Horse News

BLM Puts Public in Holding

Story by Debbie Coffey as it appears in the PPJ Gazette

Wild Horses & Burros are not the only Critters the BLM Enjoys Stripping of their Freedoms

BLM's PVC holding outside of Reno, NV ~ photo by Terry Fitch

After the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rounds up our wild horses off of our public lands, they corral them in short term and long term holding facilities. In many instances, the horses are forever removed from public access.

In what seems to be BLM’s attempt to avoid bad publicity for denying public access and lacking transparency, the BLM may throw the public a few crumbs and offer a rare and very limited “dog and pony show” tour of one of the facilities.

Now, instead of letting us (members of the public) who are paying for this fiasco and for their salaries) walk along the paths, as they did in the past, they want to round us up and hold us within the confines of a wagon.

Here’s the deal:

For instance, the BLM recently announced a tour of the Indian Lakes Road Short Term Holding Facility in Fallon, Nevada. I sent Dean Bolstad, the Wild Horse & Burro Program Deputy Division Chief, an e-mail asking 4 questions about this tour:

  • What is the cost of the wagon for the public tour of Indian Lakes Road facility per day?
  • How much is the cost of the porta potties?
  • Is Troy Adams paying for these or is the BLM paying for these?
  • Most importantly, why can’t the public walk around the facilities, as we did on all of the original tours of Indian Lakes Road?

Dean had to pass my questions along to someone else because he was busy in Washington D.C., so I received the following answers from another high ranking BLM official. My responses to the BLM official’s answers are in bold italics.

“The original contract never addressed hosting public/facility tours at this facility.” Who asked anything about a contract? We already hashed out the contract issue. Dean Bolstad told us the facility was never meant to be open to the public, yet we found the contract amendment that had added tours, along with a memo from Mr. Bolstad urging the end of public tours because they hurt the BLM’s image and reputation. In case any of you missed that article, read it here.

“Preparation of the facility grounds on tour day added additional labor expenses, Restroom rental, additional liability Insurance, additional maintenance and materials (ie, gravel and water truck operation for dust abatement) all added additional expenses to the contractor which were not anticipated during the solicitation period.  The contractors (Troy/Nicole Adams) provided a proposal to the contracting officer for reimbursement of their added expenses for hosting facility tours.”

Do Troy and Nicole Adams, who get over $3 1/2 million each year for the contract, really need to “nickel and dime” American taxpayers?

If I had this BLM contract for over $3 1/2 million a year, I’d be throwing in a big barbeque for the public tour, too. If you haven’t seen the article about Troy Adams’ contract, read it here.

“A modification to the original contract was performed by the contracting officer and a new line item was added for facility tours.”  Again, who asked? And, you left out the part about Mr. Bolstad urging the end of public tours because it was bad for the BLM’s image and reputation.

“The contractor is reimbursed $1,950/ tour for compensation of their additional expenses.   There is no cost for the wagon as it is owned by the contractors.”  So, is the $1,950 for the cost of Sani Huts? I hope we at least get 2-ply toilet paper with this deal.

“Originally, when hosting facility tours, the public was allowed to walk around the facility accompanied by BLM personnel.  However, due to the great area the facility encompasses, sandy soil making footing very difficult” NOBODY, (bad knees and all), on any of the tours, ever had problems walking around the facility. Also, since the BLM official stated that part of the expenses for Troy Adams was for water truck operation for dust abatement on the past tours, does this mean Troy was paid for something he didn’t do, if there was “sandy soil” making footing very difficult? And doesn’t this statement also say something about the BLM’s choice to house the wild horses at this location, since there might be a lot of sand getting in the feed?

And, here’s my favorite part:

“and the unknown potential health issues with the variety of public attending the tours. The decision to was made to place the public in a vehicle in order to have a more controlled way to keep the public together and reduce the risk of potential health concerns”

Is the person who wrote this statement smoking crack?:

“the public attendees may have with difficulty walking for extended periods, exposure to extreme temperatures, etc.”

What about the risk of blood clots from having to sit in the wagons after a long drive to Fallon?  Since the BLM acknowledges “extreme” temperatures, shouldn’t they provide shelter for the horses? Newborn foals had to lay in the open, exposed to snowstorms. And there only seemed to be shelter on the sides of the sick pens.

The only thing that is “extreme” is the BLM limiting public access to holding facilities. And the reason the BLM is forcing you, the public, to ride in a wagon on this tour (instead of walking, like we were able to do in the past) is that they really, really don’t want you to look too closely or take any photographs that might hurt their image or reputation.


14 replies »

  1. Wendy, Just Sounds like it? They have been spewing that stuff for a long long time. I have to say that Debbie’s replies to their comments really hit the nail on the head. It’s so sad that the BLM just doesn’t get it.


  2. I like the “ranchy” smell of horses mixed with hay and horse droppings but at this Indian Lakes Fallon, Nevada BLM facility something STINKS besides just the porta-pottys.

