals have been “designated” as such by the responsible park official. 36 C.F.R. § 2.60(a)(3).

Although NPS has never formally designated the wild horses of the TRNP as “livestock,” the agency manages these animals as though they were livestock. See Wild Horse EA at 2 (“Since the horses cannot be classified as a native wildlife species, they are managed as a livestock display, significant because of the presence of feral horses in this area during Theodore Roosevelt’s time.”); see also id. at 8 (“[F]eral horses are historic livestock displays that should be managed separately and apart from native wildlife species.”); FAQs, supra (“[P]ark horses are maintained as a demonstration herd to represent a historic scene reminiscent of Theodore Roosevelt’s time in the Badlands of North Dakota.”).

The TRNP’s classification, however, runs counter to the plain language of the NPS’s implementing regulations. Although those regulations do not define “livestock,” that term generally refers to domesticated animals. See Livestock, Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (7th ed. 1967) (“[A]nimals kept or raised for use or pleasure.” (emphasis added)); see also 43 C.F.R. § 4100.0-5 (BLM regulations defining “livestock” as “species of domestic livestock – cattle, sheep, horses, burros, and goats.” (emphasis added)). By contrast, here, there is no indication that the wild horses found in the TRNP are domesticated in any way; that is, they have never been fed, sheltered, or cared for in any way by the Park. And, while these horses may be descendants of domesticated animals, the Park itself refers to the modern population as “feral”— a term that, by definition, means these horses are no longer “domesticated or cultivated.” See Feral, Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (7th ed. 1967) (“[O]f, relating to, or suggestive of a wild beast”); see also Wild Horse EA at 2; Foundation Document at 36 (characterizing the TRNP herd as “feral”). Moreover, as mentioned above, wild horses have roamed free across North Dakota’s Badlands (and, specifically, the Park area)—without human intervention—since well before the TRNP even existed. See Horse Background, supra; see also Castle Report, infra, at 1-6.

For all these reasons, the Park’s unexplained classification of wild horses as “livestock” cannot be squared with the plain meaning of NPS’s regulations and therefore cannot be sustained under basic principles of administrative law. See Chicago Transit Auth. v. Adams, 607 F.2d 1284, 1289 (7th Cir. 1979) (“Words are to be given their ordinary meaning absent persuasive reasons to the contrary.”); see also In re Old Fashioned Enterps., Inc., 236 F.3d 422, 425 (8th Cir. 2001) (“Although substantial deference is due an agency’s interpretation of its regulations, no deference is due if the interpretation is contrary to the regulation’s plain meaning.” (citing Shalala v. St. Paul–Ramsey Med. Ctr., 50 F.3d 522, 528 (8th Cir.1995)); Safe Air for Everyone v. EPA, 488 F.3d 1088, 1097 (9th Cir. 2007) (“As a general interpretative principle, ‘the plain meaning of a regulation governs.’” (quoting Wards Cove Packing Corp. v. Nat’l Marine Fisheries Serv., 307 F.3d 1214, 1219 (9th Cir. 2002)).

Notably, the TRNP’s “livestock” classification is at odds with how wild horses are managed at the Assateague Island National Seashore—one of the only other units of the National Park system that manages for wild horses. At Assateague, NPS maintains a herd of 80-100 wild horses across 48,700 acres. NPS, Environmental Assessment of Alternatives for Managing the Feral Horses of Assateague Island National Seashore at 7, 28 (2008). Like the TRNP, the Assateague herd pre-dates the park’s establishment and are descendants of domestic stock. Id. at 5, 62. Unlike the TRNP, however, the “feral horse population [at Assateague] is managed, in general, as a wildlife resource.” Id. at 7 (emphasis added). This, of course, flatly undermines the TRNP’s assertion that horses must be “managed as a livestock display” because they “cannot be classified as a native wildlife species” under the agency’s regulations. See Wild Horse EA at 1.

The distinction between “livestock” and “wildlife” is more than semantics. By classifying wild horses as livestock, the TRNP has denied these animals certain protections under its agency-wide Management Policies, a document that sets forth “mandatory” management 7 directives. While this document appropriately delineates “native” from “nonnative” species,3 even the latter benefit from certain safeguards against their removal from a given park. For example, where NPS seeks to remove nonnative species, it must ensure their removal is “prudent and feasible,” and that the given species satisfies any number of removal criteria, including that it “disrupts the genetic integrity of native species” or “disrupts the accurate presentation of a cultural landscape.” Id. at 48. Assuming a nonnative species meets these removal criteria, NPS’s Management Policies dictate that the responsible park engages in a comprehensive planning process—including “public review and comment, where appropriate”—to achieve this goal. Id.

The TRNP’s removal of wild horses has not complied with any of these directives. As explained, Advocates’ recent FOIA request sought records “regarding how NPS determines that an excess number of horses exist on the TRNP such that roundups and removals of those horses are necessary.” The dearth of responsive records indicates that the TRNP’s roundups are, at best, conducted on an ad hoc basis and lack any coherent guiding principle. For example, the agency’s response indicates that it is not tracking the kinship of the horses under its jurisdiction, or monitoring the herd for potential impediments to their reproductive capacity or their genetic diversity (e.g., risks associated with inbreeding).

Instead, the Park’s management regime is evidently driven by a singular desire to achieve a herd size that the agency itself has deemed “somewhat arbitrary” in its now-obsolete Wild Horse EA, id. at 6. The Park owes more to the public under federal law and its own regulations and policies. At the very least, it must explain why its decision to manage wild horses as livestock rather than wildlife is a rational reading of the agency’s implementing regulations. It should also explain why the agency’s removal procedures depart from the mandatory guidance laid out in its Management Policies. Without these explanations, any further roundups and removals predicated on the Park’s counterintuitive regulatory interpretation and/or undertaken without observance of its agency-wide policies are unlawful. See, e.g., Chicago Transit Auth., 607 F.2d at 1289.


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.

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TODAY is the day!

Have you cleared your schedule for 6-7 pm MST TODAY? 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park will be holding their Virtual Public Scoping Meeting today.  They will be giving a presentation on their proposed plan and will be answering questions.  PLEASE make sure that you are on this meeting today.  Many of you have asked and we do not have any reason to believe that there will be a recording made available.  The park only shared a transcript of the last meeting with the public.  The horses of TRNP NEED you to be there!  You can get information on the different ways you can join the meeting here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/MeetingNotices.cfm?projectID=105110

IF you are lucky enough to be one of the people who get their questions answered by the park – what should you ask?

Following are a few questions that were mostly generated for the last public comment period.  We submitted them to the park and the did not answer any of them.  We invite you to modify them, if need be, in the event you are fortunate enough to be able to ask the park’s panel of experts a question:

Has the park surveyed the economic impacts of their decision to eliminate the entire herd of horses from the park on businesses in the state, specifically those in Medora and the surrounding communities?

According to the Park, the bighorn sheep found in there today are descendants of California bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana) that were “introduced” to the Park, see Nat’l Park Serv., General Management Plan at 10 (1986); why then are bighorn sheep not managed as “livestock”?

Given that horses have roamed free across the lands that now comprise the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (“the Park”) since long before the Park’s establishment, and that the Park does not provide feed or shelter for these animals in a manner consistent with domesticated livestock, why does the Park classify wild horses as “livestock” rather than “wildlife”?

Given that the Park’s proposed “livestock” management plan entails long-term management of horses that are historically important to the Park, unique to North Dakota’s Badlands, and have long been a controversial subject, will the Park commit to preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed livestock management plan pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), or is the Park considering conducting some lesser scope of NEPA analysis like that found in an Environmental Assessment?

Given that NEPA prohibits federal agencies from making “any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented” before the associated NEPA process has been completed, see 42 U.S.C. § 4332(C)(v); Conner v. Burford, 848 F.2d 1441, 1446 n.13 (9th Cir. 1988), will the Park commit to suspending any gathers and/or fertility treatments of wild horses until its proposed livestock management plan has been completed?

Given that the Park’s Management Policies explicitly contemplate management directives for “nonnative” or “exotic” species, see Nat’l Park Serv., Management Policies at 43 (“Exotic species are those species that occupy or could occupy park lands directly or indirectly as the result of deliberate or accidental human activities.”), can you please clarify this distinction as applied to wild horses.

Given that the Park has historically managed its longhorn cattle herd in a manner consistent with the ordinary understanding of “livestock”—including by “salting, watering, and feeding” those animals, see Nat’l Park Serv., General Management Plan at 42 (1986)—but that wild horses have never been managed in the same way, why is the Park proposing to manage longhorns and wild horses together under the same management plan?

Assuming the Park plans to continue managing wild horses as “livestock,” does the Park plan to provide food, water, and/or veterinary care for the Park’s wild horses? If not, why?

The Park has consistently acknowledged “the historical significance of wild (feral) horses in the badlands and throughout the West.” Nat’l Park Serv., Environmental Assessment for Feral Horse Reduction at 8 (1978). As such, the Park’s herd has been managed as a “historic livestock display,” id., which “adds authenticity to the historical interpretation of the park,” id. at 6. Given that that the Park’s central purpose is to preserve the “landscape that inspired [Theodore] Roosevelt” and that wild horses “were an important part of [that] landscape when Theodore Roosevelt lived in the area,” Nat’l Park Serv., Foundation Document: Theodore Roosevelt National Park at 6, 10 (2014), what steps does the Park plan to take to ensure that the modern herd is an authentic representation of those horses found in the Badlands during Roosevelt’s time there?

Under all of the draft alternatives proposed by the Park at this point, the maximum size of the herd will 60 horse head. On which studies has the Park relied on in reaching that maximum number? And to the extent that those studies are unpublished and/or unavailable to the general public, will the Park commit to sharing those studies/findings immediately to facilitate informed public comment?

PLEASE REMEMBER – no matter what Calls to Action you are answering – the #1 Call to Action we ALL have is to send our individual comments to the park through this link: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=125324

Thank you for your support! We hope to “see” you all tonight at the meeting!


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.

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20 DAYS – Call to Action #8

We have a not so new call to action for you today:

Have you sent your comments into the park?  Remember that no matter what calls to action you are answering – YOUR COMMENT TO THE PARK IS THE #1 Call to Action you can make!

Comments to the park can ONLY be made online here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=125324

Or by mail:

Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Do you need some help with your comment letter? View the recording of CHWHA’s presentation on January 8th.  This will be very helpful if you aren’t sure how this process works or how to formulate your comment letter, https://chwha.org/events/

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said “”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

IF the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park matter to you – PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT BEING SILENT AT THIS TIME!! 

We have 20 days to get the support of as many people possible to help change the park’s current course for our wild horses. We have 20 days to get the word out about the plight of these iconic wild horses.  We have 20 days to let the park know WHAT other alternatives they should consider.  

If you need additional help with your comments, American Wild Horse Campaign has listed some comments for you in their Call to Action for this herd: https://secure.everyaction.com/uPCRult4YUaFYzVPO7liHA2?emci=0c0ec38b-408d-ed11-9d7b-00224832e811&emdi=c6ee3b66-de8d-ed11-9d7b-00224832e811&ceid=10260941

We will also be adding a section on our website with comment letters from different organizations that we hope will help you draft your comment letters.

In addition to your formal comment to the park, our wild horse advocacy friends and conversations with our state legislators have helped us formulate the following additional “Calls to Action” – as we continue to fight for the freedom of this herd from EVERY ANGLE we can think of! Please let us know if you have additional suggestions! Contact information and sample letters (where they are relevant) are included in the blog posts below:

Plan to attend the park’s Virtual Public Scoping Meeting THIS THURSDAY – 1/12/2023!:https://parkplanning.nps.gov/MeetingNotices.cfm?projectID=105110

EVERYONE contact ND legislators that serve on the state’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee: https://chwha.org/2023/01/03/call-to-action-5/

ND residents – contact your state Senate and House representatives: https://chwha.org/2023/01/02/call-to-action-4/

Contact Senator John Hoeven’s Office: https://chwha.org/2022/12/26/call-to-action-1/

Contact Governor Doug Burgum’s office: https://chwha.org/2022/12/28/call-to-action-2/

Submit your stories to help Deb & Jamie write their comment letter: https://www.wildlandswildhorses.com/save-trnp?fbclid=IwAR1dKFiyb8cLxiiRQXhwu5P4EP6uSabU8kv8oQjmaxF4L_T060X-1dcxbZg

Did we mention to make sure you send your comments DIRECTLY to the park? 😉 https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=125324

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.

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Tomorrow

TOMORROW is a big day – the park will hold a virtual public scoping meeting as they state: “The meeting will start with a brief presentation by NPS staff followed by a Q&A session with a panel of NPS staff and subject matter experts.”

The meeting starts at 6 pm MST on 1/12/2023.  You need to have Microsoft teams to access the meeting.  There is also a dial in option.  You can get all of the details on this meeting here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/MeetingNotices.cfm?projectID=105110

Please make sure that you attend this meeting.  While we all would prefer a good old fashioned “Town Hall” meeting where the park actually FACED the public in person and answered the questions that we all have – this is what they are offering so we have to do our best to make sure there is a strong presence at this meeting. 

Now that we know what TOMORROW’s plan is but as Aaron Burr said: “Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.”

We have 20 DAYS left in this public comment period. We have TWENTY DAYS for you to use your voice to speak up for the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home!

Have you sent your comments to the park?   Remember – NO MATTER WHAT CALLS TO ACTION you are answering – the BIGGEST CALL TO ACTION happens when you leave your comment at this link:  https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=125324

Not sure what to comment?  We have a recording of our presentation from 1/8/2023 that discusses this process and how to comment here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/08/1-8-2023-zoom-webinar/

There are several other things you can also do to help these horses.  We have our calls to action all listed here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/06/25-days/  REMEMBER – EVERY LETTER COUNTS!

The next couple of days are busy for us with back-to-back meetings almost every day as we continue to fight for the freedom of this herd from every angle we can think of! We are hoping to have some additional information to share with everyone in the next couple of days. 

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!


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.

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Does Theodore Roosevelt National Park have YOUR comment?

We want to take a moment  to once again say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have answered our calls to action to help save the herd of horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home. 

There are several different ways that we can advocate for these horses, but the #1 way to make sure you are working to help these horses is to send your comment to the park no later than January 31, 2023.  Your comment ONLY counts if you PERSONALLY submit your comment through this link: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP or if you mail in your comment and supporting documentation to:

Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Not sure what to comment? We have posted our presentation from Sunday for those who missed it: https://chwha.org/2023/01/08/1-8-2023-zoom-webinar/

If you sent emails to our North Dakota state legislators THANK YOU!  You STILL need to send in your comment!

If you clicked “submit” on American Wild Horse Campaign’s “Call to Action” (https://bit.ly/3in0YZp) THANK YOU! You STILL need to submit your comment to the park!

If you took a survey, wrote a story, or answered any other call to action – THANK YOU!  You STILL Need to send your comments into the park. 

The last public comment period there were 1774 public comments that were received.  There are over 500,000 people that follow this herd across several different social media pages. 

EVERY

COMMENT

COUNTS

!!!!

The park CLEARLY announced their plans – They plan to ELIMINATE the ENTIRE herd of wild horses. 

YOU have until January 31, 2023, to let them know what other options you think they should consider. 

Your voice is LITERALLY their voice, and they need you to speak up NOW more than ever. 

Have you sent in YOUR comments to the park? https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP

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.

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It’s a NEW week – 22 days to go!

Hello and Happy Monday!

It’s a big week for those of us who advocate for the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

The week started YESTERDAY with our webinar that we co-hosted with our friends at Save our Wild Horses (https://saveourwildhorses.net/index.html) and Equine Collaborative International, Inc. (http://www.equinecollaborativeinternational.org/).  Thank you again to everyone who attended.  We did post the link to the recording in our blog post yesterday (https://chwha.org/2023/01/08/1-8-2023-zoom-webinar/)  THANK YOU to everyone who has taken the time to write and comment to us how helpful our presentation was!  We are glad that we were able to add some clarity and answer some of your questions.

After the presentation yesterday, I spent a few hours on the phone calling some of our state legislators.  We are trying hard to get a resolution passed asking our federal delegation for help to keep the wild horses IN Theodore Roosevelt National Park – where they always have been and where they always should be!

One representative I spoke with suggested that everyone in North Dakota keep writing to our state legislators and that EVERYONE writes to the members of our state’s Energy & Natural Resources committee members.  You can find those lists in our Calls to Action posts here:

https://chwha.org/2023/01/02/call-to-action-4/

https://chwha.org/2023/01/03/call-to-action-5/

This particular representative that I spoke with stated that there isn’t anyone he has talked to that is against what we are asking.  The question is what good will a North Dakota state resolution do when this is a federal issue?

We discussed how it was obvious that this was a case of federal overreach as Theodore Roosevelt National Park has shown that they DO NOT understand the culture of North Dakota and the values we have when it comes to these iconic wild horses with their recent decision to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the park.  Further, the park shows no regard for the importance of these horses to the tourism industry, which is North Dakota’s #3 economic source. 

I did explain to him that we are working with other national wild horse advocacy groups and are trying to get other federal support BUT it is hard to ask federal representatives from other states for help when it LOOKS like no one in North Dakota seems to be willing to fight to keep these horses in the park.

If NOTHING else, a state resolution will show that our state has done all that is within their power to try to keep these horses.  The presentation of this request by the state of North Dakota to our federal delegates would hopefully help open their eyes to the wishes of the residents that elected them to office!

