Horse News

Urgent: Stop the Twin Peaks Wild Horse & Burro Removal

This plan signals the end of California’s last viable herd

photo by Craig Downer

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Eagle Lake office is proposing to remove 600 wild horses plus burros from the Twin Peaks HMA. They are claiming that there are currently 950 horses on the 800,000 acre HMA.

A recent independent aerial survey estimated that there are less than 400 wild horses remaining here. BLM so far, has stated that the proposal will be in “full force in effect” once it is signed, without public knowledge or input.

A copy of the independent population survey is available for download (HERE) with a link (HERE) to the supporting pictures.

Less than half of Twin Peaks HMA burned. There is over 400,000 acres of unburned range and the burn areas are patchy and still have some forage available for the wild horses and burros. The BLM has failed to consider alternatives like protective fencing or some relocation to the unburned areas. This plan signals the end of California’s last viable herd.

We need EVERYONE to Call and E-Mail Dean Bolstad IMMEDIATELY and ask him to reject the proposal.

His phone number is 775-861-6611 and his e-mail is

Sample E-mail Below

Dean Bolstad

cc: Ken Collum (Eagle Lake field manager)

cc: Dereck Wilson (Eagle Lake BLM)

I am writing to ask that you do not sign a decision to remove horses from Twin Peaks until you seriously consider alternatives. The proposal would reduce the herd numbers to well below low AML and threaten the continued health and existence of this herd. There is abundant forage in the burned area and there is the ample opportunity to protect the range through the preferred methods of protective fencing and/or minimal relocation of animals.

I am requesting that BLM reject this proposal – as the continued existence of this herd may hang in the balance. This plan has not fully considered the alternatives and has not substantiated that this is an emergency situation. Signing a decision to remove wild horses will be met with significant public opposition. Please assure me that the BLM is not going to proceed with this action without even giving the public notice and the opportunity to comment on such a proposal.


Supporting Information

Twin Peaks HMA Aerial Population Survey click (HERE) <or attached>

Link to 144 aerial photos from an independent population survey which estimated that less than 400 wild horses and a small population of burros are currently living in the Twin Peaks HMA.

34 replies »

  1. Sent email hope others will stay focused and do the same. We need to send a clear message to the DOI/BLM/Forestry, congress, and the president. We want the destruction of our wild herds, and other wild life, our natural resources, and our water supply protected not sold to the highest bidder. We want the roundups stopped and we need it to stop now. No more excuses, no more ignoring the law, no more managing our wild herds to extinction, no more putting foreign corporate interest before Americans and our country. TIME TO STAY FOCUSED 🙂


  2. The comments which have been made on this site, were the basis for my vote in the election. Try to stay positive… Focus on campaigns to save our horses/burrows. Fire Salazar!!!! Work through your State Representatives, Senators!!


  3. If we dont save our horses we will lose everything dear to us, what part of that isnt understood????? The Horses are as important as the very air we breathe, we must stop talking abI keep making calls writing letters that all go no where !!!!!!out action it gets nothing, the horses are a integral part of all life , also all wildlife depends on them……………………………. Fire Salazar !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. I Emailed and also talked to Dean B. He tried to give me a bunch of BLM BS but I gave him an ear full of facts. He is a PR person but didn’t even know about Animal Welfare Institute’s little book, “Managing for Extinction” which as been out for years and has been updated. The BLM treats us like we don’t know what’s going on and that is an insult and I am really pissed. THey all need to be tried as horse thieves !
    We need to get the horse lovers in Congress together regardless of their party and get a Congressional hearing and have Salazar fired now. By next FY it will be too late.


  5. The western most state of the lower 48, won’t have a wild horse herd? WHAT?

    Californians – we need to contact Jerry Brown and tell him that we are tired of the BLM making decisions based on their stupidity! This is OUR state not the BLM’s! We want the horses to stay!

    We MUST make a a big stink about this in Sacramento – a western state without a herd of wild horses or burros is not a western state anymore! Why does the BLM get away with false science, if you can call it that… We are about to lose our LAST HERD of horses!!!! I would rather we removed all the methane creating cattle off BLM land in California!

    Contact Jerry here:


    • I just tried to send a message to J Brown and after filling out my personal info and hitting return I am taken back to the information page so I never get to fill in my message.


      • Patty,
        I did the same thing the first time – you cant hit return – have to hit the continue button & it
        will take you to a place you can leave a message.


