In an important development involving the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and its field office in Missoula, Montana, public comments are being invited and sought about a planned ecosanctuary for wild horses. BLM has begun soliciting comments (starting June 23) for the next 30 days to assess this proposed wild horse ecosanctuary. A public meeting is planned for July 1, 2014, that will provide informative details for the public about the ecosanctuary environmental analysis. The meeting will be held in Philipsburg starting at 6 p.m. at the Granite County Museum, 135 South Sansome.
According to the press release by The Horse, the Rural Sustainability Organization (RSO) wishes to establish the ecosanctuary on about 15,000 acres of western Montana land that it holds via contracts and leases with landowners in the area. These lands are comprised of three individual parcels near the town of Drummond.
In a direct quote given to The Horse by Tim La Marr, acting field manager of BLM’s Missoula Field Office, he says,
The Missoula Field Office is excited about the prospect of working with RSO to provide a humane, high-quality life for excess horses from the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program.
Two possible plans are being considered. The first would support as many as 325 horses but details are sketchy. In the second alternative, more specific details are currently forthcoming such as ecological conditions and wildlife issues. Horse welfare is a theme in both alternatives. In the second plan, about 97 horses would be supported. Supplemental feeding would be required during the winter for both alternatives being considered.
To ensure comments and information are fully considered, the BLM should ideally receive public input in writing by July 22.
Here is the perfect opportunity to make wishes known to the BLM. Comments by informed horsemen and other public comments can be exceptionally useful to the BLM when they are clear and specific and relevant to this particular subject. Individuals may cite relevant issues, state credible concerns and information, or mention new thoughts, ideas, knowledge or facts.
BLM will analyze and incorporate the gathered information into the environmental analysis as may be appropriate and, ultimately, reach its final decision.
The public can email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments can also be sent by mail, hand-delivered or sent by priority mail. Please address your communication to Steve Bell, Missoula Field Office, 3255 Fort Missoula Road, Missoula, MT 59804.
When you submit your comments, please keep in mind that you will disclose your address, phone number, email address and possible other important stats. You should know that your comments may be available publicly. Of course you may ask to keep your information withheld, but during this time the BLM cannot provide a 100 percent guarantee.
If the proposal is approved, the BLM would sponsor the ecosanctuary at a funding level comparable to what it pays for the care of wild horses on long-term pastures in the Midwest. The ecosanctuary would be publicly accessible and provide ecotourism and educational opportunities which would help defray costs for operating the sanctuary.
The public meeting has minimal notice but, hopefully, some of our readers will be able to attend on July 1. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Granite County Museum.
The analysis has been made available for review on BLM’s website.
For questions or a hard copy of the environmental analysis, please contact Steve Bell at 406-329-3885.