Have you sent your letters yet?  If you have, have you received a response?  If not, please send them again!

Heather from Save our Wild Horses said something yesterday and it is true – EVERY LETTER COUNTS!

This morning I sent this legislative contact a list of talking points that he can share with his peers.  Over the next couple of days, we will be busy writing something that he can use as he and some of his peers work to draft a resolution. 

This morning I contacted Senator John Hoeven’s office.  Senator Hoeven is on the federal senate subcommittee on National Parks.  The Senator has yet to give a formal comment, aside from encouraging everyone to be a part of the virtual scoping meeting this Thursday and to get their comments into the park by January 31, 2023.  His office suggested that we use the strength of our following to make sure that everyone submits their comments.

Since the person I spoke with was not able to answer some questions that we feel are important, we left a message with his office in Bismarck, requesting a meeting with the Senator so he can answer our questions for us. We will keep you posted on how that develops.

CHWHA is also reaching out to local businesses to help spread the word and get support.  Today, we spoke with the executive director of The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame.  He stated that he was with us – the horses need to stay IN the park! 

It is amazing to see how our support is growing! 

PLEASE REMEMBER: No matter what other calls to action you are answering to try to help these amazing wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home, the BIGGEST Call to Action is to get your comments into the park BEFORE January 31, 2023.

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT week!


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.

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1/8/2023 Zoom webinar

Thank you to everyone who attended our webinar today! There was a slight glitch as a few disruptive people apparently had nothing better to do today. We apologize to those of you who were not able to get back into the meeting. We only allowed a limited number of people in to try to keep control of the room.

We have received TONS of requests for the meeting. You can NOW view the entire presentation here: https://us06web.zoom.us/rec/share/MNnv0CorU0BtPUBwr-8Tx-y1pO4e4DriRtLqtQUQ-EvKRJEP0NB3KMEO-MUKJSGf.4dLxA4wgRfark2NZ

The passcode is: 3qX^Qh$a

We have also had requests for the slide presentation and THAT we can share with you now.

Thank you again for your support and to all of you who send us messages thanking us and letting us know that the event was helpful for you!

We appreciate 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.

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What a week it has been!

The last few weeks have been extremely busy as we have been looking at every possible way to help save the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park since park officials announced their plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of horses.

We are starting to see support come in from local businesses and from our North Dakota state legislators. 

KX News correspondent Adrienne Oglesby has been doing a very thorough investigation into this story.  The story started when we reached out to Adrienne a few weeks ago.  She invited us to the KX studio and she aired this interview: https://www.kxnet.com/news/what-about-the-horses-local-advocates-speak-out-against-new-plans-for-theodore-roosevelt-national-park/?fbclid=IwAR28y_lPawkCNmi1MiY0WzgkH5TPkzakVFC4ww_DJHqhLuSKQ5KvqmdwMpw

In our interview with Adrienne, we mentioned Dr. Gus Cothran and his research that states that a MINIMUM of 150 wild horses is needed for genetic diversity.  We were ELATED when Adrienne reached out to Dr. Cothran herself!  The second part of her interview WITH Gus Cothran weighing in SPECIFICALLY on the TRNP wild horses was released this week: https://www.kxnet.com/news/state-news/cutting-the-herd-size-at-theodore-roosevelt-national-park-could-be-bad/?fbclid=IwAR3xOdcE1L8rxVVF8Fb6flDAvx80oa9noGe6iqu04dKEXjOfCUoF5bMRXn4

Adrienne will be back with more as her investigation continues and we will share it as soon as it is released! We have all of the news casts and articles that have been generated in this last month as we fight to raise awareness listed for you on our website here: https://chwha.org/chwha-in-the-news/

Have you answered our Calls to Action yet?  There are several different ways that you can help make a difference for this herd!  We have added ALL of the “Calls to Action” in our post yesterday. You can read it here: https://chwha.org/2023/01/06/25-days/

We also want to remind you that we will be co-hosting a Zoom meeting TOMORROW at 1 pm MST.  We will be talking about this management plan in more detail and going over the comment process. If you have questions you would like to see answered, please comment below or send us an email at info@chwha.org. The event details can be found here: https://chwha.org/events/

We want to end this week expressing our gratitude to each and every one of you who are working to fight for these amazing wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  THANK YOU!  PLEASE keep sharing our posts to help raise awareness!  Our website traffic is up 50% this week thanks to all of you sharing this important information!

We will have more to share in the next week – so keep checking back!  There is still A LOT brewing behind the scenes, and we CANNOT wait to share some more good news with all of you!

Thank you for your support and have a great weekend! We hope to see you tomorrow!


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.

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25 Days

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

The photo at the top of this page was taken on June 12, 2019.  The day that Dolly gave birth to Colt Anzar.  The fabulous Stallion Flax is his sire. 

Can you FEEL the love in this photo? 

Anzar turns 4 years old this year.  He is still with his natal band and helps his father defend their family and keep them safe.  Everyone is waiting to see how much longer Flax allows him to stay with the band. 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the ONLY home that Anzar, Flax, Dolly and all of the 185 wild horses that make up this herd have ever known. 

The park has clearly announced their plans: Alternative C – Proposed Action: Phased Reduction of Herds to No Livestock

That plan would rip apart every family of horses in this herd.  Their proposed action would eliminate EVERY wild horse from the park’s landscape.  Once the park is allowed to remove the horses from the park, you can bet there will be NO getting them back!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said “”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

IF the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park matter to you – PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT BEING SILENT AT THIS TIME!! 

We have 25 days to get the support of as many people possible to help change the park’s current course for our wild horses. We have 25 days to get the word out about the plight of these iconic wild horses.  We have 25 days to let the park know WHAT other alternatives they should consider.  American Wild Horse Campaign has listed some comments for you in their Call to Action today: https://secure.everyaction.com/uPCRult4YUaFYzVPO7liHA2?emci=0c0ec38b-408d-ed11-9d7b-00224832e811&emdi=c6ee3b66-de8d-ed11-9d7b-00224832e811&ceid=10260941

We have added several Calls to Action on our website for different ways that we believe can help save the amazing herd of wild horses that calls Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  Have you completed these calls to action? 

Can the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park count on you?

Here is a recap of our Calls to Action.  Be sure to continue to let us know what responses you get and if any other North Dakota State legislators have told you that they will join us in fighting to keep this herd of wild horses IN Theodore Roosevelt National Park – where they ALWAYS have been and ALWAYS should be!

Call to Action #1 – Contact Senator John Hoeven’s Office: https://chwha.org/2022/12/26/call-to-action-1/

Call to Action #2 – Contact Governor Doug Burgum’s office: https://chwha.org/2022/12/28/call-to-action-2/

Call to Action #3 – Submit your stories to help Deb & Jamie write their comment letter: https://www.wildlandswildhorses.com/save-trnp?fbclid=IwAR1dKFiyb8cLxiiRQXhwu5P4EP6uSabU8kv8oQjmaxF4L_T060X-1dcxbZg

Call to Action #4 – ND residents – contact your state Senate and House representatives: https://chwha.org/2023/01/02/call-to-action-4/

Call to Action #5EVERYONE contact ND legislators that serve on the state’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee: https://chwha.org/2023/01/03/call-to-action-5/

Call to Action #6 – Attend our Zoom meeting THIS SUNDAY: https://chwha.org/2023/01/05/calls-to-action-6-7/

Call to Action #7 – Plan to attend the park’s Virtual Public Scoping Meeting THIS THURSDAY – 1/12/2023!: https://chwha.org/2023/01/05/calls-to-action-6-7/

REMEMBER! There are calls for gratitude and thanks for people who have vowed to help us as we continue to fight to save North Dakota’s ONLY herd of wild horses. Please make sure you send them a kind word of thanks as well.

THIS IS NOT a time to be silent. These horses need your help and support now more than ever!

Can the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park count on you?

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.

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Calls to Action #6 & #7

Hello and Happy Thursday! I saw a quote recently that said “Inch by inch – it’s a cinch! Yard by yard, it’s hard” I remind myself of that everyday as I wonder if anything I am doing is actually making a difference. 

Every day we get reminders that WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERNCE!!  Thank you to all of you who love this herd for all of your help and support! 

We keep saying that we are advocating from every angle we can imagine.  Inch by inch…we are getting there!

We have two easy Calls to Action for you today!

Call to Action #6 came about because we have been getting tons of emails and PM’s on what your public comment SHOULD look like. We are do grateful to our friends at Save our Wild Horses and ECI for co-hosting a zoom event to cover this important topic! 

Please mark your calendars for January 8th at 3 pm EST! 

From the flyer:

Join us and ECI as we co-host Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates who will discuss the National Park Service’s plan to remove all of the wild horses from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. CHWHA will discuss the 3 Livestock Plan options provided by the National Park Service and how to comment on the plan, as well as additional actions you can take to help. Feel free to share this graphic and ask all to attend!

Sunday, January 8th, 2023, at 3pm EST

A recording of the webinar will be available if you are unable to attend!

We hope to see you there!
Heather & Linda
Save Our Wild Horses

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81683198585?pwd=TFNYMXJQdEw1dzRTYzNXMGIvcDJHZz09

Meeting ID: 816 8319 8585

Passcode: HORSE

If you have questions you would like us to answer during this zoom meeting, feel free to email us before Sunday at info@chwha.org.

Call to Action #7 is just as easy and really important!

Theodore Roosevelt National Park will hold a virtual Public Scoping meeting on January 12th at 6 PM MST. You can get info on how to join the meeting here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/MeetingNotices.cfm?projectID=105110

From the park’s website:

The meeting will start with a brief presentation by NPS staff followed by a Q&A session with a panel of NPS staff and subject matter experts. It should be noted that comments can only be accepted through our Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website, or by U.S. mail, and will not be recorded or documented during the presentation.

Meeting Directions/Instructions:
A virtual public scoping meeting will be held via Microsoft Teams and can be accessed on both desktop computer or mobile device. See link below to access. If you plan to join by phone, please dial: +1 202-640-1187 and Conference ID: 217 751 076#

Please see our other Calls to Action for this week! https://chwha.org/2023/01/02/call-to-action-4/ https://chwha.org/2023/01/03/call-to-action-5/ 

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.

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“Please spread the word, I am on your side.”

What a wonderful email we received yesterday from one of North Dakota’s state senators!  His email was so overwhelmed with email from all of you asking him to support the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park that he sent us the following email:

“I have several messages like this.  If you can help me out and spread the word for me that I am on your side, that would help.”

HOW WONDERFUL IS THAT?!! 

We have to say a HUGE THANK YOU to ALL of you for answering our calls to action and really getting the attention of people who can help us in our fight to make sure the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park remain right where they are and WILD & FREE!

We have listed ALL of the North Dakota state senate and house members who have said they will stand with the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park by supporting legislation asking the part to keep the wild horses IN the park. 

If you do not see your representatives name on this list, please contact them and ask them if they will support legislation asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to keep the wild horses in the park.  We have files with all of our state representatives for you listed here: https://chwha.org/north-dakota-supports-trnps-wild-horses/

Please read our blog page for our calls to action this week!  More than anything know that TOGETHER WE ARE making a difference! https://chwha.org/2023/01/02/call-to-action-4/ & https://chwha.org/2023/01/03/call-to-action-5/

We also want to say THANK YOU to all of you who are sharing our posts and helping to spread the word about the plight of our iconic wild horses.  Our website traffic has increased by 20-25% each week over the last few weeks – except for this week.  THIS WEEK our website traffic has increased by almost 40%!!!  Our page visitors are also up by almost 20% – so far this week!  THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!  That means that you have helped spark the interest of that many more people about the current struggle facing the amazing wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home! PLEASE keep up the good work!!!

Thank you – THANK YOU – THANK YOU for all of your help and support!  We appreciate each one of you!


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.

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Call to Action #5

Today’s Call to Action is for EVERYONE!

Yesterday’s call to action asked residents of the state of North Dakota to contact their state legislators and ask them to support a resolution asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to allow the wild horses to stay in the park. We also asked ALL of you to send thank you letters to the two North Dakota Senate leaders who said they will draft the resolution: Senator Jay Elkin and Senator Dean Rummel.  Please see yesterday’s blog post for this call to action: https://chwha.org/2023/01/02/call-to-action-4/

Today we have another THANK YOU email that we would like you to send.  Representative Josh Boschee has been talking with us about how we can lobby the state and essentially get the state of North Dakota to advocate with us by having a resolution drafted and sent to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Josh is working on a few other things in this fight and among them, he has offered to co-sponsor the resolution asking the park to keep the wild horses with Senator Elkin and Senator Rummel!  Please send a THANK YOU e-mail to Josh for all of his hard work.  You can email him at josh@joshuaboschee.com

Our other ask today is for everyone to send emails to Senate and House members of North Dakota’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  The letter to them should be respectful and short and to the point.  An example you can use:

I am outraged that Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced their plans to remove the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the park!  I am writing to you today to respectfully request that the state of North Dakota support the resolution being drafted by Senator Jay Elkin and Senator Dean Rummel asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to keep our state’s ONLY herd wild horses in the park.  I appreciate your support in helping to save our iconic herd of wild horses.

Sincerely,

Following is the contact information for The North Dakota Energy and Natural Resources committee members:

ND Senate:
Senator Jessica Bell
1224 First Avenue NE
Beulah, ND 58523-6301
Emailjessicabell@nd.gov

Senator Curt Kreun
3111 Longbow Court
Grand Forks, ND 58203-2193
Emailckreun@ndlegis.gov

Senator Jim P. Roers
4420 Carrie Rose Lane South
Fargo, ND 58104-6818
Email jroers@ndlegis.gov

Senator Donald Schaible
9115 Highway 21
Mott, ND 58646-9200
Email dgschaible@ndlegis.gov

ND House:
Representative Todd Porter
4604 Borden Harbor Drive SE
Mandan, ND 58554-7961
Email tkporter@ndlegis.gov

Representative Chuck Damschen
9461 80th Street NE
Hampden, ND 58338-9351
Email cdamschen@nd.gov

Representative Dick Anderson
1187 77th Street NE
Willow City, ND 58384-9109
Email dickanderson@ndlegis.gov

Representative Glenn Bosch
4117 Downing Street
Bismarck, ND 58504-8848
Email gdbosch@ndlegis.gov

Representative Bill Devlin
P.O. Box 505
Finley, ND 58230-0505
Email bdevlin@nd.gov

Representative Ron Guggisberg
1621 17th Street South
Fargo, ND 58103-4027
Email rguggisberg@nd.gov

Representative Pat D. Heinert
1501 Eastwood Street
Bismarck, ND 58504-6230
Email pdheinert@ndlegis.gov

Representative Zachary Ista
3850 15th Avenue South
Grand Forks, ND 58201-3727
Email zmista@ndlegis.gov

Representative Andrew Marschall
2106 10th Street West
West Fargo, ND 58078-3213
Email amarschall@ndlegis.gov

Representative Shannon Roers Jones
5948 Silverleaf Drive South
Fargo, ND 58104-7127
Email sroersjones@ndlegis.gov

Representative Matthew Ruby
1400 Golden Valley Lane
Minot, ND 58703-1192
Email mruby@ndlegis.gov

Representative Denton Zubke
P.O. Box 927
Watford City, ND 58854-0927
Email dzubke@nd.gov

We are also asking that if you get a response from ANY of the North Dakota legislators saying they WILL support this resolution, please send us a private message or email at info@chwha.org.

PLEASE SHARE OUR POSTS!!!  We have less than 30 days to make an impact and reach as many people as possible!

We also need your financial support.  There are several ways that you can donate to support the work of our nonprofit group.  You can find ways you can donate to Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates here: https://chwha.org/support-chwha/

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.

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Call to Action #4

Happy New Year to everyone!  We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  More than anything, we hope that you are ready to pull up your sleeves and help us fight to save the iconic wild horse herd that calls Theodore Roosevelt National Park home!  We have less than 30 days to make an impact and any impact that is made will take EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US!

In case you missed it during the holiday season, on December 12, 2022, Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced their plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the park! 

We have been very busy since then talking to wild horse advocate friends, state legislators, press throughout the state of North Dakota, and basically anyone that will listen that we think MIGHT be able to offer solid solutions on how we can help keep the wild horses of TRNP Wild & Free!

Last week, we came to you with three different calls to action.  If you have already sent your emails, THANK YOU!  If you have not had a chance yet, it is not too late to help!  Please see our post from last week for more information: https://chwha.org/2022/12/30/this-weeks-calls-to-action/

Based on conversations with ND state legislators, we have a new call to action for you today – along with some GOOD NEWS that we wanted to share! 

When we asked our friends in the North Dakota State Legislature what the state of North Dakota CAN do to help save our states ONLY wild horse herd, they said that the state legislators CAN introduce a resolution asking the Theodore Roosevelt National Park to keep the wild horses in the park.  

We were told, “Having the resolution drafted is the easy part.  Securing support takes time and organized effort.”

We put on our lobby hats this morning and reached out to some of our local North Dakota Senators and House members asking them to draft a resolution asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to keep the wild horses in the park. 

We want to say a HUGE THANK YOU! To Senator Jay Elkin and Senator Dean Rummel!  They will be working together to draft a resolution asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to keep the wild horses IN Theodore Roosevelt National Park where they belong!