  6. Thanks for the information RT…will contact and share. Another sad and senseless roundup, when they should be left alone. We are losing our wild horses and burros at an alarming rate and it’s time the public’s demand for proper management, not extinction be heard.


    Wild horses restore fire damaged ecosystems

    Statement from Craig Downer, Wildlife Biologist, Wild Horse & Burro Expert

    Esteemed wildlife biologist and wild horse and burro expert, Craig Downer, has given Protect Mustangs a statement explaining how wild horses help reseed the land after a wildfire. The preservation group urges the Bureau of Land Management to keep the remaining wild horses on the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA) to assist in healing and reseeding the land after this summer’s Rush Fire.
    “We oppose rounding up and removing wild horses from the Twin Peaks HMA especially now that they can play a key role in restoring the land,” states Anne Novak, executive director for Protect Mustangs. “It’s time the BLM use good science and cut down on invasive techniques that cause global warming. Wild horses and burros can heal and reseed the range after the wildfire so let them do it.”
    Statement from Craig Downer, wildlife biologist:
    Wild Horses as restorers of a fire-damaged ecosystem
    The wild horses would be the perfect restorers of an ecosystem after an extensive fire, since they would disperse many intact seeds in their feces which would form well-fertilized bed for their germination. The feces of the wild horses more greatly feeds the ecosystem and creates the vital humus component of the soils to a greater degree than is the case with most ruminants, such as cows, sheep, and deer. Also, after passing through the post-gastric digestive tract of horses and burros, many seeds are perfectly conditioned for germination, as they have their coats made softer and more penetrable by the tender shoots. Many of these same seeds are killed after passing through a ruminant’s digestive tract. In the Twin Peaks, the wild horses and burros would be the perfect, for natural, agents for ecosystem restoration for the above reasons and also because of their great mobility. They do not camp on wet meadows and around and in water sources as do cattle, for example. Also most of the Twin Peaks HMA ecosystem did not burn and the wild horses and burros who survived the fire could subsist here then go reoccupying the recently burned areas as they are restored, all the while aiding in this process.


  8. When you look at those aerial photos you see SO much land. More than 50% of that range was NOT destroyed by the August wildfire. VERY STRANGE that the few surviving WH&B would be considered a problem. So what’s the deal here….another Area 51?


  9. Open letter to:

    Dean Bolstad
    Ken Collum
    Dereck Wilson

    Re: Twin Peaks HMA Wild Horse and Burro Removal

    I am writing to ask that you do not sign a decision to remove any horses or burros from Twin Peaks without NEPA analysis and public participation. There are extraordinary circumstances having significant effects that require an environmental analysis. I am requesting that BLM REJECT OR DELAY this proposal – as the continued existence of this herd hangs in the balance. An EIS or EA for public participation must be done before signing a decision to remove any wild horses from this HMA. Please guarantee me that the BLM is not going to proceed with this action without even giving the public official notice and the opportunity to be told about this plan and to officially comment on such a proposal.

    I am asking you to provide the public with all aerial and ground surveys done since the BLM capture in 2010. Please include maps, completed reports as well as raw data and all photos and videos that support the BLM’s current and historic population estimates as well as documentation of the number of wild horses and burros that are currently living within the burned portion and in the unburned portion of the HMA and all scientific data that supports the proposal that any capturing of any wild horses or burros is necessary at this time. I know as a major decision-maker within the BLM and particularly this Twin Peaks proposal, that you are required to have and review this data to support your decision. I am requesting that you provide it to the public also.

    I also wish you to realize that the current proposal would reduce the herd numbers to well below low AML and threaten the continued health and existence of this herd. In fact, I have both personal and scientific information that verifies that the actual current population of Wild Horses and Burros on this HMA is below the number BLM is proposing to remove!

    Supporting Information
    Twin Peaks HMA Aerial Population Survey
    Link to 144 aerial photos from an independent population survey
    Independent Post Fire report PDF
    These and other recent independent aerial and numerous ground surveys have been done on the Twin Peaks HMA since the 2010 capture which scientifically substantiates the total estimated Wild Horse population is currently within the range of 312 to 387. Because the wildfire burned the land in a patchwork pattern, there is abundant forage in the burn area for the few remaining wild horses that survived the fire. In addition, many independent assessments of the health of the land and the health of the horses since the wildfire agree with the aerial total HMA population estimate of less than 400 horses plus photos (some done as recently as this past weekend) show the health of the surviving horses to be physically robust and forage and water plentiful to get the horses through the next year without undue physical stress if they are left alone.

