Horse News

BLM Wild Horse Boss Glenn to Retire

Story by Steven Long ~ Author/Publisher of “Horseback Magazine

Voluntary or Mandatory?

WH&B Program Director Don Glenn ~ Photo by the Cloud Foundation

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The controversial head of the federal Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Program has quietly announced his retirement. Horseback Magazine learned through wild horse advocates that Don Glenn will be stepping down. There was no official government announcement.

“Don retired on his own volition,” BLM chief Washington spokesman Tom Gorey said. “no word yet on his successor.”

Glenn’s tenure as head of the program has been sparked by a record number of wild horse deaths during last year’s “Calico Gather,” misrepresentation of drought conditions to a federal judge by BLM lawyers, illegally banning over flights of its roundups against FAA rules, the capture of an iconic Palomino named Cloud and his band featured in three PBS specials, at least five major lawsuits, and coast to coast protests of the agency’s handling of a resource many consider a national treasure, the North American Mustang. He has also been caught in repeated lies such as saying “All of our gathers are open to the public” which he stated at a December 7, 2009 Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting.

Much of the criticism has been sparked by massive helicopter roundups in which horses are routinely hurt or killed.  The agency has also been criticized for removing wild horses from lands designated by Congress as sanctuaries, and then leasing those lands to stockmen for grazing at the rock bottom price of $1.35 per cow and calf per month.

The agency claims that horses are breeding themselves out of grazing land, however, the BLM manages 245 million mostly vacant acres in the West.

Knowledgeable sources speculated Wednesday that Glenn became too much of a lightning rod for controversy in an administration which doesn’t need any, or simply quit after being the target of close press scrutiny.

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Don Glenn promising BLM transparency to public while secret Wild Horse roundup was underway

35 replies »

  1. Thank you press for shedding continous light onto this lightening rod whose lies and arrogance I have personally witnessed at Cloud’s roundup. Sadly, the agency consists of many more lightening rods that ought to go.
    The dirt of Glenn’s broomstick leaves a mess and so much irreparable damage behind, it is an outrage he wasn’t axed earlier. One can only wonder who in line will be rogue enough to fit into the schemes to make it to his position. I hope the press and national media will continue to increase the pressure on the failing of BLM, which are unforgivable – as of today we have not seen the transparency Don Glenn preached here in Denver.
    A new Chief ought to demonstrate more willingness to follow the gospel he preaches – let’s see it BLM !!!!


  2. What a sad loss! Of course the BLM would say he left voluntarily but who really cares if he did or was finally ousted? He is going and that is what counts. There are a whole bunch of them that ought to follow his tracks right out the door. We can hope there will be some positive spin-offs to this resulting in more retirements and a moratorium and massive review of the operations that have been carried out in such cruel, senseless ways and based on deceptions and outright lies. Would it be going too far to think that someone is finally starting to listen to the tens of thousands of voices that have been speaking up for the horses? I have to wonder just how much he had to do with the improper, perhaps even illegal, process of awarding the multimillion dollar contracts to the two Utah based outfits that have been conducting the stampedes, oh excuse me, roundups? Those contracts should be rescinded pending an honest review of how they were awarded without going through the normally prescribed bid process. By honest I mean one that looks for facts, not for ways to protect the good ol’ boys. Sorry, maybe I am being too optimistic, after all I am referring to one of the most screwed up federal agencies of a whole herd of screwed up ones.


  3. I was going to mention that I clearly recall his face defiling my TV screen and watching the lies dribble down his chin as he stood there and stated the public was welcome to come out and observe what they were doing. I wondered at the time what rock that snake had crawled out from under.


  4. May he fall under a stampede of hooves in the great range in the sky, those hooves belonging to the spirits of all the horses he killed.


  5. Well it is news but I doubt that it will prove to be good news. The 2011 budget shenanigans shows these agencies are still slipping down their slimy slopes. They’ll just find some equally noxious face to put in his place. Wondering which of all the people we have spoken to over the years it will be. I can’t think of a single one I’d like to see elevated. Or will they bring in outside blood so they can pull the wool over their eyes too?


  6. It’s a given inhumane treatment occurred on Glenn’s watch, but his marching orders didn’t come out of thin air. The government’s and the vast majority of over 300,000,000 American citizens and taxpayers prorities are clear, and they don’t include wild horses and burros when the animals hinder “multiple use” activities like clean, renewable (especially geothermal) energy, mining (not only for gold, silver and coal, but also for lesser minerals like lithium and “rare earths” used in electric vehicle batteries). Then there’s jobs, jobs, jobs. And let’s not forget what may be the most important of all – WATER!