PLEASE send these amazing North Dakota Senators an email thanking them for helping to keep the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park wild and free!  You can email Senator Jay Elkin at jayelkin@ndlegis.gov and you can email Senator Dean Rummel at drummel@ndlegis.gov.

That is only the first part of our ask today!

We are also asking that those of you who live within the state, please contact your North Dakota House and Senate legislators asking them to support this legislation.  We have a list of all of the ND House members and their contact information for you here:

We have a list of all of the ND Senate members and their contact information for you here:

Your letter should be short, respectful and to the point.  Here is a sample for you to send or modify with your own message:

As a resident of the State of North Dakota, I am outraged that Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced their plans to remove the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the park!  I am writing to you today to respectfully request that the state of North Dakota draft a resolution asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to keep our state’s ONLY herd wild horses in the park.  I appreciate your support in helping to save our iconic herd of wild horses.

Sincerely,

We are happy to announce that we have already heard back from a few North Dakota House and Senate members who WILL be supporting this resolution!  Please make sure you reach out to yours!

Thank you for your continued 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.

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Gratitude

Happy New Year’s Eve to everyone!  As we say goodbye to one year and get ready to begin a whole new one, we thought this would be a great day to share some gratitude.  There are a few small asks throughout this, so please read through to the end and help in whatever ways you can.

On a personal level, I feel blessed to have met the people I have and have the honor to fight with them for the proper management of the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  We were all blindsided a few weeks ago with the parks public announcement to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of horses from the park.  We all took the hit, processed the full weight of what that meant, and then we pulled up our sleeves and all got to work on what we could do to save our beloved herd!

When my husband Gary and I first met Frank Kuntz, we felt like we were meeting a movie star.  Here is a truly iconic man who has spent the better part of his life not only advocating for the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but also saving the original breed of horses that once called TRNP home that date back to Sitting Bull and his people. 

Ask #1 today is for Frank.  Over the years Frank has not only become someone I look up to with high regards as a wild horse advocate, but also a dear friend.  On the days that all of this gets to be too much for me, I step back and remember that for Frank, his fight has been going on for 40+ years!  I can’t imagine FORTY YEARS of this! 

Frank has some personal issues that he is facing at this time.  I will respect his privacy and leave it at that.   Frank will talk about what is happening when he is ready.  I will say that he, his wife Shelly, daughter Christa, his right hand, Jennifer and his entire family have the full support of me, my husband Gary and our entire CHWHA board. 

Because Frank has never been one to ask for help himself, his daughter Christa set up a GoFundMe to help him.  Any donation you can make to help Frank right now is appreciated.  You can make your donation here: https://gofund.me/004c157b

I did have a chance to talk to Frank recently as he shared his story with me.  In true Frank fashion – he said, “I REALLY need to say something about what the park is doing now, I’m just so wrapped up in everything here, I haven’t had the chance.”

I told Frank not to worry about the park right now.  Take care of what you need to.  We’ve got this!

It was also through Frank that I got to meet Castle! She has been my hero for the work she did researching this amazing herd of horses. You can read her report in the library section of our website: https://chwha.org/library/. THANK YOU for all of your work Castle and THANK YOU for being a friend and support to me!

I am blessed to have the support of some great wild horse advocates I am honored to have met along this incredible journey: Mary, Susan, Terri, Kerry, Ginger, Linda, Heather, Laura, Barbara, Holly, Patrick, and so many others.  Your support keeps me going! THANK YOU!

I am also grateful to all of you who support our work and answer to our calls to action.  That gratitude extends to every person who loves this herd and is fighting in the best way that they can to help save them.  A big shout out to Deb & Jamie for all of their work but mostly for realizing that we can all fight individually or we can gather up all of our individual strengths and build and army together to fight for the freedom of our beloved wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park from every possible angle!

Ask #2 today is that you re-read out calls to action post from yesterday (https://chwha.org/2022/12/30/this-weeks-calls-to-action/) and please make sure you do the 3 things that we asked.  There are a lot of other ways we can fight this outside of the public comment.  We need your help to make an impact!

I also have to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Matt & Bill and everyone at Eubanks and Associates, PLLC. Matt has been great at explaining this entire process to me, in the easiest ways, so that I can share that information with all of you. They did their research and agreed to take on our case. We are forever thankful that they did!

I can never say THANK YOU enough to my wonderful husband Gary.  He is my rock and without him I could not do anything I do.  FYI – I HATE being on the other side of the camera ESPECIALLY when it comes to talking to news reporters.  This week we had to actually go to a few of the TV stations and my stomach was in KNOTS!!!  Gary did all he could to help keep me calm, take selfies with me in the green room and TRY to convince me that this whole thing was really “no big deal”.  Another fun fact: when the TV stations were ready to mic US up – Gary politely declined and stated he was only there to support me.  *sigh* lol  Thanks!  Truly THANK YOU for being my rock and all of the things you are doing to help save this herd we love so much!

These last couple of weeks I have talked to anyone and everyone who would listen to me about the plight of the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  We have made some good contacts and they are helping in the ways they can as well. 

Ask #3 today is an easy and important one.  Please send a simple email thanking one of our North Dakota State legislators, Josh Boschee, for doing what he can to help keep the wild horses wild and free and IN Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  His email is josh@joshuaboschee.com.  We will share more on Josh soon!  

The photo attached to this post is of Stallion Teton’s two 2022 sons Titan and Creed.  Titan is laying down as Creed stands watch over his brother. 

Talk about a lesson for us all! 

Ask #4 is that you take time today to reflect on what a wonderful year 2022 truly was and get ready to roll up your sleeves in 2023.  The wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park need ALL of us. We will have some new calls to action for you next week, so please enjoy the weekend!  Take care of each other.  Stay safe and meet us back here on Monday as we continue to fight for the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home from every possible angle!

ARGH!  I have to get ready for another news interview!  We will share that later so check back! Wish me luck!

Thank you for your support and have a wonderful New Year!


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.

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This week’s Calls to Action

Isn’t this FROSTY photo of 2022 Filly Dreamer adorable! Dreamer and all of the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home DESPERATELY NEED YOUR HELP!!

Theodore Roosevelt National Park recently announced their plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the park! 

We gave you a couple ways you can help this week with two calls to action.

Have you sent your emails?

If you have – THANK YOU!

If you haven’t – no worries -there is STILL plenty of time!

Please see our post from Monday with Call to Action #1 to Senator Hoeven’s Office: https://chwha.org/2022/12/26/call-to-action-1/

Also see our post from Wednesday for Call to Action #2 to contact Governor Burgum’s office: https://chwha.org/2022/12/28/call-to-action-2/

Today we have a NEW Call to Action for you:

Deb & Jamie from Wild Lands Wild Horses are hoping to collect 1,000 stories – YOUR stories – on how/why you came to fall in love with the amazing wild horses that call the park home.  They will be formulating their comments into their comment letter to the park and also sharing your stories with North Dakota state and local officials.  You can read more about their campaign here: https://www.wildlandswildhorses.com/save-trnp?fbclid=IwAR1dKFiyb8cLxiiRQXhwu5P4EP6uSabU8kv8oQjmaxF4L_T060X-1dcxbZg

Deb and Jamie also produced a wonderful video to help pump you up for your calls to action!  You can view their video here: https://youtu.be/zapXRwfl0Jg

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for January 8, 2023, at 3 pm EASTERN time – we will be co-hosting a Zoom Q&A session to answer questions about this important comment period!  Information is listed below! Please feel free to email us BEFORE January 8th at info@chwha.org with questions you would like to see answered on this zoom meeting or feel free to comment below. 

The comment period for this stage of the wild horse management planning process ends on January 31, 2023.  Please see our website for information the park has released regarding this process as well as supporting documents you can use for your comments: https://chwha.org/save-the-trnp-wild-horses/

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has chosen to have the environmental law firm of Eubanks and Associates help draft our comment letter.  You can read more about them on their website here: https://www.eubankslegal.com/mission

At this time, we need your help to support our advocacy work! There are several ways you can help listed on our website: https://chwha.org/support-chwha/

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.

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Mark your calendars for January 8th!

Thank you to Heather and Linda from Save Our Wild Horses for hosting this event! We hope to see all of you at this virtual event!

Join us and ECI as we co-host Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates who will discuss the National Park Service’s plan to remove all of the wild horses from Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  CHWHA will discuss the 3 Livestock Plan options provided by the National Park Service and how to comment on the plan, as well as additional actions you can take to help.  Feel free to share this graphic and ask all to attend!

Sunday, January 8th, 2023 at 3pm EST

A recording of the webinar will be available if you are unable to attend!  Please reply to this email on Sunday, 1/8, or later if you would like the recording.

We hope to see you there! 

Heather & Linda

Save Our Wild Horses

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81683198585?pwd=TFNYMXJQdEw1dzRTYzNXMGIvcDJHZz09

Meeting ID: 816 8319 8585

Passcode: HORSE

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.

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Call to Action #2

“OVER, UNDER, THROUGH—BUT NEVER AROUND.”

Those words come from Theodore Roosevelt, who strove to never shy away from a challenge, but face it head-on.

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is working hard to find ways to move over, under, and through as we work hard on our goal to save the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  We are working hard to make sure they NOT ONLY stay wild and free, but we want to make sure they get a proper management plan that keeps a viable number of wild horses in the park for generations to come!

We wanted to let you know that we have been in contact with some of the state of North Dakota legislators and they have DEFINTELY taken note of the letters to the editor from people all across the state of North Dakota as they express their displeasure in Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s decision to eliminate ALL of the wild horses from the park.  THANK YOU! 

A suggestion from one of the legislators was to contact Governor Doug Burgum’s office.  Mike Nowatzki is the Communications Director for the office of the governor.  He can be emailed at: mnowatzki@nd.gov You can also send a message to the governor through his website: https://www.governor.nd.gov/contact

The Governor’s office told the Fargo Forum that they “had no immediate comment, but that could change after the park holds a public meeting on Jan. 12.”

Your email should be short and to the point.  We have two examples again for you – one for residents of the state of North Dakota and one for those of you who live outside of our state.   

As a resident of the state of North Dakota, I am calling on Governor Burgum to help protect the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  If the state of North Dakota allows the park to eliminate these horses entirely, it will be a great loss to the state of North Dakota.  As you know, North Dakota is a state that is rich in equine history and these horses are a huge part of that history.  People come from all across the United States and other countries to see these amazing horses.  The loss of these horses will also mean a loss of tourism dollars for our state. 

Although the Governor has stated that he has “No comment” on this situation, I’m asking him to use the weight of his office to work with our North Dakota state legislators to pass a resolution formally asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to allow the wild horses to remain in the park at numbers that allow for a genetically viable herd of horses.   I am also asking the Governor to work with our federally elected officials, specifically Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the Subcommittee on National Parks, to do what they can at a federal level to help protect North Dakota’s wild horses. 

Thank you for your consideration.

For those of you who do not live in North Dakota, please send the following version of the letter:


As a person who frequently visits the state of North Dakota, I am calling on Governor Burgum to help protect the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  If the state of North Dakota allows the park to eliminate these horses entirely, it will be a great loss to the state of North Dakota.  As you know, North Dakota is a state that is rich in equine history and these horses are a huge part of that history.  The loss of these horses will also mean a loss of tourism dollars for your state.  I know that if the horses are removed from Theodore Roosevelt National Park, I will NOT have any reason to continue to visit your state. 

Although the Governor has stated that he has “No comment” on this situation, I’m asking him to use the weight of his office to work with our North Dakota state legislators to pass a resolution formally asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to allow the wild horses to remain in the park at numbers that allow for a genetically viable herd of horses. I am also asking the Governor to work with our federally elected officials, specifically Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the Subcommittee on National Parks, to do what they can at a federal level to help protect North Dakota’s wild horses. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Please continue to send us your questions.  You CAN also comment directly on these posts on our website below!

Have you sent your emails to Senator Hoeven’s office? Please see Monday’s blog post for more information in our first “Call to Action” https://chwha.org/2022/12/26/call-to-action-1/

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.

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NEPA

As the park moves forward with its wild horse management plan, what we all need to understand is that there is a process being followed by Theodore Roosevelt National Park as they move forward with their plan.

That process is called NEPA.

NEPA stands for National Environmental Policy Act.  You can read more about it on this website: https://www.environmentalscience.org/nepa-intro-united-states-environmental-policy

Here are some important points to note for you:

NEPA was signed into Law in 1970 and set the stage for environmental law in the United States.  – THIS is all that matters folks!  THIS is our most powerful tool to fight the park with. THIS is why emotions, stories and unsubstantiated opinions or statistics will NOT help the Theodore Roosevelt National Park wild horses.  We need healthy doses of good old common sense that can be backed by FACTS & SCIENCE! THIS is why CHWHA has hired the environmental law firm of Eubanks and Associates to help us fight for these horses!

NEPA will make sure that Theodore Roosevelt National Park considers the environmental impact of their proposed action with regard to the wild horses entrusted in their care. 

The park has given us their proposed action: Alternative C – Proposed Action: Phased Reduction of Herds to No Livestock. 

The park also has to give us a “no-action” alternative – which for the park dates back to their severely outdated 1978 EA (this can be found in the library section of our website: https://chwha.org/library/ ): Alternative A – No Action Alternative: Continued herd management under the 1978 EA and 1970 Management Plan

NEPA states that the park has to give a range of REASONABLE alternatives to consider.  But the park has NOT provided any REASONABLE alternatives.  Worse yet, it is supporting one that will have devastating consequences for the Theodore Roosevelt wild horses:  Alternative C – Proposed Action: Phased Reduction of Herds to No Livestock. The only other option they are considering at this time is eliminating the herd of horses in an expedited fashion: Alternative B – Action Alternative: Expedited Reduction of Herds to No Livestock

THIS is why your comments are important.  WHAT ELSE SHOULD THEY CONSIDER? 

After this public comment period, the park will decide which additional analyses ALONG WITH THE ONES LISTED ABOVE – to consider as they begin to research the potential impacts of the options.  This research should include things like a much-needed updated forage report. 

We have listed documents that you can use to support your comments on our website: https://chwha.org/save-the-trnp-wild-horses/

The biggest thing that should be in your comment letter is that Theodore Roosevelt National Park must allow an analysis that allows for a minimum of 150 horses in the herd to maintain genetic diversity.  There is enough science to back this that can easily be found in a simple google search.  Again, we have other supporting documents on our website here: https://chwha.org/save-the-trnp-wild-horses/

Please continue to send us your questions.  You CAN also comment directly on these posts on our website below!

Have you sent your emails to Senator Hoeven’s office? Please see yesterday’s blog post for more information in our first “Call to Action” https://chwha.org/2022/12/26/call-to-action-1/

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.

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Call to Action #1

Hello and Happy Monday to everyone! 

We have been working diligently with our CHWHA board, our legal team and other national wild horse advocacy groups since Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced their plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the park. 

Today, we are coming to you with our “Call to Action” #1 with how you can help us save this herd of wild horses!

The National Park Service falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government.  North Dakota has two federal senators: Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven and one federal congressman: Kelly Armstrong.  These are the people we need to contact to let them know that as the taxpayers that elected them to office, we are NOT happy with the current actions of this federal government office!

Today we are asking that you contact Senator John Hoeven’s office.  Senator Hoeven is on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  He is also a member of the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks.

For our North Dakota residents, please send the following email to Dan Auger – Senator Hoeven’s legislative director:  daniel_auger@hoeven.senate.gov and Tony Eberhard – one of the Senator’s staffers: tony_eberhard@hoeven.senate.gov:

“I am writing to ask Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources as well as the Subcommittee on National Parks, to help the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park management recently announced its plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the park.  Since these wild horses are NOT protected under the Wild Horse & Burro Act, and the National Parks fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, I am asking Senator Hoeven to act now to save this iconic herd. 

North Dakota is a state that is rich in equine history.  These horses represent a piece of the state’s history dating back to Theodore Roosevelt’s time in North Dakota.  In its purpose statement, the park states that it wants to give today’s visitors a similar experience as Theodore Roosevelt’s over 100 years ago. 

These horses are one of the leading tourist attractions for our state.  If the park is allowed to remove all of the wild horses from the park, North Dakota’s economy will definitely be negatively impacted. 

As a resident of the state of North Dakota, I am calling upon you as my elected voice to oppose the park’s proposed management plan and instead protect the herd by keeping it at a healthy and genetically viable number of horses.  

Thank you for your help in this time sensitive matter.  “

If you are NOT a resident of North Dakota,  please send the following version of the email to Dan Auger – Senator Hoeven’s legislative director:  daniel_auger@hoeven.senate.gov and Tony Eberhard – one of the Senator’s staffers: tony_eberhard@hoeven.senate.gov:

“I am writing to ask Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources as well as the Subcommittee on National Parks, to help the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park management recently announced its plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of wild horses from the park.  Since these wild horses are NOT protected under the Wild Horse & Burro Act, and the National Parks fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, I am asking Senator Hoeven to act now to save this iconic herd. 

North Dakota is a state that is rich in equine history.  These horses represent a piece of the state’s history dating back to Theodore Roosevelt’s time in North Dakota.  In its purpose statement, the park states that it wants to give today’s visitors a similar experience as Theodore Roosevelt’s over 100 years ago. 

These horses are one of the leading tourist attractions for our state.  If the park is allowed to remove all of the wild horses from the park, North Dakota’s economy will definitely be negatively impacted. 