    Environmental Researcher

    Receipt and response requested


  10. I sent a nice email to the Twin Peaks BLM, suggesting alternative actions to the Twin Peaks removal. The cost of temporary fencing and water facility installations would be far less expense than the actual removal/short and long term holding. I also mentioned that by doing so, there would be no need to remove the Mustangs/Burros from their permanent home, nor reducing the number of cattle and sheep that have been placed in that area. I think everyone should be sending a personal email to the BLM. If it’s personal, a lot easier to “both” someone, than a petion that is sent to them.Thank you for all your work and persitance. Pat Dewar GF, Mt. Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2012 10:19:29 +0000


  11. I think it’s a good idea to contact anyone besides the blm. It’s like asking satan to “play nice”, not gonna work. I did email the blm though and cc’d the justice dept and added a whistleblower link (just in case any conscious lives there). I am going to start bombarding the Justice Dept w/ emails and calls demanding an investigation.
    There are over 1 billion people on FB. I’m going to “message” someone NOT on my friend list (in the U.S.) everyday to raise public awareness and hopefully new advocates will be “born” to speak up against this genocide and be a voice for the voiceless.


    • I’ve been thinking about how to get to the market that keeps buying horse meat, namely the European market. A friend said that there was a sign in one European restaurant “horse meat served”. How do we do that?


  12. I sent off an email. I fully expect a full onslaught against our horses and burros from the BLM.
    I’m sure Salazar is going to be replaced as Sec. of Interior. I expect in the days, weeks or months ahead that it will be like Hitler’s actions against the Jews as he was being closed in on. This is his final solution and we all need to keep our eyes and ears open and stop this insanity.


  13. This article was also featured in the PPJ Gazette

    Here’s one of the comments:

    “I have a gut feeling that one main reason for their ‘removal’ is the fact that less people would be checking on them or flying over.
    I base this on the fact that over 400million acres of “Private Land” has been turned over to fracking in last couple of years. They probbably don’t want people to know of this because of the connection of fracking with Earthquakes and the obvious fact of harming the eco system and aquifers.

    I live all the way in N. Fl and am not familiar w/ that part of Calif at all, but just looking at the landscape and the factor that for some reason, fault line areas seem to have large enough areas of gas to make it worthwhile for them to go after it.
    After looking at some of the flyover pictures, that area looks alot like NJ, NY, NC , TN, AR, areas where fracking is very lucritive for them, and NOT anyone or thing else.”


  14. This blog has been forward to a good contact in Sen. Marco Rubio’s office. The senator has requested we keep him in the loop. It seems he is truly concerned. He’s also on the committee that currently holds the Slaughter Prevention Act at bay in the senate. I hope he will help!


  15. This has been going on and on , I am mortified at the whole entire thing , there is NO Question in my Mind that the horses belong for more reasons then I could ever write on this space………………… They are essential to all life !!!!! I cant even imagine . why everyone isnt trying to save these wonderful awesome Horses…it is so very clear and present, every one must realize this is Fact……….. This should NOT be happening !!!!!!!


  16. Got this message from Dean Bolstad regarding Twin Peaks capture plan:
    “I have referred your inquiry to the Eagle Lake Field Office who is the office of jurisdiction for the Twin Peaks HMA. I appreciate you concerns and email.”
    Thanks -Dean Bolstad -Deputy Division Chief

    So does this mean that Mr. Bolstad already signed the proposal and gave it authorization to proceed? If so, it could mean an immediate capture since it is listed as a “full force in effect” proposal which could mean they could capture them all without public input or notification.

    Call and email Eagle Lake (Twin Peaks) field office and California WH&B office ASAP:
    Ken Collum (530) 252-5374
    Nancy Haug
    James Kenna


  17. Enough with the constant assault on our wild horses and burros. There is NO reason for this. They deserve to live free and not face possible extinction. We are heading toward the extinction of part of our national heritage. This is beyond reprehensible and absurd.


  18. The last I heard …
    Dean Bolstad says it is now back in the hands of the BLM field office manager Ken Collum and he says the decision will be made this week. His phone number is 530-252-5374 and his email is Let him know we are watching. Let him know that independent research has been done that nullifies their whole premise for this wild horse and burro capture.
    PS Ask him for their data (aerial photos and raw data notes – not their “adjusted” baloney) that supports their theory that 950 wild horses and a few hundred burros are currently living on the HMA and that 600 wild horses plus burros must be removed. They cannot because it is not true.


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