We wrote on Sunday regarding the impact that visiting a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse Concentration Camp can have upon one’s soul. The facility that we highlighted was Palomino Valley north of Sparks, NV where we were granted unfettered access and did not experience the feeling of being watched or guarded, unlike our experiences at the Litchfield facility outside of Susanville, NV…ground zero for the Twin Peaks Wild Horse extermination.
Just for fun, imagine Ms. Average American standing on stage and questioning our main actor, Mr. BLiM…it’s a short play but one we are confident that you will find interesting.
With stampede operations allegedly shut down for August 28th at the Twin Peaks location Terry and I decided to head in one direction while Herd Watch Coordinator, Laura Leigh went in another. We had visited the Litchfield Holding Facility everyday for almost a week so we packed up the rental SUV and headed to Palomino Valley north of Sparks, NV. Palomino Valley is where the remainder of the captive Twin Peaks horses will go now that Litchfield is full. As of Friday, 909 wild souls had been captured and stripped of their freedom and futures, we wanted to see what the fate of the remaining captives would look like and we are sorry that we did.
Colorado Springs, CO (August 27, 2010)— The Cloud Foundation fully supports the independent review of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) mismanagement of America’s Wild Horses and Burros by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), but only if it is coupled with an immediate moratorium on all wild horse and burro roundups. 54 members of Congress requested both the review and an immediate moratorium in a letter sent to Secretary of Interior Salazar on July 31, 2010. Each herd is an integral part of the ecosystem and without a moratorium there will be few genetically viable herds on Western lands in left to study.
TWIN PEAKS, CA (Horseback) – A heavy, armed police presence protected America and the Federal Bureau of Land Management wild horse stampede contractor from four journalists and no anti-BLM activists at the “gather” held today at Twin Peaks, according to Horseback Magazine’s R.T. Fitch at the site. There were two reporters and a photographer representing the Texas based magazine, as well as a videographer working for the New York Times, a paper which was provided unfettered access earlier this week while other media organizations and citizen observers were kept at bay.
Washington D.C. (August 27, 2010)— On August 25th United States District Judge, James S. Gwin, granted a legal request by The Cloud Foundation, Front Range Equine Rescue and photographer/author Carol Walker, to file a Second Amended Complaint against the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) actions in the mismanagement of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses. The ruling allows addition of the United States Forest Service (USFS) to the suit. The Custer National Forest is presently moving forward with building a restrictive boundary fence to prevent the wild horses from accessing crucial current and historical summer grazing lands. Judge Gwin ruled that the Plaintiffs’ claim against the fence is not moot as the fence could be removed or further fence building activities stopped should subsequent legal decisions rule in the Plaintiffs’ favor. Judge Gwin ordered the BLM and USFS to answer the Second Amended Complaint within 30 days.
“BLM’s tactic of completing removals of wild horses and burros from the range in whirlwind fashion and avoiding legal challenges to its underlying management of these animals did not work in this case,” explained Valerie J. Stanley. Attorneys Valerie J. Stanley and Bruce A. Wagman represent the Plaintiffs in this action.
SUSANVILLE, CA (SFTHH) Although the mean beating of helicopter blades was heard across a portion the public lands north of Susanville not a single wild horse was witnessed being captured this day. Press and public alike were sequestered on a small, hillside lookout above a temporary horse trap in the valley below. Although the observation area was closer than in days past it was impossible to see the trap and chute in its entirety, due to vegetation, and observers were forced to fight for viewing spots behind the limited jute rope observation location. Unlike the access that was granted to the New York Times only 48 hours earlier the press was held a considerable distance from what would be considered fair and appropriate access as set by the earlier precedence.
It happened just like clockwork, the timing was excellent. There had been no local “Ranchers” to speak of at the Twin Peaks roundup the day before, but today was different. There was a reporter from the New York Times on hand with a photographer documenting the carefully orchestrated “gather” and for the grand finale, wild horse advocates were on the menu.
SUSANVILLE, CA (SFTHH) – For weeks the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has kept the American public and concerned citizens at extreme distances from the wild horse trapping operations at the Twin Peaks helicopter stampede. Each morning observers must tolerate a law enforcement briefing by BLM Security Chief Jason Parker who clearly states that the public will be held back from the private land, where the trap is located, due to safety and liability issues and should anyone not comply, “things will be escalated to the next level”. Today that changed when the BLM allowed a New York Times photographer to not only locate himself on the private land but to be within the chute of the trap and exposed to both the horses and the aggressive, low altitude helicopter.