As a frequent tourist to the state of North Dakota, I am asking you to help save these iconic wild horses.  If the horses are in fact removed from Theodore Roosevelt National Park, I will no longer have a reason to visit your state. 

Thank you for your help in this time sensitive matter.  “

There are several other things we are working on, and we will continue to let you know how you can help in the days and weeks ahead.  The BIGGEST thing is to make sure you comment by January 31, 2022!  We will continue to share points that you can use in your comment letter.  We will also share our comment letter when it is completed.  We have added important links and resources for you on our website here: https://chwha.org/save-the-trnp-wild-horses/

Thank you for your support and have a great week!


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.

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Merry Christmas

From all of us at Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates – we would like to thank you for your support this you and thank you for all that you have helped us accomplish as we continue to fight for the freedom of the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, ND.

We wish you the Happiest of Holidays no matter what you are celebrating and look forward to fighting along side you in 2023 to make sure there are ALWAYS wild horses running wild and free in Theodore Roosevelt National Park!


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.

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The Park is going to do what the Park wants to do

If I had a penny for every time I heard that line!

It is actually true.  The park has gone seemingly unchecked, for years.  Frank and Leo Kuntz were the last ones to challenge the park on their insane policies meant to eradicate the herd of wild horses that called the park home.  Frank and Leo focused their efforts in starting a non-profit and saving the unique breed of horses that once called Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  That was before new blood was introduced.  While they were still outspoken about the park through the years, the park has generally lived up to doing what it wants –  when it wants to.

Until now!

The thing is, our national parks belong to us – the taxpaying citizens of the US. 

In the 1970’s when the park tried to eliminate ALL of the horses in the park, public outcry won.

Now, in 2022, the park has announced what we will say – out loud – their plans to eliminate the entire herd of horses from the park.

The federally elected senators and congressmen have shown that we cannot depend on them for any significant change.  Congressman Armstrong told the Fargo Forum this week:

            “Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., backed the park’s proposal to eliminate the horse and longhorn herds from the park.

“I support Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s management plan,” he said in a statement. “They have done the research and will make the best decision based on science so future generations can enjoy the park. These are tough decisions, but emotion cannot outweigh what is best for long-term sustainability.””

That is quite the different answer than he gave us in June of 2021:

Dear Ms. Kman,

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). Your thoughts are important to me as I work to represent you in congress. 

As you know, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 prevents the harassment or killing of wild or unclaimed horses on federal lands, with the herds managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The law considers these animals as the “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.” This legislation was amended to authorize the BLM to sell animals over 10 years of age that have unsuccessfully been offered for adoption at least three times, as an alternative to destroying the animals. As part of the authorized management of horses and burros, the BLM actively gathers hair samples to monitor the genetic diversity of each herd to develop individual recommendations for specific herds.

Like you, I believe we must respect and protect these horses, preventing as many unnecessary animal deaths as possible. Wild horses have lived on these lands since the 15th and 16th Centuries. We must develop a solution that allows the animals to continue their way of life while protecting rangeland, preventing boom and bust population events, and reducing  conflict with ranchers. Although I do not serve on the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over these issues, I will work with my colleagues to find a humane and fiscally responsible solution to ensure the viability of wild horses on public lands. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should related legislation be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Again, thank you for contacting me on this issue. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website at Armstrong.house.gov to sign up for my newsletter or contact me with any other concerns you may have. 

Sincerely,
Kelly Armstrong”

Never mind his ignorance as these horses are NOT protected by the Wild Horse and Burro Act, and that these horses are not battling for land use from any ranchers because they are fenced into a national park. 

We have made countless phone calls over the years as we have been advocating for these horses.  The responses are always similar to what you see above. 

THAT is why we believe the only way that any change will even be possible is to have a team of lawyers working with us to fight for these horses. 

This fight is going to take every single one of us.  EVERYONE needs to comment.  Share posts – keep this information flowing so that we can continue to build our army!

The park received 1774 pieces of correspondence for their last public comment period.  We believe the majority of those comment letters were in favor of keeping the wild horses in the park’s boundaries in some capacity.  Yet, the park came back with the revised analyses they presented us with last week – one seriously limiting the herd to an unviable number of 35-60 horses and the other two eliminating the herd ENTIRELY.  This speaks volumes to the park trying to continue to do what the park wants to do.  Our public comments will not be enough to bring about the necessary changes needed for the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home. 

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is working with Eubanks and Associates.  They are a leading environmental law firm based in Washington, DC that is experienced in handling cases like this.  They also represent American Wild Horse Campaign and The Cloud Foundation – so we think they are pretty highly recommended.

Eubanks and Associates is currently working with us to draft our comment letter to the park.  They have done extensive research into the history of the wild horses in this park and are well versed in the NEPA process.  This comment period is critical because we will be presenting the park with other analyses that they should consider, based on science and facts.  After this comment period, the park will begin its research on the impacts of the analyses they decide to consider in their EA (Environmental Assessment) or EIS (Environmental Impact Statement).

Retaining Eubanks and Associates is not FREE!  It will take a lot of money to continue this fight with them by our side.  Even then, nothing is guaranteed.  We do feel that our best defense to fight for the freedom of these horses is working with Eubanks and Associates.

Otherwise, we are afraid this will turn into another case of “the park is going to do what the park wants to do.” We know that the park wants to get rid of the 185 horses currently living wild and free within their park boundaries. 

We hope we can count on your support to make sure that the park is finally stopped from making decisions that do nothing but hurt the wild horses entrusted to their care. 

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.

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What to do now?

Hello and Happy Thursday to everyone!

It has been a crazy week and a half as we come into the finish line of the holiday season.

For most of us, this past week or so has been a week of shock, anger, frustration, disappointment and feel free to insert your own feelings/emotion here. 

It seems like every day someone else sends us a message as they just come to realize what the fate of choice is for the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park as park management made their shocking announcement last week to eliminate ALL of the wild horses from the park! 

We here at Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates have met as a board and we have been in talks with other national wild horse advocacy groups.  We will continue to share information as we have it as well as information to help you formulate your own comment letter to the park. 

We have added a Save the Wild Horses of TRNP page to our website.  Here you will find all of the important information on how to comment, how to attend the public meeting on January 12, 2023.  We have also added some great resources that you can use to support your comment letter.

About that comment letter…

Today, I propose something new.

Write your letter.  Let it be RAW. Say what you need to.   Swear if you have to.  Let it out! This whole situation is extremely heartbreaking and frustrating. Don’t look for it to make sense – just let every emotion you are feeling flow through on the paper as you write your letter.  LET.IT.OUT!

When you are done – check in with how you are feeling.

Feel better?

Then rip up or burn the letter. 

Sometimes expressing the extremes of our feelings helps us to better focus on what we need to in order to make a stronger impact.

Next…

Spend at least the next few days celebrating in whatever way you and your family do during this holiday season.  Life is short and nothing is guaranteed.  That is part of the lesson in all of this.

We will continue to be here sharing information with all of you.  You can catch up when you are ready. 

We do believe we will have a lot more information to share next week with all of you as well as some action points that you can take. 

Have a wonderful holiday season.  Please keep these amazing horses in your warmest thoughts and prayers. 

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.

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North Dakota News speaks out

Our friend, Patrick Springer from the Fargo Forum has written an article to discuss Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s recent decision to remove all of the wild horses from the park. You can read the full article here: https://www.inforum.com/news/north-dakota/theodore-roosevelt-national-park-mulls-removing-wild-horses-kept-as-a-remnant-of-the-open-range?utm_source=email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=dailypm&utm_market=inforum

Thank you Patrick! We appreciate 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.

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s Purpose Statement

In the newsletter that Theodore Roosevelt National Park released last week, they reiterated the park’s purpose statement for everyone:

“Theodore Roosevelt National Park memorializes Theodore Roosevelt and pays tribute to his enduring contribution to the conservation of our nation’s resources by preserving and protecting the scenery, native wildlife, and wilderness qualities—the landscape that inspired Roosevelt and still inspires visitors today.”

First, we agree with those of you who have stated that Theodore Roosevelt is probably rolling over in his grave at the latest attack the park has made on the wild horses entrusted to their care!

Another question that comes up is why is the park trying to change the very landscape that inspired Theodore Roosevelt?

The park has the following quote from Theodore Roosevelt listed on their website (https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/historyculture/theodore-roosevelt-quotes.htm):

“In a great many–indeed, in most–localities there are wild horses to be found, which, although invariably of domestic descent, being either themselves runaways from some ranch or Indian outfit, or else claiming such for their sires and dams, yet are quite as wild as the antelope on whose domain they have intruded.”

Also from Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s website (https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/nature/horse-history.htm):

“After the park was fenced, a horse round-up held in 1954 removed 200 branded animals. A few small bands of horses eluded capture and went unclaimed. These horses continued to live free-range in the park.

For several years the National Park Service tried to remove all horses from the park. In 1970, a change of park policy recognized the horse as part of the historical setting. New policies were written and enacted to manage the horses as a historic demonstration herd. (The horses do not fall under the protection of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act which only applies to animals on US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.)”

Random questions for this Tuesday morning – why is the park trying to change what Theodore Roosevelt experienced and what happened to the new park policies that were written and enacted to manage these horses as a historic demonstration herd?

Theodore Roosevelt also said, “It was here that the romance of my life began.”

For many of us, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is where the romance of our lives also began – because of the amazing wild horses that call the park home. 

Please be sure to see our new page – Save the TRNP wild horses (https://chwha.org/save-the-trnp-wild-horses/)– for important information about this process and resources you can use for your public comments that are due to the park by January 31, 2023. 

The photo above is of 2022 Filly Dreamer – laying content in the fresh fallen snow we got this past week – completely unaware that her right to lay within the boundaries of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is being threatened! Please share our posts and don’t forget to hit the donate button (https://chwha.org/support-chwha/)!  Dreamer, and ALL of the TRNP wild horses need your help now more than ever as we continue to fight for these amazing horses to stay wild and free in the only home they have ever known!

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.

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WHY?

What a wild week last week was!  NO ONE expected that the management of Theodore Roosevelt National Park would EVER plan to eliminate ALL of the wild horses from the park!

But that is just what they announced last week!  They came back in the fall, as they stated, and listed the three new analyses that they will be considering as they move forward with their wild horse management plan.

We have gotten A LOT of questions over the past week, and we are trying our best to answer them either personally or through our blog posts.

The biggest question we get is: WHY?

The answer? That is one that only the management of Theodore Roosevelt National Park can answer.

Many of you have also asked – “What can I do?”

Here are a few things you can do or plan to do:

Please share our posts!  We need to get the word out to as many people as possible!  We need EVERYONE’s help to save the Theodore Roosevelt National Park wild horses!

Make sure you are part of the “Virtual Public Scoping Meeting” being held on January 12, 2023.  You can find more information here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/MeetingNotices.cfm?projectID=105110

Start gathering your thoughts so that you can provide a well thought out comment by January 31, 2023.  We are working with several national wild horse advocacy groups and will continue to share points here that can be used in your comment letter.  Our last CHWHA comment letter is also available to view in the library section of our website (https://chwha.org/library/).  We will be writing a NEW comment letter that better reflects the new analyses the park is considering along with our thoughts on analyses that the park also needs to consider.

When you are ready, you can send your comment here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=125324

Want to help CHWHA?  Please fill out a volunteer application!  We need your help! You can fill out a volunteer application here: https://app.givingheartsday.org/#/charity/1669

Please donate to Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates!  We are working with Eubanks and Associates – a leading environmental legal team – to fight for the freedom of the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  There are several ways you can donate listed on our website: https://chwha.org/support-chwha/

People have also been asking what happened to the last set of analyses they were considering?

We have no idea why the park has completely changed direction.  The truth is that Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates did NOT support ANY of the analyses presented last time and we DO NOT support any of the three that were presented last week. 

The point to remember is that we only get a few public comment periods.   The current one is EXTREMELY important because they are asking for alternative analyses to consider as they move into the next part of the planning process.  This is the part where they will research the analyses they presented and any additional analyses that were presented during this time that they chose to consider.

Thank you for your support!  We will have more to share in the coming days!


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.

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EA vs EIS

If you are like me, does it seem like new words are being added to your vocabulary almost daily?

Here is a GREAT article that discusses the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) processes: https://hanaresources.com/nepa-environmental-assessments/.  Our government is SUPPOSED to have checks and balances and NEPA is one BIG one that will govern the actions of Theodore Roosevelt National Park as they move forward through this management planning process!

Right now, Theodore Roosevelt National Park has listed three different analyses for plans they will be considering for the future of the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, ND home.  Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates DOES NOT support ANY of the analyses the park has offered and will be sharing alternative analyses that the park should consider in their comment letter.  THAT is what this comment period is for – LETTING THE PARK KNOW WHAT OTHER OPTIONS THEY SHOULD CONSIDER!

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is SUPPOSED to take into consideration reasonable options that are presented to them and begin their research into the impacts of the different options.  The park has decided that they will use an Environmental Assessment INSTEAD of an Environmental Impact Statement to do this.  Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates DISAGREES with this option.

From the website listed above – An Environmental Assessment (EA) is:

“For projects that will significantly impact the environment or available resources, the environmental assessment will identify issues to be addressed, provide a framework for public comment, and prepare formal documentation regarding the matter.

The environmental assessment must include:

  • Purpose (Needs Statement)
  • List of Alternatives (Including No Action if applicable)
  • Description of the Affected Environment
  • Explanation of the Potential Consequences
  • Coordination of Reporting Activities”

From the website – an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is:

“For major projects that will significantly impact the environment, an environmental impact statement must be prepared to inform decision-makers and the public of the project, its consequences, and potential alternatives.

Preparing an EIS begins by organizing the available data to define the project’s scope. Then, armed with the facts, the agency coordinates with other agencies and interested parties to prepare formal recommendations. The project is advertised through news releases, and a full draft of the EIS is presented to the public for comment. A public meeting is held to discuss the EIS, and the documents are finalized pending the public comments. The final draft is also published to the public and filed as documentation.

An EIS statement includes:

  • Purpose (Needs Statement)
  • List of Alternatives
  • Description of the Affected Environment
  • Explanation of Environmental Impact
  • Identification of All Parties Consulted”

We think you will agree that making a plan to REMOVE ALL OF THE WILD HORSES from Theodore Roosevelt National Park WILL SIGNIFICANTLY impact the environment of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Therefore – an Environmental Impact Statement NOT and Environmental Assessment SHOULD be what the park uses for the next phase of their management planning process. This is one of many things we are discussing with our legal team as we move forward in this process.

We are hoping that as you see how intricate this process is, you will help support our advocacy work by donating to Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates through any of the methods listed on our website.  You can hit the donate now button on any of our Facebook posts and can always send a good old-fashioned check in the mail if you like!

These wild horses need your help now more than ever!  It is going to take everything that each one of us has to keep these horses wild and free in Theodore Roosevelt National Park! 

Thank you for your support and for helping us save this historic wild horse herd!


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.

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What a week this has been!

I am not sure what has been worse this week – Mother Nature’s seemingly never-ending winter wrath that has crippled the state of North Dakota or Theodore Roosevelt National Park issuing a press release letting us know about their intent to eliminate ALL of the wild horses from the park.  I guess in all honesty, there is hope that Mother Nature will eventually calm down.  Theodore Roosevelt National Park has been trying to get rid of the wild horses that were fenced into the park ever since they realized they were there.  Some things never change!

It has been a highly emotional week for sure.  It sickens my stomach to even think about there NOT being any wild horses within Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s boundaries. 

There is a process that has to be followed.  The park has announced analyses that they are considering.  To be clear, Chasing Horses Wild Horses Wild Horse Advocates does not support ANY of the proposed options that Theodore Roosevelt National Park management is considering. 

We ARE working with national wild horse organizations and ask that you be patient while we all work to get some solid information to you for your comments.

Once we all comment and let the park know WHAT analyses they need to consider, the park will begin their research.  The park has stated that they will be doing an Environmental Analysis.  For reasons we will cover in a blog post of its own, we believe they should be doing an Environmental Impact Statement. 

Either way, the rules of NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) are at play.  THIS is why we insist on working with our legal team at Eubanks and Associates.  We hope this information helps calm your nerves a bit.   Nothing is ever guaranteed, but there are A LOT of legal grounds to fight Theodore Roosevelt National Park and their plans to annihilate the herd of wild horses that have called the park home since the park’s inception.    

“An agency’s duty to consider alternatives to the proposed action has been described as the “heart” of the NEPA process. 40 C.F.R. § 1502.14. Agencies are required to “study, develop, and describe appropriate alternatives to recommended courses of action in any proposal which involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources.” 42 U.S.C. § 4332(E); see also 42 U.S.C. § 4332(C)(iii). An EIS must “‘provide full and fair discussion of significant environmental impacts and . . . inform decisionmakers and the public of the reasonable alternatives which would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance the quality of the human environment.’” Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Ctr. v. Bureau of Land Mgmt., 387 F.3d 989, 993 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing 40 C.F.R. § 1502.1). It is essential that an EIS contain “detailed and careful” analysis of the relative merits and demerits of the proposed action and proposed alternatives, a requirement which courts have characterized as the “linchpin” of an EIS. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Callaway, 524 F.2d 79, 92 (2d Cir. 1975) (quoting Monroe Cnty Conservation Soc’y, Inc. v. Volpe, 472 F.2d 693, 697–98 (2d Cir. 1972)).

