Open range is a romantic notion, nothing more. Our western landscape is a series of fenced grazing land, fenced open pit mines and very few truly wild places left. Our public lands are being carved up to suit industry, not landscape preservation.
Remember in each blue outlined HMA in the map (featured first below) our public horses are allotted less than 20% of the grass that grows. The areas outlined in blue are simply lines on a map and not open spaces. Within the areas that were to be "principally but not exclusively" habitat for wild horses under the law, there are grazing fences cutting each area into sections. There are open pit mines operating behind gates, widening roads for massive vehicles moving ore and dissolving rock that contains toxic elements to extract that ore.
Let this overview sink in. Scroll between the images. If you have never visited wild horse country this series of maps should help you visual what we at WHE see each day.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has confirmed that the BLM wild horse program is woefully inadequate when it comes to data based management of wild horses.
Wild Horse Education volunteers document this travesty on the ground. We have witnessed the lack of data inside field offices and listen to memo and personal opinion substitute for substantive information. We have debated the absurd. We have catalogued the absurd from the reality of the ground to the employees that enforce, justify and perpetuate. We have sent that report to Congress.
We have no "wild horse problem." We have an industry issue and a "people problem."
After the Act was passed in 1971 to protect wild horses "on the land they now stand" political maneuvers immediately began to shrink the land base of the areas we manage wild horses on within federal jurisdiction. We begin the "numbers game" of how many wild horses can be sustained on that land (more info). when there is no data to create a valid equation. The territory outlined above is where we currently manage wild horses on BLM land.
Livestock Grazing Allotments
PEER interactive grazing map of the Western US showing rangeland health standards, created by management agencies, are not being met or are "unknown" by federal managers. Grazing allotments outlined in black. (link to interactive map)
USGS Map of mineral mining in the West
This map is an overview of mining in the West. Impacts from mining include habitat loss, water quality and quantity, infrastructure such as road with massive mining vehicles that run all hours of the day and cause vehicular collision and disturbance.