    The land that was originally “set aside” for the wild ones had the least value for other uses at the time of the 1971 Act, but now that’s changed. I think a token number of animals will be kept on whatever HMAs aren’t yet valuable enough for other uses, but there are precious few which meet that criteria when you look at the overlay maps for existing and potential clean energy, profitable extraction, Homo sapiens’ development, etc. By allowing some to remain “wild and free roaming”, the BLM will be able to say, “See, we’re managing and protecting them. The proof is they’re still on the range!”

    Will Glenn’s departure be a good thing or a bad thing for the wild ones? Personally, I think it will be either “same old, same old” or worse, because that replacement will still be under orders from his or her superiors – from whomever is President on down the chain of command.

    The important issue isn’t who heads the program, but whether policies and procedures change in favor of the wild horses and burros’ legal rights to be on existing HMAs in genetically viable numbers, and returned to HMAs “zeroed out” or removed from inventory since the 1971 Act was passed, but have recovered. Also address HAs that must have had wild horses and burros in 1971 (Otherwise they wouldn’t have been designated as HAs.), but either weren’t initally included or were redesignated.


    • well said…even ole Don was just a pawn in the game…it even goes beyond Bob Abbey (who from a person who knew him said he didn’t even know which end of a horse gets up first)…the forces of cattle, mineral extraction, and gas exploration are more powerful that protecting our Western Landscapes, Wild Horses being an integral part of it. We can only hope that the next “pawn’ replacing Don has a conscience, a backbone and an a regard for our wild horses. But sadly, I for one am not holding my breath. The BLM has a habit of placing their puppets into positions where they are merely pawns. As long as Ken “destroyed the Gulf on his watch and killed and rounded up thousands of wild horses” Salazar is the boss man…what can we expect? The President is to blame for ignoring the demise of the American West…’s all about greed and unscrupulous politicians….what else have we witnessed during this administration? I will continue to envision the best for our beloved wild ones….and not give up….but the reality is heart wrenching….as the round ups continue as I write this.


      • What ever happened with Salazar’s comments about him stepping down after the midterm elections? I guess that was another of his deceptful lies that we have to put up with. I won’t be expecting much change with this organization about the future of the wild horses and burros.


    • Linda, not to digress from the subject at hand but your comments send me back in history to the Western Lands in the mid to late 1800’s when the government was making treaties with the various Native American Nations. The Great White Father through his agents made agreements to “grant” them vast tracts of territory they had formerly occupied, most of which was deemed worthless to whites at the time but no matter, they were still going to be “allowed” to live there ‘as long as the water flowed and grass grew.’ However, as soon as white intruders started finding precious metals, grass that would fatten cattle as well as bison or that could be plowed under and planted with farm crops, those supposedly inviolate reservations began to shrink. Prime example was the Black Hills Treaty of 1868 that was supposed to last “forever.” But forever came to an abrupt halt with the discovery of “gold clinging in chunks to the grass roots” that was verified by the Custer military expedition in 1874. The government soon declared that any natives trying to remain there and keep white miners out as hostiles to be removed or exterminated, whichever was most convenient at the moment.
      So now it is wild horses. Just change the names of victims and perpetrators and the dates and we find the government principles or lack of them, are still just as barbaric.


      • You are so very correct. Take a minute and look at these two photos and then compare them for proof:
        “Miniconjou Chief Big Foot lies dead in the snow”. (google wikipedia)
        “Dying Horse at Antelope Complex BLM Roundup 2007” (Cloud Foundation Photo)
        Two almost “identical” photos of what our governmental agencies do with what they consider “vermin” on the range. I certainly can not be the ONLY person that sees this comparison?


      • The government’s definition of “forever” is always based on expediency. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a single treaty between the American Indians that hasn’t been broken to one degree or another, either directly by the U.S. government or by goading the Indians to leave the reservations.

        BTW, an increasing number of U.S. “Native Americans” prefer to be called “American Indians”, just as those in Canada now refer to themselves and are referred to as “First Peoples” or “First Nations”.

        “The term “Native American” is woefully inadequate from a scientific viewpoint, as Homo sapiens is an invasive species in the Americas. From a legal standpoint, however, any person born in the Americas is a native American (though not Native American).”