“The purpose of NEPA’s alternatives requirement is to ensure agencies do not undertake projects “without intense consideration of other more ecologically sound courses of action, including shelving the entire project, or of accomplishing the same result by entirely different means.” Envtl. Defense Fund, Inc. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engrs., 492 F.2d 1123, 1135 (5th Cir. 1974). That analysis must identify multiple viable alternatives, so that an agency can make “a real, informed choice” from the spectrum of reasonable options. Friends of Yosemite Valley v. Kempthorne, 520 F.3d 1024, 1039 (9th Cir. 2008).

Federal courts have consistently held that an agency’s failure to consider a reasonable alternative is fatal to an agency’s NEPA analysis. See, e.g., Muckleshoot Indian Tribe v. U.S. Forest Serv., 177 F.3d 800, 814 (9th Cir. 1999) (“A ‘viable but unexamined alternative renders [the] environmental impact statement inadequate.’”) (quoting Citizens for a Better Henderson v. Hodel, 768 F.2d 1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 1985)); Idaho Conserv. League v. Mumma, 956 F.2d 1508, 1519-20 (9th Cir. 1992) (“The existence of a viable, but unexamined alternative renders an environmental impact statement inadequate.”). If the action agency rejects an alternative from consideration, it must explain why a particular option is not feasible and was therefore eliminated from further consideration. 40 C.F.R. § 1502.14(a). The courts will scrutinize this explanation to ensure that the reasons given are adequately supported by the record. See Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, 177 F.3d at 813–15; Idaho Conserv. League v. Mumma, 956 F.2d 1508, 1522 (9th Cir. 1992) (while agencies can use criteria to determine which options to fully evaluate, those criteria are subject to judicial review), Citizens for a Better Henderson, 768 F.2d at 1057.”

Simply put – at this time, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is NOT considering reasonable alternatives for the management of the wild horses that call its park home.  They have clearly stated that at this time, the options they will consider are either total elimination of the herd (which is Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s preference) or reducing the herd to an unviable number of 35-60. 

As it is stated above: “Federal courts have consistently held that an agency’s failure to consider a reasonable alternative is fatal to an agency’s NEPA analysis.”

THIS is why Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is begging for you to help support our legal fight for these horses!  They have ALWAYS been a part of the landscape of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and they deserve to remain there for future generations to enjoy like we all have!

Please see the Support CHWHA page (https://chwha.org/support-chwha/) on our website for ways you can help.

Also know that sharing our posts helps too! 

Thank you for your support and please continue to message or email (info@chwha.org) us with your questions or concerns. 


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.

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What should be in MY comment letter?

We have been asked this question several times.  The library section of our website has a copy of our last 25 page letter that we mailed with 15# of supporting documentation.  Please feel free to use any information from that letter to express your concerns.  Due to the changes in the analyses that the park has given us to consider, the comment letter that Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates submits will be different than the first one. 

What the park DOESN’T want:

DO NOT comment – I pick “A” – this is NOT a vote.  The options the park has released are things that they will research when they move into the next step and do their environmental assessment.  They DO NOT need you to tell them to consider Option “A” – they already are! THAT is what their press release informed us of! If there are OTHER options that you think they should consider ASIDE from what they have shared with the public – THAT is what they want to know. 

They also don’t want a form letter.  We are also working with two other national wild horse advocacy groups and will be having some talking points soon. 

What your comment letter SHOULD say:

When you state alternative analyses you think they should consider, make sure they are reasonably attainable analyses.  Saying that the park should eliminate all of the bison and only keep the horses is NOT realistic.  We are not aware of any reputable documentation that will support that for you. 

Here is an example of analyses we asked them to consider in the last public comment period.  Yours does not have to be this long. There is no length requirement or limit. Again, please understand that what we are all asking in our comment letters is what we think they need to research further when they move to the next phase and start their Environmental Assessment:

V. ADDITIONAL ALTERNATIVES THAT MUST BE CONSIDERED FOR TRNP’S WILD HORSE MANAGEMENT PLAN

CHWHA believes that the following analysis should be included in this process. We will go over each point in detail and share the supporting scientific and/or policy data to support our claim.

1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park must allow an analysis that allows for a minimum of 150 horses in the herd to maintain genetic diversity.

2. Theodore Roosevelt National Park must allow and analysis that takes the historical and cultural significance of these horses into consideration.

3. Theodore Roosevelt National Park must allow an analysis that speaks to the methods of birth control that will be used to maintain a genetically viable reproductive herd.

4. Theodore Roosevelt National Park must allow an analysis that speaks to the methods and strategies that will be used if removals continue to be necessary after the successful implementation of a birth control program.

5. Theodore Roosevelt National Park must allow an analysis that speaks to the need for Park Management to publish an annual report for the wild horses in TRNP, similar to what is done at Assateague Island National Seashore and Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Then we went one by one and explained why:

A. Allowing a MINIMUM of 150 Horses to Promote and Maintain Genetic Diversity BLM and Gus Cothran have repeatedly stated that 150-200 wild horses are needed to maintain genetic diversity. E.g., BLM Handbook, 4.4.6.3, at 22. It is well documented that the TRNP horses lack genetic diversity, and the presence of the lethal white gene is a sign of inbreeding. To promote genetic diversity within this herd, TRNP should consider an alternative that tiers towards the high end of BLM and Gus Cothran’s recommendation. The number of mares foaling for the first time in 4-6 years is bringing some genetic diversity into this herd. There is also a large population of horses (approximately 40) that are age 15+ that we know will be dying in the near future. BLM states that there should be an equal balance of male and female horses in each of the following age groups: 0-4, 5-9, 10-15, 15+.

The National Academy of Sciences noted that through the success of the implementation of their Wild Horse Management Plan for the Assateague Island wild horses, new age categories of 15-25 and 25+ have been adopted for that 16 herd. TRNP needs to work to bring the sex and age ratios back into balance for the health of this herd.

The BLM Handbook also states that maximizing the number of breeding age horses (age 6-10 years) and “introducing 1-2 young mares every generation (10 years) from other herds living in similar environments.” will help maintain genetic diversity. The NAS Report, moreover, states that: The probability of natural gene flow in free-ranging horses and burros varies among herds. In some herds, management actions have included removals that had unknown effects on the levels and distribution of genetic diversity. Isolation and small population size in combination with the effects of genetic drift, may reduce genetic diversity to the point where herds suffer from the reduced fitness often associated with inbreeding. That would compromise the ability of herds to persist under changing environmental conditions. NAS Report at145.

For all these reasons, TRNP should develop and analyze an alternative in which the herd is managed to include a minimum of 150 individuals with an equal balance of reproductively viable male and female horses in each of the following age groups: 0-4, 5-9, 10-15, 15+.

If you note above, Gus Cothran, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report and The BLM handbook are all reference materials that back up the analyses we proposed.  Those works are available to the public.  The BLM handbook is available in the library section of our website https://chwha.org/library/. Since the NAS report is something that has to be purchased, we cannot share that freely here.

Also DON’T get caught up in the research aspect of this.  We are handling that at CHWHA. Putting together a commonsense comment is more important.  They need to know how you feel about what they are offering.  There are also examples of that in our previous comment letter that can be found in the library section of our website.  There are literally a few pages within our letter that tell them why the option to eliminate the herd altogether is not an option that should be considered.    

Our best advice is to use the time you have to give your comment some thought.  There is no reason to comment RIGHT NOW.  We have until January 31, 2023. In the coming days and weeks, CHWHA, along with other national advocacy groups, will be sharing information that you can easily share within your own comment letter. 

For NOW please sign up for the public meeting:


The NPS will hold a virtual public scoping meeting on January 12, 2023. Attendees can join by computer or phone to learn about the Livestock Plan. You can find information about joining the meeting on the project Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP. Please note that comments can only be accepted through the PEPC website or by U.S. mail and will not be recorded or documented during the virtual meeting.

And start getting your thoughts together on WHAT you want the wild horse herd at Theodore Roosevelt National Park to look like. 

Lastly, I want to just remind everyone and share for those who may not know – in the 1970’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park tried to eliminate the wild horses completely from the park.  Public outcry from the people of North Dakota won and the horses were allowed to stay.  THAT was before the internet and before literally millions of people from all over the world fell in love with these horses.

Does that mean it will be easy? 

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

We said it before and will say it again, the park has shown their intent – eliminate the wild horses COMPLETELY from Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  We know what the fight is and now we have to fight as hard as we can to change that.  THAT will take each and every one of us – NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE! YOUR VOICE IS LITERALLY THEIR VOICE AND THESE HORSES NEED YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER!!!

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

Thank you for your support and please make a donation of any size to help support our advocacy work.  At this time the help we need for our legal expenses to protect this herd is critical! 


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.

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We are HERE

Hello again!

We have been flooded with questions mostly stemming from misinformation on other pages.  We can’t control what they post, we can only share knowledge we have been given my people who have been through this process.

If you look at this photo – the park is telling you what the process is and where we are in that process.

The park is getting ready to do an Environmental Assessment (EA).  In that assessment, they will be considering the 3 options they have shared with the public.  What this public comment period is for is so that the taxpaying public can tell the park what additional analyses they need to consider as they move forward in this process. 

THIS is why it is NOT necessary to comment that you “Vote for A” THEY ARE ALREADY CONSIDERING A, B & C.  Give them something else to think about based in common sense and science that they will then add to the EA they will be working on after this public comment period.

Our last comment letter can be found in the library section of our website (https://chwha.org/library/).  We will be drafting a new comment letter, based on the change in the analyses they have given, but it does give some good points that can be shared in your own letter.

As always, feel free to continue to message us and email us with your questions and concerns.  We are happy that more wild horse advocacy groups have reached out to us to work with us to save our horses!  Please feel free to contact us at info@chwha.org if you would like to work with us!

Thank you for your support and for sharing your questions and concerns with us. 


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.

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So, what do we DO now?

It has been a long week as we come into this hump day.  We are happy to have the support of all of you have given us this week.  It has been a LONG and SHOCKING week!

So, for this moment…

Let’s all take a DEEEEEPPPPPP breath.

What CAN we do?

For starters let’s STOP sharing false information!

The park has listed 3 analyses that they will consider when they do their Environmental Assessment. They are asking us – THE TAXPAYING PUBLIC – WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE CONSIDER?

This was a point of confusion on the last comment period.  So much so, that if you look at page 6 of their Civic Engagement Report (found in our CHWHA Library: https://chwha.org/library/) You will see they clearly state ONCE AGAIN:

“Furthermore, this was not a vote-counting process, and the emphasis was on the comment’s content rather than the number of times a comment was received.”

There is NO reason to include in your comment to them “I pick A”

A is NOT a viable option for this herd.  35-60 horses has been scientifically proven to NOT be enough horses for a viable herd. 

They are NOT going to tally up all of the totals and pick a “winner” from the 3 analyses they have offered.

We cannot tell you WHAT to comment – we are just telling you that commenting “pick A” is not a comment that will hold any weight with the final outcome for these horses.

What SHOULD you comment?

This is what the park IS asking for:

“You are invited to submit comments on the information in this newsletter, the preliminary alternatives, proposed action, and what the EA should address and analyze. Comments that provide relevant and new information with sufficient detail are most useful. Comments that will be considered are those that present information that can be used when developing alternatives, present reasonable alternatives, or present information that can be used when the NPS considers impacts of alternatives. Comments that cannot be considered include comments for or against an action without any reasoning, comments that only agree or disagree with NPS policy, comments without justification or supporting data, comments that take the form of vague, open-ended questions, and form letters. Comments are not accepted by fax, e-mail or in any other form. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted. 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:

Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645”

We ask that you take a moment and think about what you want for these horses and then tell them that!  We will continue to share information on our blog that you are welcome to share in your comments.  There are also resources in the library section of our website (https://chwha.org/library/) of documents you can use to support your comments if you like – including our last comment letter.

Know that Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates will be sending in a very detailed letter, written with the help of our legal team, with a TON (or at least 15 lbs!) of supporting documentation to back up analyses we feel need to be considered for the future of this herd.  We will share that with you when it is completed. We will also continue to share points that should be considered in our blog posts on our website. 

We have until January 31, 2023 to comment – so please take some time and give thoughtful consideration to what you are commenting. 

We are also talking with friends at American Wild Horse Campaign and The Cloud Foundation.  We are confident we will have more to share from them as well in the coming days and weeks.  We are not currently working with any other nonprofit groups but DO welcome ANY of them to contact us if they want to work with us to save the Theodore Roosevelt National Park horses. This is a time for all of us to stand together.  The park has stated clearly what they their choice is: TOTAL ELIMINATION OF THESE HORSES FROM THE PARKS LANDSCAPE!  We ALL need to work together to fighter harder than ever for these horses! We can be contacted at info@chwha.org.

What else can you do?

Please DO sign up for the public meeting:

The NPS will hold a virtual public scoping meeting on January 12, 2023. Attendees can join by computer or phone to learn about the Livestock Plan. You can find information about joining the meeting on the project Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LP. Please note that comments can only be accepted through the PEPC website or by U.S. mail and will not be recorded or documented during the virtual meeting.

Please DO help support Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates – there are a number of ways you can do this on our website: https://chwha.org/support-chwha/.  The future of these wild horses is seriously being called into question.  There are no guarantees which is why we have chosen to partner with Eubanks and Associates to help us navigate through this process, up to and including litigation if need be, to make sure the TRNP wild horses stay right where they currently are – WILD and FREE in Theodore Roosevelt National Park!  Once again, there are several ways you can help listed on our website. 

We have also heard from some businesses that are interested in doing a matching fund donation.  If you have a business and would like to help, please contact us at info@chwha.org!  No amount is too small to help these horses!

Thank you for your support!  We appreciate each one of you!



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.

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Things that keep you up at night

No more wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park?

I can’t imagine.

Flax ~ Gone.

Boomer ~ Gone.

Circus ~ Gone.

Sidekick ~ Gone.

Nicols ~ Gone.

I could continue down the line. 

190 of them – ALL GONE!

WHY?

We are all asking that question, aren’t we?

WHY?

WHAT is Theodore Roosevelt National Park thinking?!

They have told us very clearly. 

I have learned to READ everything carefully whenever they release anything.  So deep diving into their press release from yesterday, here are some things we DO know:

The park stated in their newsletter: “Currently, two livestock herds reside in the Park: there are nine cattle in the North Unit and approximately 200 horses in the South Unit. Both herds have been allowed to occur as nonnative livestock on NPS lands. While past perspectives focused on managing for a historic scene, park priorities are to manage the species, resources, and ecosystems that are native to the landscape of the Park”

Ahhh, I see! The horses have been BLESSED by the National Park Service to be ALLOWED to remain in the area that originally belonged to them BEFORE the park was fenced in back in the 1950’s.  BUT ~ NOW the park priorities have changed!  They have decided that the park rightfully belongs to the bison that were re-introduced to the area in the 1950’s and the elk that were re-introduced in the 1970’s.  The horses, in this equation, are the nonnative “livestock” – according to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Yes, give your head a moment to wrap itself around that.  The horses that were always here – proven by the fact that they were “accidentally” fenced into the park are nonnative and the species that were brought in to return the landscape to what Theodore Roosevelt would have experienced are native. 

And while we are on the subject of “livestock” – a term many have felt was a poor choice for a label for wild horses in the badlands, the park has given us a definition of just what livestock is: “Livestock at the park include any species of animal that has been selectively bred by humans for domestic and agricultural purposes, including, but not limited to, cattle, sheep, horses, burros, mules, goats, and swine.” Hmmmm.  So that brings about a few questions.  #1 – has the park been selectively breeding the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park? And #2 – what domestic and agricultural purposes have the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park served?  We believe the taxpaying public deserves an answer to both of those questions!

It is a very scary time for these wild horses.  I have found myself reflecting on Stallion Mystery, Singlefoot, Silver, Thunder Cloud, Cocoa, Mare Chubby, Flicka and all of the others that have passed on.  They were actually blessed to have been able to live their entire life wild and free.  The current 190 horses currently living in Theodore Roosevelt National Park may not be afforded that simple luxury. 

Still, I hold hope in my heart.

This isn’t the first time that the park tried to eliminate the wild horses.  A similar thing happened in the 1970’s.  The public rallied for these horses and public outcry won. 

Please sign up for the public scoping meeting on January 12, 2023, and make sure you get your comments in by January 31, 2023.  We have been asked several times and YES! we will continue to offer points like we have in this post that you can use in your letters to the park. 

This won’t be easy, and these horses will need EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to fight for them!  

We are begging you to help support our legal fees so that we can continue to have Eubanks and Associates working with us throughout this extremely important process.  There are several ways you can donate listed on our website as well as a donate button placed on every Facebook post we make!

Most importantly – PLEASE REMEMBER:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

~ Margaret Mead

It will take every single one of us working together, and this feels like the fight of my life at the moment.  I do believe we have the power to make the long overdue changes for the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home, but it will take every single one of us to make it happen.  So yes, the fight seems like it just got REALLY hard.  That just means we all have to fight a little harder!

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:
Superintendent
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645

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.

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park management plans to eliminate ALL wild horses from the park!

It always puts a wrench in my day when the park does a press release.  This morning was no different. We have been flooded with messages and emails so we decided to write what will be a VERY LONG but also EXTREMELY IMPORTANT POST!  

To recap:

Theodore Roosevelt National Park made an announcement in the spring of this year that they were FINALLY implementing a wild horse management plan.  This has been THE #1 goal of Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates – so naturally we were excited, until we read through the analyses they presented. 