    117 (2010 roundup) Calico Wild Horses died at this facility during the first 22 months after capture – half of which died within the first 2 months – not counting the foals. Reasons include 15 spinal/leg/head fractures, many gelding/foaling complications and many, many “unexpected/other”. Didn’t know reason? Didn’t care? Didn’t want to say?


  3. Such hypocrisy by our supposed public servants! The problem is that the people running the show from Salazar on down do not value wild horses in the wild, but do just about everything they can to displace them from their rightful legal herd ares and territories (don’t forget this is also the responsibility of the US Forest Service under the Secretary of Agriculture.


  4. This makes me sick. They don’t want people touring the place so the crappy way they warehouse these animals isn’t seen; there are now way too many knowledgeable horse folks out there that are starting to raise a stink. Also,. the crap about not having walking tours is just so a person can’t get too close to the animals to spot the injuries that come with mixing that many family groups in together without enough space to seperate as they would in their natural habitat.
    Then you have the “risk averse” mentality of almost anyone who has to deal with the general public on a regular basis whereas they are afraid if someone stubs their toe they will lawyer up and want someone to pay for their stupidity, ignorance or clumsiness or just plain out of condition problems. Sorry folks, it’s hot out there, and dusty and smelly etc….. it’s not a trip to Starbucks or whatever other place some folks go to spend their hard earned money.

    How much are they paying those folks to do this???? And the horses don’t have shelters??? Hmm.. talk about standing at the public trough!


  5. This is an excerpt from Debbie Coffey’s article:
    BLM’s sweet deal (paid for with your tax dollars, of course!)
    April 17, 2011 by ppjg
    Debbie Coffey Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
    Investigative reporter/PPJ
    While many Americans have lost their homes or worry about losing their homes, and worry about finding or keeping their jobs, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seems to be spending your hard earned tax dollars like high rollers.
    Look at one example. Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAhas the contract for theIndian Lakes Road(AKA Broken Arrow) short term wild horse and burro holding facility inFallon,NV. How does a guy fromCalifornia, who sold a cloned cow, get enough knowledge in wild horse behavior, and enough ability in safely handling wild horses, to win a bid to manage a facility that can hold up to 3,000 of our wild horses?
    Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAcontract with the BLM is for 5 years (1/01/2010 to 12/31/2015):
    Base year (2010 – 2011) – $2,525,000 with an option for “additional labor” for $127,920 ($24.60 per hour, per laborer) to FREEZEBRAND, RETAG, TRIM FEET, ETC. (same tasks apply to years below)
    Year 1 (2011-2012) – $3,640,875 with an option for “additional labor” for $130,468 ($25.09 per hour)
    Year 2 (2012 – 2013) – $3,759,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $133,068 ($25.59 per hour)
    Year 3 (2013 – 2014) – $3,832,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $135,720 ($26.10 per hour)
    Year 4 (2014 – 2015) – $3,905,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $138,424 ($26.62 per hour)
    So, the estimated 5 year TOTAL is $17,663,375, with optional “additional labor” adding $665,600 to that the total is ($18,328,975). (Note: The money in this contract is based on estimated feed days. See details of this at the end of the article.) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Over $18 million in 5 years. And since Troy Adams supplies the land, pens and corrals the first year, and it’s not an expense every year, why is there such a huge increase in the amount of money for in the remaining years of the contract?


  6. Another BLM rip off of the public. The Republican polticians are all for cutting spending so why don’t they do something about this and stop the roundups while they’re at it ?!


  7. Lying, cheating, no transparency (and yes, Prez Obama you are an enabler for the psychos in your administration about the land, the wildlife (includes equines) and not doing right).

    This is nuts! Can we get some sanity here??????


    • You are so right, Denise!!! Whatever happened to all the transparency that was promised?!I Meanwhile, our economy, our people and our animals are suffering …


    • Denise, I agree. President Obama promised with his campaign for the Presidency to protect our horses. WHAT PROTECTION. Now, President Obama, fire your damn Salazar and Abby and replace with people that know what they are doing, and ones that know that cattle are eating all the food that the horses should be having. And, hire those that know horses, not asho__s that pretend they know it all. Start using your head, Mr. PResidnet, that is what you were elected to do. You, Mr. President, make me SICK.


  8. NONE of this bull crap will ever end until we get rid of ALL of these morons in these positions, from the BLM to the US Forestry Service ( the ones who fenced off Cloud’s herd in the PRYORS…). Until these houses are cleaned out of the anti-horses, anti-public owned lands for PUBLIC USAGE, and stop putting in CATTLE BASED BELIEVERS ONLY, this will continue to be a blight that won’t end until the last mustang is rounded up and OUR PUBLIC LANDS are DESTROYED for mining, drilling and whatever other money making schemes these useless bastards can contrive behind out backs!!!


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