        So greetings, fellow Homo sapiens! I choose to put us back where we belong -under “Mammalia”, along with the rest of Earth’s animals. Maybe if we are reminded our place in the scheme of things, we’ll have more respect for the natural world. I’ll reconsider “human” only when I’m convinced we’re “humane”.


      • Should have said “with the American Indians” rather than “between”, but I’m sure you catch my drift.


  7. How many wild horses and burros lost their freedom or lives under his illustrious career? Time for all these old mustangers to retire. We cannot afford their set ways, closed minds, abuse of power and obvious derision of the wild mustangs and American public anymore.


  8. AWWWWWWW No Pity Here !!!!!!! Poor Don Glenn, sorry but this is when all the lies, deceit, betrayals come home to you, to roost, themselves to you ………………………………………… The old saying what goes around , comes around.!!!!!


  9. I will report him to the FBI – he should be going to prison for running a racket, fraud, killing, removing, branding , harassing wild horses and burros !


    • Louie,
      Wonder what Don Glenn’s retirement salary and benifits are and how long WE will be paying him and how much it will cost our pocketbooks?


      • He and the others, who could not make it out in the real world of free enterprise and hard work, get to suckle off from that Government teat for the rest of their lives while the rest of us risk family and future in providing an income. No accountability, no deliverables and a whole lot of perks…that’s your government hard at work. Explains why politicians rarely, if ever, retire…simple greed.

        BTW, I have no opinion on this topic.


  10. Now is the time to report just as Sheri did, man the telephones , lets make this big !!!! The only thing is many horses lost their lives because of these Thieves, we can never bring them back , but we can make the culprits suffer for them…………………


  11. On the surface this sounds like good news. But, the BLM and DOI are not known for their transparency. I would like to believe the efforts of the advocates and the voices of the public is behind this change of guards. However – I remain cautious about all the motives of this rogue agency with regard to the wild horses and their interest in true stewardship of the environment. Who is in line for Glen’s job? Does anyone have any suggestions? You know the saying, you have to get rid of the old, to let in the new. I deeply hope this change of guards opens a new door of sustainable solutions for our wild horses in winds of change.


  12. No move that the BLM makes is not planned for some ulterior motives , all to their benefit…………….(MASTERS OF DECEPTION) They are really good at this………….Of late I am sure used draw attention away for some other Lieing dirty deed they have in the works, ……………………….. To divert attention is one of the best methods …..that can be used to catch all of guard……..




  14. New manager Karla Bird

    We are very fortunate that Karla Bird will be joining our team in Worland,” said Eddie Bateson, manager of the BLM Wind River/Bighorn Basin District, which includes the Worland Field Office. “She brings extensive experience in natural resource management , planning, and overall leadership.”

    Bird began her career with the BLM 31 years ago as a range conservationist in Alturas, Calif. She has since served the BLM in various capacities in Rawlins and Rock Springs, Wyo., Coos Bay, Ore., and Barstow, Calif. In addition, she also worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a natural resources, timber and fire staff officer in Oregon. Bird is currently the acting chief, Division of Planning and NEPA, in BLM’s Washington, D.C. office.

    “I am excited to be returning to Wyoming, a place my husband and I consider home,” said Bird. “I have enjoyed living and working previously in Rawlins and Rock Springs and my husband, Frank, was born in Wyoming. We have frequently visited Wyoming since we’ve moved away—backpacking and fishing in the Absaroka and Wind River Ranges, deer hunting in the Wyoming Range, and visiting family and friends. I look forward to working closely with the people of the Bighorn Basin,” she continued.

    Bird has


  15. Good news I hope. Maybe this will be the start of something BIG! Like the elimination of the whole agency, from top to bottom. This would be the best of both worlds, not only for the horses and burros, but for us, the American Taxpayer. I hope Glenn’s retirement is short lived and that he “retires” with all the horses he killed while overseeing his dasterly deeds. And, I hope these horses take care of him there, and that their hooves are all over his body and their are bite marks as well. What a great ending.


  16. When signing a petition, be certain to add your comments where it says “personalize your letter”. That is the only way that signatures are counted and credited individually. Otherwise, a petition is counted as only ONE, regardless of how many signatures are on it. Marti Oakley from PPJ Gazette gave us that information on her recent radio show.


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