The park changed the spring announcement and comment period from a scoping period to what they are now calling a “Pre-NEPA civic engagement”.  CHWHA sent in a 15# box filled with scientific documentation for the first public comment period for TRNP park management to consider for future analyses.  The park originally stated that they would be back in the fall with new analyses to consider. 

So here we are.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park has hired an outside agency, EMPSi, that will be working with them through this process. 

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has hired the well respected and established environmental legal team of Eubanks and Associates from Washington DC to work with us through this process to make sure these horses get the best wild horse management plan possible. 

We cannot stress this enough:  DECISIONS MADE FOR THIS WILD HORSE MANAGEMENT PLAN WILL IMPACT THIS HERD FOR GENERATIONS TO COME!! 

This morning I read through their press release and what they were proposing.  Like so many of you, I was outraged, angry, I may or may not have said a swear word or two.  And then I took a breath. 

We are now in what the park has listed as step 2 of this process: “Initiate NEPA/Public Scoping Period”.  They have also come up with 3 new analyses to be considered and are asking that if you have other analyses that should be considered that you send those to them by January 31, 2023. You can read their newsletter here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=125324

The park is basically offering to:

1 – take the herd of 190 horses down to 35-60.
or option 2 or 3 – to either slowly or quickly eliminate the ENTIRE herd of horses from the landscape of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Those 3 options paint a clear picture of Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s intentions for the wild horses that call that park home.  The park itself states that their “Proposed Action” is Option C which very clearly states:

” This alternative would also require active capture of horses with the methods best suited to reducing the population to zero, but in a phased approach. Tribes would be provided the first opportunity to receive horses; after Tribal requests are fulfilled, they would be sold to the public via GSA auction. Contraceptive techniques would be used to prevent future reproduction. Once a reduced herd size of fully contracepted horses is achieved, these horses would be allowed to remain in the Park to live out their lives. Cattle would be gathered and donated to other authorized entities or sold via GSA auction.”

YES! The park has very clearly stated that their main goal is to TOTALLY eliminate the herd of horses from Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

The thing is – our national parks belong to the taxpaying public – which is the reason for the public comment periods.  We get a say in what we want in OUR park!  We cannot stress enough that this is the time to make your voice heard!  YOUR VOICE IS LITERALLY THE VOICE OF THE HORSES!!

We KNOW and have scientific proof that 35-60 horses is NOT enough for a viable herd of horses.  We will not support that proposal.  We are also obviously NOT supporting the park’s current plan to eliminate the herd in any way shape or form. 

We have also shared before the difference between an Environmental Impact Statement and an Environmental Assessment.  An Environmental Assessment is done when little to no impact will be made on the environment due to the proposed actions. How can Theodore Roosevelt National Park honestly say that removing ALL of the wild horses from Theodore Roosevelt National Park would NOT impact the environment?  EMPSi and TRNP park management know as well as we do that an Environmental Impact Statement is called for in this situation. 

We have hired Eubanks and Associates because once we submit our documentation (AGAIN) the park states on their newly developed timeline that they will be back in the spring with new analyses to consider before they release their final plan to the public in the spring of 2023.  IF the SCIENTIFIC data we submit is NOT considered by the park – our lawyers will step in to find out WHY.  This is up to and including litigation over this management plan if need be. 

We would love to continue our relationship with Eubanks and Associates to make sure there will always be wild horses for future generations to enjoy.  But we can’t do this without the financial backing to continue to retain them.  To date, 95% of the funding that Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has received has been from Chasing Horses, LLC – a small business run by CHWHA’s founders, Chris & Gary Kman.  That cannot continue to be the case.  We are NOT working with any other advocates for these horses at this time, but we do welcome them to join us if it fits their advocacy efforts. 

We will be sharing our thoughts on this management plan regularly in the coming weeks along with suggested comments and documentation that you can use to write your own comments to present to the park during this extremely important process.   

For now, please just breathe and start to compile your comment letters.  We also strongly suggest that you sign up for the public scoping meeting on January 12, 2023. 

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!! Please share these posts to help spread the word and PLEASE donate to us help support our legal fees so we can ensure there are always wild horses living wild and free in Theodore Roosevelt National Park!! We need your financial support now more than ever!!!!

We hope this helps answer some of the questions you may have.  We will do our best to continue to answer any additional questions and will keep you posted on any new developments.

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.

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Wild & Free

Hello!  We wanted to give you some updates and apologize for our silence. 

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates (CHWHA) was formed to advocate for the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) in Medora, ND home.  We believe that there is enough research and best practices in place in other horse management herds that TRNP could apply those to the wild horses in their national park.  This would require the park to FINALLY give these horses a proper wild horse management plan.  We still believe this is the best option for the wild horses that call TRNP home than the same old “The park knows what it is doing.” lines we have heard time and time again.

CHWHA was formed in January of 2021 and in the spring of 2022, Theodore Roosevelt National Park FINALLY initiated a wild horse management plan! 

From the project website:

“The National Park Service is developing a Livestock Management Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) to assess options for managing horse and longhorn cattle herds in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The plan is currently in the pre-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) phase. In this phase, the National Park Service is soliciting input from the public on ideas for consideration in the Livestock Management Plan and identifying areas of concern. Input is being solicited through April 15, 2022.

Following the close of this pre-NEPA comment period, the National Park Service will update alternatives based on public input. The National Park Service will continue to solicit input with additional public engagement opportunities during the NEPA process. Formal opportunities for public engagement include public scoping, anticipated for the Fall of 2022, and public comment on the Draft EA by Spring 2023.”

What happened next, we believe, took everyone in the NPS by surprise!  During the first comment period, they received comments from ALL 50 states AND 58 comments from the International Community!  Because of the efforts of organizations like CHWHA, American Wild Horse Campaign and The Cloud Foundation, to educate followers on scientific FACTS to share during this comment period, TRNP park management has stated that they will be back with new analyses for the public to comment on.  This comment period was supposed to happen in the Fall of 2022 (as stated in the parks letter above).  Technically, it is STILL fall, so we are waiting like everyone else for the next phase in the management planning process.

We ARE in constant contact with our legal team who believes that this extended “quiet” period is a good thing.  The park is looking closely at the documents that were submitted and should be taking those into careful consideration for their new analyses as well as performing their Environmental Assessment. 

We will let you know as soon we hear anything.

As a board, CHWHA has discussed what’s next for our organization.  We have some pretty ambitious goals and are working on the start of a very exciting project that we hope to be able to share with you soon!

One thing we have all agreed on is that making sure there are wild horses running free in Theodore Roosevelt National Park for generations to come is now and always will be our #1 goal.

Our board has been working on fund raising for all of our goals.  We have also been working with our North Dakota Giving Hearts Day chapter which is keeping us busy trying to secure matching funds for our February Giving Hearts Day Campaign.  You can view our profile, sign up for volunteer opportunities as they arise and also make a donation anytime on their website here:  https://app.givingheartsday.org/#/charity/1669

We also hope that you will remember Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates this holiday season.  We are a small non-profit that has proven we are not afraid to stand up and be a loud voice for the wild horses in North Dakota! 

November 22nd is also Giving Tuesday.  Please remember Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates.  Every dollar makes a difference, and many organizations are matching funds for this event as well. 

This holiday season you can also help support our organization by making us your Amazon Smile Charity of choice!  All of you have to do is shop like you usually do and Amazon will make a donation to our organization!  You can sign up for that here: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepage/ref=smi_chpf_redirect?ie=UTF8&ein=86-1262476&ref_=smi_ext_ch_86-1262476_cl&fbclid=IwAR1iKA-OoVS5Fi5UX1hqkvTD_KVF6mAAtOn1eFOi5d6WhlcC_tVzXGW9HoU

The success of Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates would not be possible without the support of all of you!  Every comment letter that was sent, every post that is shared, and every $1 you donate has helped CHWHA realize some pretty incredible successes in a short time!  We hope we can count on your continued support!

Thank you again for your continued support.  Please know that even if it is quiet here, we are always working to make sure the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park remain wild and free for future generations to enjoy the same way we do today! You are welcome to message us with any questions you may have. 


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.

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Always more questions than answers….

2022 Filly Bliss (Raven’s Myst x Gunner)

We are sorry to say that we have some more sad news to share with you.

We were out in the park again yesterday and Filly Bliss (Raven’s Myst x Gunner) was not with her band.  We witnessed Raven’s Myst crying out, multiple times, with no response from her missing baby.

Stallion Gunner’s band – photo taken 8/29/22

If you feel like we just talked about missing foals, we did.  We let you know last week that Filly Millie was no longer with her band.  And about a week or so before that, Colt Patriot was also not with his band.

These horses have no natural predators in the park, and they have not been rounded up.  Yes, we did check the handling facility.

There is absolutely no other place for 2–4-month-old foals to be than with their mom and their band.  The only assumption we are left with is that they are no longer with us.

There have been 15 live births to the TRNP herd this year.  Of those 15, there have been 5 deaths. 

While it is understandable that “nature is cruel” or “this is the hard side of wild and free” or that some newborn foals simply “fail to thrive”, what is NOT understandable is how 3 seemingly healthy foals between the age of 2-4 months old have all managed to die within a 30-day period.

No predators.

No captures.

We feel that 3 is too many for a coincidence. 

3 mares in 3 different bands.  What do they have in common?

Well, there is the fact that TRNP is currently treating every female horse aged 8 months and up with GonaCon.

Sure!  TRNP says that GonaCon is completely safe for pregnant and nursing mares.  We have all seen that stated with any mention of GonaCon, but where are the studies that prove them?  Or is that study now also being conducted at Theodore Roosevelt National Park?

If that is true, we would like to see that data – not just words being thrown around telling us that GonaCon is good for our wild horses.  Where are the studies showing proof of the words meant to comfort us into believing no horses will be harmed in the administration of this pesticide?

If you are aware of any real studies and proof, please feel free to share them with us.  I have been searching for a couple days now and really cannot find more than someone from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Colorado State University (CSU), the NWRC (National Wildlife Research Center) or the National Park Service (NPS) simply telling us just how safe GonaCon is for use as fertility control on wild horses.

Please forgive us for not being open to believing the words of above agencies.  They may be known for many different things, and lack of transparency is probably #1 on those lists.

We have reached out to the park superintendent and the chief resource manager for their feedback on why 1/3 of the foals that were born this year have died.  We will let you know when they respond. 

Rest in Peace little Bliss.  You and all of the others will be missed.  


Please support our advocacy work! https://chwha.org/support-chwha/


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.

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Update

Mare Crow, 2022 Filly Phoenix, 2020 Filly Little Bear & Mare Lightening

We know it has been kind of quiet around here lately.  We are always working to advocate for these amazing horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, ND home.  While we are in this in between time of waiting for TRNP to come back with their new analyses for the new management plan for the wild horses entrusted in their care, we thought maybe we could review a few facts and definitions as well as discuss some of the issues our board is discussing as we weigh our next steps in our advocacy efforts.

As you know, the National Park Service falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior, an agency within our Federal Government.  If you go to http://www.nps.gov you will see the following listed as a mission statement of the National Park Service:

“The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations.  The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.”

In 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed.  If you go to hhttp://www.foia.gov, you will see the following statement:

“Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency.  It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.”

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates (CHWHA) is STILL waiting for a proper response from Theodore Roosevelt National Park from its FOIA request that was submitted on November 30, 2021.  On January 3, 2022 (i.e., twenty working days after the request was submitted), DOI had yet to acknowledge CHWHA’s request. Consequently, CHWHA wrote to DOI’s FOIA office to request acknowledgement and a date-certain by which responsive disclosures would begin.

That same day, CHWHA received a letter from DOI seeking “clarification” of the request. There, DOI claimed that it was unable to process CHWHA’s request because it could not “determine the exact time period” for the requested records. Thus, DOI asked that CHWHA “specify a time frame or duration of time” in which DOI should search for responsive records. DOI’s clarification request did not identify any other deficiencies in the request.

CHWHA provided the requested clarifications by letter dated January 13, 2022.

On February 11, 2022, DOI issued a two-page “clarification” to its final response. That clarification, however, concerned only two of the categories in CHWHA’s Request.  Because CHWHA has a strong basis to believe that responsive, non-exempt information has been improperly withheld by DOI, it appealed DOI’s final response on April 5, 2022.

However, by May 18, 2022—i.e., 30 working days after filing its FOIA appeal—DOI had not even acknowledge CHWHA’s appeal, let alone issued a final determination. In an effort to resolve DOI’s continued withholding of responsive, non-exempt records, CHWHA wrote to your office that day seeking acknowledgment of their appeal and a date certain by which a decision would be issued. That letter, too, went unacknowledged and unanswered. To date, i.e., more than 56 working days after their appeal was filed, CHWHA still has not received any acknowledgment of its appeal.

CHWHA sent another letter on June 29, 2022, and still has yet to receive any acknowledgement from TRNP or DOI.

FOIA provides that each agency “shall . . . make a determination with respect to any appeal within twenty days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of such appeal.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(ii) (emphases added). Likewise, DOI’s own regulations provide that “[t]he basic time limit for responding to an appeal is 20 workdays after receipt,” and if the agency cannot meet that deadline, it will notify the requester of its right to seek judicial review. 43 C.F.R. § 2.62.

As explained, DOI’s twenty-working-day response window has long since passed without even so much as an acknowledgment by the agency. DOI (and NPS’s) delay here is particularly troubling because the requested records relate to an ongoing management planning process for wild horses.

Our CHWHA board is now discussing the next steps for our organization in this process.  Again, we believe that the information we are requesting may be critical to the new wild horse management plan. Our right to bring our request in front of a judge is something our board is discussing as the next step in this FOIA process.

FOIA provides a fee shifting provision to encourage transparency and ensure that the agencies are following FOIA.  IF it is found that the NPS and DOI are wrongfully withholding information from CHWHA under the laws of FOIA, Theodore Roosevelt National Park will not only have to turn over copies of the documents CHWHA has been requesting since November of 2021, but Theodore Roosevelt National Park will also have to reimburse any legal fees incurred by CHWHA with regards to our FOIA request.  CHWHA will have to pay any legal fees upfront and then hope that if we do litigate over this the judge rules in our favor which would include reimbursing our legal fees. 

We have set up a separate Go Fund Me for our legal fund.  You can make a donation through GoFundMe here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/chasing-horses-wild-horse-advocates-legal-fund?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1
You can also make a donation through any of the other methods shared on our website and specify that you would like it to go toward our legal fund. You can find donation information here: https://chwha.org/support-chwha/

The money raised for this campaign will be used solely for any legal fees we incur, which may or may not include litigation over this FOIA process.  We hope you will continue to support Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates and our efforts to make sure these amazing wild horses are here for future generations to enjoy the same as we do today.

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.

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After decades of attempted eradication, advocates fear wild horses in western North Dakota face bleak future

As Theodore Roosevelt National Park mulls a new plan for managing the horse herd — that could reduce the number of horses significantly or remove them entirely — advocates urge them to maintain a genetically healthy population.

We mentioned a few weeks ago that we were blessed to be able to spend a day at Theodore Roosevelt National Park with Patrick Springer from the Fargo Forum and Frank Kuntz who has been advocating for these horses for over 40 years now.

The story can be found on the Forum’s website here: https://www.inforum.com/news/north-dakota/after-decades-of-attempted-eradication-advocates-fear-wild-horses-in-western-north-dakota-face-bleak-future

MEDORA, N.D. — The exotic cats were the star attraction at the Gold Seal Company’s zoo, but few visitors likely suspected that the lions and tigers sometimes were fed meat from wild horses captured at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The horses were considered a pesky invasive species that were inferior to native species, such as the bison and elk that also roam the park.

Having failed to eliminate all of the wild horses from the park when it was created in 1947, park officials for more than three decades carried out a policy bent on removing the herd.

“For decades, they didn’t want the horses,” said Castle McLaughlin, who was hired to research the historical background and management of the park herd. During the 1950s and 1960s, she said, “removed horses were always sold to slaughter.”

Some of those unlucky horses ended up on the menu for exotic cats in the 1960s and early 1970s at the long-defunct Medora Zoo, her research found.

In response to public outcry, the park lifted its policy striving for total removal of the horses in 1970, when it recognized the horses as part of the “historical setting” commemorating the open range ranching of Roosevelt’s time in the Little Missouri Badlands in the 1880s.

Still, “surreptitious” horse shootings by park rangers, usually to eliminate unwanted stallions, continued sporadically until the 1980s, when McLaughlin was conducting her research as a National Park Service employee, she said.

The park abandoned large-scale horse removals in the 2000s following a string of mishaps that included the deaths of horses and the crash of a helicopter used to round up the horses. Instead, rangers now use a contraceptive drug delivered by dart gun to control the population, along with small, “low-stress” horse removals.

Although popular with visitors — the horses are followed by tens of thousands on social media fan pages — they have been shunned or merely tolerated by park administration over the years, in the eyes of horse advocates.

The park has never had a formal management plan for the horses, which are managed under a 1978 environmental assessment that set a goal of maintaining a population of 35 to 60 horses and introducing new bloodlines.

Today, with a herd of about 200, the park is in the early stages of drafting a horse management plan . A slate of options ranges from making no changes to totally eliminating the horses, which roam the south unit, and a demonstration herd of longhorn cattle in the north unit.

The fate of the wild horses, which have long found refuge in the rugged Badlands, now rests on the outcome of the planning process, which park officials hope to complete next year.

Part of the ‘historic scene’

Faced with handling several hundred hard-to-catch wild horses, the newly established Theodore Roosevelt National Park turned to readily available experts for help: cowboys.

Starting in the 1950s, the park called upon Medora rodeo cowboy and rancher Tom Tescher and his brothers for help.

Tescher studied the horses’ genealogy and behavior, as well as the territory of each band. He kept written records and could recite a horse’s family history dating back several generations.

Of even greater practical value, he knew how to chase, catch and handle the horses.

As did many ranchers, the Teschers grazed their livestock in the area that became the park until the early 1950s, when the number of wild horses was estimated at 400 to 500.

The presence of “trespass livestock” was common even after the park’s establishment in 1947 and was so flagrant that cowboys often socialized at the former Peaceful Valley Ranch, which served as the park’s original headquarters, according to McLaughlin’s history.

Rangers ran monthly sweeps of the park, checking for brands, and notified ranchers to remove their livestock. A few cases went to court.

In the mid-1960s, a series of roundups reduced the horse herd to an all-time low of 16 horses. A new master plan for the park included a goal of totally eliminating the horses, sparking “tremendous” local opposition, according to McLaughlin.

The park’s decades-long policy of seeking the removal of all horses was reversed in 1970, when Superintendent Art Sullivan determined feral horses were an important part of the “historic scene,” chronicled by Roosevelt himself in his writings about his ranching experiences.

Despite the policy allowing horses in the park, staff carried out a “program of surreptitious elimination of the horses,” Sullivan told McLaughlin, citing an example of a ranger who shot a horse and passed it off as “winter kill.”

In 1974, park officials decided they needed to clarify federal ownership of the remaining horses and invoked North Dakota’s estray law, which allowed the park to assume ownership if no ranchers stepped forward to claim specific horses after public notices were given.

No ranchers stepped forward, and the park assumed ownership of the approximately 40 horses in the park with the intent of managing the horse herd as an “integral part of the wildlife inhabiting the park.”

Horse removals continued, however, and the designation of the wild horses as wildlife would not last long.

The park invited a range specialist from the Bureau of Land Management to evaluate the herd and suitability of the habitat for horses.

“The habitat in Theodore Roosevelt National Park can best be described as excellent for wild horses,” the expert, Milton Frei, wrote in his 1978 report. “It should be obvious to even an untrained observer that the park could support a much larger population of wild horses without adverse impacts upon the soil or vegetative resources, as well as other wildlife species.”

In 1978, the park adopted an environmental assessment that called for maintaining the horse herd at 35 to 60 head, a goal that remains in effect.

That fall, disaster struck during the roundup when seven horses were killed and others were injured, primarily by wire cuts, according to McLaughlin’s history. Eleven horses were sold, nearly all for slaughter, with a filly sold to the zoo for cat food.

Manipulating bloodlines

After years of concerns about inbreeding among the horse herd, the park in 1981 embraced a major change in management of the horses. It began implementing a program to remove wild stallions and replace them with domestic studs.

In a roundup that year, five stallions were roped; two dying from crushed windpipes while resisting the ropes. Another stallion with a swollen hock was shot. Most of the dominant stallions were removed.

A Medora lawyer, Jay Brovold, expressed skepticism about inbreeding as justification for removing the stallions and harshly criticized what he called the “inhumane circus conducted in the name of a wild horse roundup.” He added, “The entire treatment of these animals has been extremely barbaric, asinine and idiotic.”

The following year, in 1982, a Minnesota man donated an Arabian colt that was placed in corrals with two fillies, which abandoned the colt when they were released after 10 days of shared confinement, a disappointing beginning to the park’s program of introducing fresh bloodlines.

Soon after, the park released another yearling colt, a part-shire, part-paint. The horse became known as the Brookman stud, named after the Montana ranch from which he came. In time, the Brookman stud’s bloodline would become influential.

Other Arabian horses and quarter horses were introduced into the horse herd to add domestic blood that ranchers persuaded park officials would make it easier to sell captured horses.

Tragedy again struck in a roundup in 1986 — events that prompted McLaughlin to explore the history of the park horses — when seven horses died, including a stallion that collapsed and died while being chased by a helicopter.

A mare died from injuries trying to escape from a holding pen at a livestock auction barn in Dickinson. A front-end loader deposited several dying horses behind the sale barn, where they were discovered by park employees and humanely euthanized by a veterinarian.

McLaughlin bought a stallion at the auction, which she turned over to a pair of brothers who had begun buying park horses for preservation.

Linton ranchers Leo and Frank Kuntz, who began buying the horses to ride in the Great American Horse Race circuit, bought more than 50 of the horses, which became the nucleus of a herd to preserve the park horses’ original bloodlines.

Today, Frank Kuntz takes care of about 200 horses, his own and those owned by the nonprofit Nokota Horse Conservancy, to maintain what’s called the Nokota breed, named the state’s honorary equine in 1993.

The Kuntz brothers and others, including McLaughlin, pleaded with park officials not to remove horses that showed characteristics of the former “Indian ponies” and early ranch stock, the forebears of the park’s herd.

But the park persisted in its campaign to remove the wild horses, McLauglin wrote in her 1989 history of the park horses, with preference given to descendants of the quarter horses and other domestic horses introduced to the herd.

While working on the history as a National Park Service employee in the late 1980s, McLaughlin learned the surreptitious shooting of certain horses, usually dominant wild stallions, continued. Unlike wild horses on federal lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, the horses in national parks are not protected by federal law.

She learned of a horse that was in the crosshairs and named the stallion Target to put park employees on notice that she was aware of what was going on. As a result, it took the park many years to capture Target, who was purchased by the Kuntz brothers.

“He went on to become one of the dominant stallions and a real force,” McLaughlin said in an interview. “That horse was amazing.”

Today, as a result of the removal of the dominant wild horses and introduction of domestic stock, the park herd is not nearly as wild as it once was, McLaughlin and Frank Kuntz said.

“My feeling strongly from the beginning was that the original horses be the ones in the park,” McLaughlin said, “because they were different from domestic horses and they were very difficult to see. It was a real thrill for visitors to see them, and they had survived, you know, decades of attempts to eradicate.”

‘The horses need your voice’

In June, Chris and Gary Kman, joined by Frank Kuntz, drove up to a favorite summer pasture of the horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Lindbo Flats, along the northern edge of the park’s south unit.

Chris Kman spotted a familiar truck, one used by park rangers. “They must be out darting the horses,” she said. Since 2009, the park has been darting mares eight months and older with a birth-control drug.

The Kmans and Kuntz crawled under the park’s boundary fence and walked half a mile to a group of horses standing on and around the base of a sculpted butte, relaxing in sizzling 90-degree heat.

It turned out that two bands were sharing the location, one led by a stallion named Sidekick and the other by a younger stallion named Remington who formed his band a couple years ago.

Because of the park’s ongoing contraception efforts and the continued removal of small numbers of horses, the population of the horse herd is skewing older. By Chris Kman’s count, 26 horses in the park are between the ages of 15 and 24 years old.

“So, the next few years are going to be hard,” she said, anticipating deaths.

The Kmans have become avid horse followers and advocates since moving to Dickinson in 2016, when Chris became a manager at the local Walmart. They began photographing the horses and posting the photos to their Facebook page, Chasing Horses.

In 2019, they opened a Chasing Horses shop in Medora, selling horse memorabilia, and two years later established the nonprofit Chasing Horses Foundation, which advocates for the horses.

Chris Kman has joined Frank Kuntz as an outspoken critic of the park’s management of the horses and what they view as its disregard for preserving the herd’s original bloodlines. They cite horse genetics experts, who say a minimum herd size of 150 is required for a healthy herd.

Because there have not been any removals since the start of the pandemic, Frank Kuntz believes there are signs the herd is rebuilding.

“Now that they’ve been left alone for a couple of years, they’re starting to repair themselves” and keeping bands intact, he said. “They’re teaching younger horses.”

The park’s evaluation of six options for a new “livestock” management plan likely will result in a much smaller herd and the possible elimination of the horses, Chris Kman believes. The current use of contraception for all mares eight months and older and removal of horses will result in the herd’s decline over time, she said.

“I don’t see how they’d have anything left,” Chris Kman said. She bristles at the livestock designation, which she and McLaughlin believe would allow the park greater latitude in what they do to the horses.

“They’re not livestock, and they’re not starving to death,” she said, arguing there is enough grass to maintain the herd at its present size, about 200.

There will be two more opportunities for public comment on the new management plan with dates yet to be announced. Besides eliminating the horse herd or leaving it alone, other options include reducing the herd to as few as 15 to 30 non-reproductive horses.

Chris Kman hopes North Dakota residents will make their wishes known. “We need people in North Dakota to get upset about what’s happening,” she said. “The horses need your voice.”

Frank Kuntz welcomes the opportunities for public comment but said input should have been sought much earlier. “They should have had these public hearings for the last 40 years,” he said.

Angie Richman, the park’s superintendent, said the planning process remains in the early stages, so little can be said about what will be recommended.

Unlike bison and elk, the National Park Service does not recognize wild horses as native species in need of protection and must ensure there is adequate grass and other resources to maintain all of the grazing wildlife populations in the park, park officials have said.

Tribes in the area will be consulted for the new management plan, a process that is just starting, Richman said. A new rangeland assessment is also underway.

“We still have a lot of work to do with that,” she said. “We’re still early in the process.”

At two National Park Service locations on the East Coast, Assateague Island National Seashore and Shackleford Banks at Cape Lookout National Seashore, horses are regarded as a cultural resource, and there are efforts to protect important bloodlines, Chris Kman said.

That approach also should be used at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, she said. “The precedent has already been set. You can’t tell me what happens in that national park can’t happen here,” she said of Assateague Island.

As the Kmans and Kuntz were leaving the horses at Lindbo Flats, the group met the departing park rangers, who were carrying a dart gun and had been working behind a butte, out of sight.

“They leave when they see us,” Chris Kman said after the rangers left, adding she believes park employees do not want to be photographed while darting the horses. She and Kuntz wondered how the park tracks which mares have been given the contraceptive drug since they are not marked in any obvious way, suggesting they are not trying to manage bloodlines.

Chris Kman does not blame current park administrators for the practices of their predecessors. “But what did they learn from that?” Given the park’s history of managing the horses, “It doesn’t give you a lot of hope.”


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.

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Articles in the Fargo Forum

Patrick Springer is an awesome reporter in North Dakota that has been writing about the plight of the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora home for a few decades now. He has recently released a few more articles. We hope that you will consider registering with the Fargo Forum to show your support of Patrick’s work.

The first article came out a few weeks ago, You can read the entire article here: https://www.inforum.com/news/north-dakota/wild-horses-in-north-dakota-badlands-shaped-by-sitting-bull-french-aristocrat-wealthy-pennsylvanian

We have also copied and pasted it here for you:

We hope these articles show what a critical time this is for these horses. Thank you for your continued support!

Wild horses in North Dakota Badlands shaped by Sitting Bull, French aristocrat, wealthy Pennsylvanian

The wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park have a mixed pedigree shaped by the likes of Sitting Bull, a flamboyant French aristocrat and a wealthy Pennsylvanian who started a massive ranch in western North Dakota.

By Patrick Springer

July 15, 2022 10:55 AM

MEDORA, N.D. — Castle McLaughlin will never forget the powerful stallion that was fighting so furiously to avoid capture that he was soaked with sweat. He had run for hours under the beating sun to elude a helicopter, and his black coat shone from the effort.

Later, when the stallion had finally been caught and was held in a pen, she realized he was not black, as she thought, but was a blue roan, one of a group of horses that had been captured that day in a roundup at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

“That horse just fought the entire day to escape from the helicopter, and he was just drenched with sweat and blood; he was just wet like he had been in a river or something,” McLaughlin said. In the livestock barn pen, ranchers who had helped with the roundup were tormenting the stallion with electric prods.

“They all ganged up on him because he fought so hard,” she said. McLaughlin, who worked for the National Park Service, was an accomplished rider and was originally designated to ride in the roundup.

As it turned out, she was grateful that did not happen. “It was horrible, horrible, just a disaster,” she said of that roundup in 1986. “I saw, I think, seven horses die that day.”

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She bought the stallion in an auction — the horses were sold in lots and by the pound, many purchased by canneries — and soon after gave him to a pair of brothers who would become her partners in a decades-long effort to preserve the heritage of the wild horses that for more than a century have found refuge in the park’s Little Missouri Badlands.

After the roundup, she had many questions about the horses that senior officials at Theodore Roosevelt National Park could not answer. But they invited her to submit a research proposal that led to a report documenting the unique history of the wild horses that Theodore Roosevelt himself wrote about while ranching in the Badlands in the 1880s.

She would learn that the horses had a mixed pedigree shaped by American Indians and pioneering ranchers that involved such notable characters as Sitting Bull, the Marquis de Mores and a wealthy Pennsylvania Dutch adventurer who came to the Badlands in 1880 to hunt buffalo and ended up with a sprawling ranch with thousands of horses on the open range.

McLaughlin’s hope was that documenting their history would help protect the horses, considered by the National Park Service to be “livestock.” The horses are the subject of a new management plan under study with a slate of options that range from eliminating the horses entirely to making no changes.

Sadly, she said, it has not turned out that way. The horses remain outsiders, tolerated more than they’re embraced, fighting to survive against the harsh environment of the Badlands and the whims of the humans who control their fate.

Ranchers reign

At noon on July 19, 1881, a caravan of 44 men and 143 women and children plodded wearily onto the parade ground at Fort Buford in northwest North Dakota. After an exile of almost five years in Canada, an exhausted and hungry Sitting Bull was ready to surrender.

Sitting Bull and the others gave up their weapons and all but 14 of their gaunt ponies — a transfer of horses that would influence the bloodlines of the horses roaming the Badlands years later.

Sitting Bull circa 1885 David F. Barry Library of Congress.jpg
Sitting Bull as photographed by David F. Barry, circa 1885. Contributed / Library of Congress photo

Three Fort Buford traders acquired the surrendered Hunkpapa ponies. A flamboyant French aristocrat and contemporary of Roosevelt’s, the Marquis de Mores, bought 250 of the horses, including all of the mares.

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A former cavalry officer, the Marquis de Mores valued the endurance, sturdiness and sure-footedness of the American Indian ponies, which he used to breed saddle horses, according to McLaughlin’s research. The marquis also bought 150 “broncos” for his ill-fated stagecoach line between Medora and Deadwood.

In 1884, the marquis sold 60 of the Lakota mares to a former Pennsylvanian named A.C. Huidekoper, who ran an immense, 140,000-acre, unfenced horse ranch in southwest North Dakota.

Marquis de Mores on horseback.jpg
The Marquis de Mores, a French nobleman and former cavalry officer, is best known for his failed meatpacking venture in 1880s Medora, but he also acquired some of the horses surrendered by Sitting Bull and his followers in 1881, which he used to breed horses in the Little Missouri Badlands.

“Some of these ponies had bullet holes through their necks, received in the Custer fight,” a reference to the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn, Huidekoper wrote in his Badlands ranching memoir.

Huidekoper bred the Sioux mares with larger thoroughbred and Percheron stallions, producing what he called the “American horse,” for sale as saddle stock, race horses and polo ponies.

“I spent fifteen years in breeding up the finest range herd in this country,” he wrote.

The hybrid horses bred by the Marquis de Mores and Huidekoper, both drawing upon the horses surrendered by Sitting Bull and his followers, were early examples of the mixed-ancestry horses that were commonly used by early ranchers throughout western North Dakota, McLaughlin found.

The horses left by the marquis after he abandoned his cattle and meatpacking enterprises following the disastrous winter of 1886-87 were especially important in the ancestry of the horses that became so prevalent around the Badlands, McLaughlin believes.

“We know de Mores left horses on the open range in the Medora area before he left,” she said. “There was really no incentive to look in every nook and cranny.”

A.C. Huid.jpg
A.C. Huidekoper came from Pennsylvania to the Little Missouri Badlands in the early 1880s to hunt buffalo and ended up becoming one of the nation’s largest horse breeders. He bought remnants of the horse herd surrendered by Sitting Bull and his followers, which he bred on his sprawing HT Ranch based near Amidon, N.D.

By contrast, Huidekoper’s operation, though sprawling, was more controlled, allowing fewer horses to go uncollected, she said.

Strikingly, her research shows the ancestry of the wild horses in the Badlands was diverse. The horses surrendered by Sitting Bull and his followers were just one of many sources of American Indian horses, and the Marquis de Mores and Huidekoper were merely the largest of many pioneering Badlands ranchers who had horses that were allowed to run loose or strayed, turning the rugged and remote terrain into an equine melting pot.

As recently as the 1950s, before the construction of Garrison Dam, hundreds of stray horses ran free across the western reaches of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, home to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.

The tribes’ villages had been important trading centers where horses were exchanged in a vast American Indian trade network that existed well before the time of Lewis and Clark. The Native American trading system brought to the Northern Plains mustangs that descended from horses that had escaped or been stolen from the Spanish conquistadors in the Southwest.

‘Horses everywhere’

Lincoln Lang, who ranched near Roosevelt in the Medora area, bought one of Huidekoper’s “American horses” and was a satisfied customer, although he had a few qualms.

“Of a sullen temperament, this animal was a cross between Kentucky racing stock and a mustang mare, showing every indication of speed,” he wrote, adding that mixed ancestry was common among horses on the range.

“The western range horses of the early days usually comprised an intermixture of breeds,” and the “aboriginal strain was present to a greater or lesser extent.”

A cowboy who was the son of a foreman on the HT Ranch founded by Huidekoper said the hardy American horse was capable of routinely covering long distances.

“We used to ride 30 to 50 miles a day, probably an average of 20 miles in a work day,” Harry Roberts said. “I had a horse that trotted 50 miles in five hours.”

Descendants of the de Mores-Huidekoper crosses were still in widespread use in western North Dakota in the 1950s, and McLaughlin was able to interview many ranchers from the area who had experience with the horses.

Five horses run in front of a rock face, their manes and tails flowing behind them.
Blaze and his band are seen galloping in western North Dakota. Volunteers have named each of the horses and have tracked the approximately 20 bands.

“People bragged about the Badlands horses — called them ‘broncos,’ they were so tough,” said Ed Newcomb, a rancher from around Grassy Butte.

“There were horses everywhere when I was a kid,” he said. “We trailed 200 to 300 at a time to Killdeer. … In the ‘30s, by God, who knows what they made it on, but they made it — there was no grass, no water.”

A neighboring rancher from the Grassy Butte area had fond memories of an old American Indian pony his family called Pluto.

“He was the ugliest, and also the best, horse I ever threw a leg over,” Raymand Carson told McLaughlin. “He was the fastest walking horse I ever seen, also the most nondescript. He was only about 900 pounds. … He could run, cut cattle, do anything, he was so smart. He had an ugly head and was always thin — all he ever had was abuse. I’d give any amount of money for a horse like that.”

As machines replaced draft horses in the 1920s and 1930s, farmers abandoned large numbers of horses, and more were released during the economic depression of the 1930s.

Although ranchers appreciated the abilities of the American horse crosses, they were put off by their appearance and came to prefer the quarter horse, recognized as a unique breed around 1940, which became and remains the horse of the West, McLaughlin said.

As a result, the traditional horse crosses that helped establish ranching in western North Dakota faded away over time. It was common for cowboys in the 1930s and later to chase the wild horses, often selling those they caught for slaughter, with the lucky ones ending up as bucking horses on the rodeo circuit.

Because the descendants of the American horse were no longer in demand, horse breeders stopped breeding them, McLaughlin said. “That’s the reason they went to the can,” she said. “They weren’t the kind of horses that anybody wanted as saddle horses.”

By 1947, when Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established, the wild horses that once roved over a wide territory in western North Dakota had been greatly diminished. The last of several feral groups found refuge in the Badlands.

“By 1947,” McLaughlin wrote, “their range had become constricted to the inaccessible Badlands surrounding Medora.”

Confined to the park

Several hundred wild horses were roaming Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the early days, most of them strays from ranches in the area. For years, ranchers had grazed livestock on federal land that fell within the new park’s boundaries.

In 1954, local cowboys and ranchers decided to organize an “old-style” roundup to gather the horses, an effort that remains the largest ever at the park.

1954 horse roundup Theodore Roosevelt National Park.jpg
Cowboys participating in the 1954 roundup of wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The roundup was the largest ever at the park. Two years later, in 1956, a boundary fence was completed, leaving uncaptured wild horses and a few ranch strays fenced-in.

The three-day roundup, in late April and early May, received extensive local and national news coverage, including a front-page feature in The New York Times. More than 40 “famous old-time cowboys” participated, including Louis Pelliser , a Medora cowboy who broke horses for $10 a head during World War I, and Hugh Armstrong.

The operation took on a festive air, attracting several hundred spectators despite chilly weather, and featured a dance and an impromptu rodeo. About 125 horses — and several mules — were captured, the vast majority of them branded, of the estimated 200 to 300 horses thought to roam the park’s south unit.

One of the horses captured in the 1954 roundup became a famous rodeo horse. Casey Tibbs, a world champion saddle-bronc rider from Fort Pierre, South Dakota, bought Whiz Bang and took the horse to Japan for bucking demonstrations.

Although the roundup succeeded in gathering most of the stray ranch horses, some crafty wild horses eluded capture.

Crews finished building a boundary fence to enclose the park in 1956, relegating the horses to roam the south unit’s 46,158 acres, which became the enclave for North Dakota’s last remaining wild horses.

Bison, hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1880s, were reintroduced into the fenced park in 1956, and elk would follow in 1985. But the horses had roamed free there all along, at least since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.

The horses now confined to the park would face a formidable threat — for decades to come, the National Park Service’s policy called for eradication of the horses as an unwanted species.

Today, the park service designates the horses as “livestock” and is drafting a plan for managing the herd that considers options ranging from leaving them alone to totally removing them.

Patrick Springer

By Patrick Springer

Patrick Springer first joined The Forum in 1985. He covers a wide range of subjects including health care, energy and population trends. Email address: pspringer@forumcomm.com
Phone: 701-367-5294

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THANK YOU!!!!

We wanted to take a moment to say a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you who took the time to send a comment, letter and/or documentation to Theodore Roosevelt National Park regarding the new management plan they initiated this spring!  TRNP received 1774 pieces of correspondence/comments.  Of those 1774 ~ 1242 were unique!  ALL 50 states were represented with comments as well as 58 comments from the international community!  The park has created a “Civic Engagement Comment Analysis Report” that summarizes their findings during this comment period.  We have added the report to the research section of our website. You can read the full report here:

The purpose of this comment period was to let the park know if there were other analysis that the public felt they should be considering as they moved forward in this process.  We tried to drive home the fact that they were NOT asking for people to pick one of the proposals; they wanted scientific proof of different points that needed to be considered.  From the report: “this was not a vote-counting process, and the emphasis was on the comment’s content rather than the number of times a comment was received.”  We ask that you please keep that in mind for the next public comment period. 

The park stated in the report: “…relevant comments will be used to help refine the proposed alternatives, which will ultimately be analyzed in the EA.”

Even though CHWHA was overlooked in the list of organizations represented in the correspondence, our comments are cited multiple times throughout the report.  We are confident that the park received and read the 15-pound box we sent in with our comment letter and supporting documentation.

We would expect a change to alternatives the park is proposing for the future management of this herd when they return to the planning process in the fall of this year. 

The report shows that there is overwhelming national and international interest and support for the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  The public wants a management plan that is based on current scientific data, a healthy herd that is managed at a number that is genetically viable and honors the historical importance of this herd in recognition of the Park’s foundational purpose. 

We are concerned that the park appears to be set on doing an Environmental Assessment (EA) instead of an Environmental Impact Study (EIS).  Remember, an EA is done when there is little to no impact on the environment.  One citation from CHWHA that TRNP did not include in this report was the one regarding which NEPA regulations DO apply to this process:


From CHWHA Comment Letter: “Although the Council on Environmental Quality revised the regulations implementing NEPA on September 14, 2020, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has since directed agencies within the Department of Interior, including the National Park Service, to “not apply the 2020 Rule in a manner that would change the application or level of NEPA that would have been applied to a proposed action before the 2020 Rule went into effect on September 14, 2020.” Sec’y of Interior, Secretarial Order No. 3399, Department-Wide Approach to the Climate Crisis and Restoring Transparency and Integrity to the Decision-Making Process § 5(a) (Apr. 16, 2021)”

Last but not least, we would like to say a huge THANK YOU to American Wild Horse Campaign and The Cloud Foundation for submitting comments and helping to raise awareness about this critical management planning process for the wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, ND home. 

Thank you all again for your support and we will share any updates as we get them!


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.

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Questions from March

You may remember that in March of this year, Theodore Roosevelt National Park invited the public to submit questions regarding the management of the wild horses and their new “Livestock Management Plan”.  Understandably, there was a limit to the questions that could be answered on that Zoom conference.  The park did state that they would answer the questions that they were not able to get to on their website.

Many of you have contacted us because you are as upset as we are that the park still has not answered questions that were submitted almost 4 months ago.

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates reached out to Superintendent Angie Richman to find out when they would be answering the questions that were submitted as well as for clarification on when the next phase of the management planning process will begin. 

We will update you when we receive an answer.

Things may seem quiet as we wait for this next phase of the management planning process to begin, but please know that Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is always hard at work advocating for these amazing horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.  Please help support our advocacy work.

Thank you for your support!

Ms. Richman,

We are writing to confirm that the public’s questions which were submitted, but not answered by the Park, during the March 30, 2022 public meeting concerning wild horse management will, in fact, be placed in the administrative record for the Park’s forthcoming management plan.

As I’m sure you are aware, there were several questions submitted by individuals and organizations (including Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates) that the Park did not answer, despite those questions having been properly submitted in accordance with the Park’s instructions for the registration process and in the Zoom link. While we were discouraged that our questions went unanswered during the meeting, we understand there was only so much time in which to address the public’s concerns. As such, we appreciated that Ms. Patterson, one of the Park’s representatives at the meeting, committed to answering our questions after the meeting via the Park’s FAQ page. See Meeting Tr. at 2:17.000-2:26.000 (“If there are additional relevant questions that we aren’t able to get to tonight, the Park Service will answer those questions on the FAQ pages . . . .”).

To date, our highly relevant questions (along with others submitted by the public) have not been answered on the FAQ page or elsewhere. After the meeting, however, the Park updated its website to add the following notice: “Questions and comments submitted through this portal will continue to be answered through updated FAQs, but they will not contribute to the administrative record for management planning.”  

Naturally, we found this notice to be concerning since the questions submitted by Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates during the public meeting are, of course, a part of the “whole record” for this agency action (i.e., the Park’s “Livestock Management Plan”). 5 U.S.C. § 706; see also Boswell Mem. Hosp. v. Heckler, 749 F.2d 788, 792 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (“If a court is to review an agency’s action fairly, it should have before it neither more nor less information than did the agency when it made its decision” because “[t]o review less than the full administrative record might allow a party to withhold evidence unfavorable to its case, and so the APA requires review of the whole record.”).

In the interest of transparency and to obviate any issues regarding the proper scope of the record, we ask that the Park make clear that questions submitted during the public meeting will be included in the administrative record for this matter, even if those questions (and answers thereto) are later posted to the Park’s FAQ page.

As a related matter, we would like to know when the public can expect to receive answers to the questions the Park was unable to address during the meeting. As you know, nearly four months have passed since the meeting, and the Park’s answers to Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates questions are necessary for preparing useful comments during the impending public-participation periods for the “Livestock Management Plan.” Thus, we look forward to the Park making good on its commitment to provide “answer[s] [to] those questions on the FAQ pages.” See Meeting Tr. at 2:17.000-2:26.000.

Finally, we would also appreciate some clarification about the Park’s timeline for the public-participation periods in this matter. According to the Park’s FAQ page, “[p]ublic scoping is planned for summer 2022”; however, the Park’s planning portal indicates that the public scoping period is “anticipated for the Fall of 2022.” We understand there are several considerations that bear on the timing of this process, but any additional information you may be able to provide regarding the estimated timeline would be much appreciated.  

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to these matters. We continue to appreciate the opportunity to work with the Park on this important matter, and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Christine Kman
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates


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.

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Our FOIA Request

2021 Filly Starlet

What is a FOIA request?

From FOIA.gov:


What is FOIA?

Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.

The FOIA also requires agencies to proactively post online certain categories of information, including frequently requested records. As Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court have all recognized, the FOIA is a vital part of our democracy.

As many of you know, we submitted a FOIA request to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  I will share some highlights from our lawyers last letter to the FOIA Appeals Office on how our request is being handled:

“On November 30, 2021, Advocates submitted a FOIA request to the Department of
Interior seeking various records related to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s (“TRNP’s”) management of wild horses within the boundaries of the Park. Specifically, the Request sought:


(1) Any and all records formally designating wild horses residing on the TRNP as “livestock” or “livestock display,” as required by [the National Park Service’s (“NPS’s”)] implementing regulations. See 36 C.F.R. § 2.60(a)(3) (“The running-at-large, herding, driving across, allowing on, pasturing or grazing of livestock of any kind in a park area or the use of a park area for agricultural purposes is prohibited, except . . . “[a]s designated, when conducted as a necessary and integral part of a recreational activity or required in order to maintain a historic scene.” (emphasis added));

(2) Any and all records, including surveys, regarding how NPS determines that an excess number of horses exist on the TRNP such that roundups and removals of those horses are necessary;

Please note: There were 8 points of items we asked for.  We are only sharing the first two as examples of our requests as sharing all 8 would make this already long post even more lengthy.

On January 3, 2022 (i.e., twenty working days after the request was submitted), DOI had yet to acknowledge Advocates’ request. Consequently, Advocates wrote to DOI’s FOIA office to request acknowledgement and a date-certain by which responsive disclosures would begin. That same day, Advocates received a letter from DOI seeking “clarification” of the request. There, DOI claimed that it was unable to process Advocates’ request because it could not “determine the exact time period” for the requested records. Thus, DOI asked that Advocates “specify a time frame or duration of time” in which DOI should search for responsive records. DOI’s clarification request did not identify any other deficiencies in the request.

Advocates provided the requested clarifications by letter dated January 13, 2022. In addition to specifying date ranges for each category of the request, Advocates also identified specific examples of documents within the ambit of certain request categories.

On January 31, 2022, DOI made its first and only disclosure, which consisted of “103 pages of responsive material” in a single consolidated file. Although DOI claimed that Advocates’ request was “granted in full,” most of the disclosed records were already publicly available and do not respond to several categories in the request. Notably, DOI did not disclose any of the specific documents identified in Advocates’ January 13 clarification letter, nor did DOI provide any explanation as to why those documents were not produced.

On February 11, 2022, DOI issued a two-page “clarification” to its final response. That clarification, however, concerned only two of the categories in Advocates’ Request: category two (i.e., records related to removing wild horses from the TRNP) and category seven (i.e., records related to the historical importance of the TRNP herds, including specific documents identified in Advocates’ January 13 letter to DOI).

Because Advocates has a strong basis to believe that responsive, non-exempt information has been improperly withheld by DOI, it appealed DOI’s final response on April 5, 2022. In relevant part, Advocates’ appeal asserts that DOI’s withholding of information responsive to category seven as “personal notes” not subject to FOIA is baseless, and that the agency improperly construed other portions of Advocates’ request and/or failed to conduct an adequate search for responsive information.

However, by May 18, 2022—i.e., 30 working days after filing its FOIA appeal—DOI had not even acknowledge Advocates’ appeal, let alone issued a final determination. In an effort to resolve DOI’s continued withholding of responsive, non-exempt records, Advocates wrote to your office that day seeking acknowledgment of their appeal and a date certain by which a decision would be issued. That letter, too, went unacknowledged and unanswered. To date, i.e., more than 56 working days after their appeal was filed, Advocates still has not received any acknowledgment of its appeal.

FOIA provides that each agency “shall . . . make a determination with respect to any appeal within twenty days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of such appeal.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(ii) (emphases added). Likewise, DOI’s own regulations provide that “[t]he basic time limit for responding to an appeal is 20 workdays after receipt,” and if the agency cannot meet that deadline, it will notify the requester of its right to seek judicial review. 43 C.F.R. § 2.62.

As explained, DOI’s twenty-working-day response window has long since passed without even so much as an acknowledgment by the agency. DOI (and NPS’s) delay here is particularly troubling because the requested records relate to an ongoing management planning process for wild horses. See NPS, Livestock Management Plan Newsletter at 6 (March 16, 2022), https://bit.ly/3bFnQzO. Indeed, the public scoping period for that plan is scheduled “for summer 2022.” See Frequently Asked Questions About Horses, NAT’L PARK SERV., https://bit.ly/3bCZt5q (last visited June 28, 2022). Accordingly, the TRNP’s initially incomplete disclosure and DOI’s continued withholding of documents that would assist Advocates and the public in preparing their comments is concerning.

Although some may find the withholding here suspicious under the circumstances, Advocates continues to believe that a non-adversarial resolution is possible. Still, the records requested here remain extremely important to Advocates, especially considering their relevance to TRNP’s ongoing planning process; if necessary, Advocates remains willing to avail itself of all available options for compelling DOI’s compliance with federal law—up to and including litigation. Advocates would prefer, however, to avoid time-consuming and expensive litigation over DOI’s repeated failures to heed statutory deadlines. Thus, in the interest of resolving this matter without judicial intervention, Advocates formally requests that DOI act on its appeal promptly and, in the meantime, provide them with a date certain by which they can expect that decision.

We appreciate your immediate attention this matter. Should you have any questions this appeal, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.

As you can see, our lawyers at Eubanks and Associates are very methodical and clearly understand our rights under the Freedom of Information Act.  Quite simply: we have a right to the information we are asking for.  We believe the information we are requesting will be important to have when the park comes back to the management planning process this summer. 

As our lawyers stated, we do have the option to litigate over this FOIA request if Theodore Roosevelt National Park continues to ignore our correspondence on this matter. 

You can imagine that litigation will be costly.  The cost of having the wild horse herd of approximately 190 horses reduced to a total herd size of 30-60 horses or 15-30 gelded behind a fence, will come at an enormous expense that will be paid for by future generations that do not get to see these amazing wild horses the same way we do today. 

We hope that you will continue to support our advocacy work.  There are several ways that you can help listed on our website https://chwha.org/support-chwha/

Thank you for your support!