Wild Burros

This Land Not Really Ours


“With the BLM and Forest Service out of control and playing God as they mismanage our wild equines into oblivion, this OpEd sincerely struck home and indicates that it is not just wild horse and burro advocates who are taking note of these out of control federal agencies.  We all need to turn up the volume and insist that a Congressional Investigation is launched in an effort to clean house on these self-anointed bureaus.  They bring to mind regimes that we fought against in WWII and now they are us; a very sad state of affairs.” ~ R.T.

BLM Security at Twin Peaks 2010 wild horse and burro stampede to guard against 2 female advocates and one male ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM Security at Twin Peaks 2010 wild horse and burro stampede to guard against 2 female advocates and one male ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“This land is your land, this land is my land” goes the freedom anthem of the last century written by Woody Guthrie.

It’s an idea worth embracing again, because somewhere along the line, the federal bureaucracies entrusted with public lands have morphed into entities that treat folks like a problem, not a constituency.

Consider the U.S. Forest Service’s new rules for shooting pictures in a wilderness area. They illustrate how contemptuously wrong-headed government can become.

If a reporter wants to do a story in a wilderness area, the reporter must first get a permit from the U.S. Forest Service. That can cost up to $1,500. If a reporter is caught without a permit, he or she faces fines up to $1,000.

This is a stunningly stupid rule. Last month, the U.S. Forest Service sought to clarify and defend the rule, saying despite how the rules are written, the news media and documentary filmmakers, as well as most hikers shooting pictures in a wilderness area, would probably not be subject to the rule.

Probably? How reassuring.

The Oregonian newspaper was one of the first to decry the situation, pointing out that, “Under rules being finalized in November, a reporter who met a biologist, wildlife advocate or whistleblower alleging neglect in 36 million acres of wilderness would first need special approval to shoot photos or videos even on an iPhone.”

Almost any person trekking through a wilderness area who dares to shoot videos with an iPhone and then blogs it or tweets it or posts it to Facebook could be fined by the federal government $1,000 for each violation.

The Forest Service says that is not the “intent” of the rules, which were based on the Wilderness Act of 1964, which protects wilderness areas from being exposed for commercial gain.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. But, of course, there are no roads in wilderness areas, so we can only go by what the U.S. Forest does, not what it says.

As the Oregonian points out, in 2010, the Forest Service “refused to allow an Idaho Public Television crew into a wilderness area to film student conservation workers.” It was not until the governor of the state intervened that the crew was allowed in.

So, while the Forest Service talks like it’s drafting the Magna Carta, what it actually does resembles more the Sheriff of Nottingham. And the Forest Service is not the only one.

Whatever you might think of Cliven Bundy and his feud with the Bureau of Land Management, the display of the BLM’s ugly tactics against this Nevada rancher should alarm good people.

Who knew the BLM had become so militarized? And after the standoff in Mesquite ended, the BLM stonewalled reporters and to this day has not been called into public account for its misjudgments, which almost ended in bloodshed over a few illegally grazing cows.

The reason the BLM gets a pass on this episode is because Bundy turned out to be such an unsympathetic character. It’s too bad, because the critical issue here is the BLM…(CONTINUED)

35 replies »

  1. Right here they said it,,,,,,,……. Now Just WHO Is USING THIS LAND AND ITS INHABiTENTS FOR COMMERICAL GAIN !!!!!???????? The Forest Service says that is not the “intent” of the rules, which were based on the Wilderness Act of 1964, which protects wilderness areas from being exposed for commercial gain. The Mustangs are one of Americas GREATEST TREASURES, they are LEGENDS of the MOST BEAUTIFUL, KIND…….It comes down to EITHER we DEFEND them OR LOSE THEM FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ???????????????? Time is Now more crucial then it has ever been !!!!!!!!


  2. What would happen if you found and photographed evidence of say, illegal drug operations, in a wilderness area (presuming it wasn’t known to the the USFS)?


  3. I’m new to this, so excuse my ignorance. This is not about this article (for which I agree with Barbara & Arlene) but I have a question.

    I watched the National Geographic Video on Wild Horses last night. The first part with the history, Wild Horse Annie & etc. was very good. But is it just me or was the last part more or less a polished up commercial on how great the BLM is, showing how professional helicopter pilots are so considerate of the horses, not getting to close or running them to hard, etc. No mention of the horses being run to exhaustion, foals running their hooves off, horses being hit & injured by the helicopters. Saying mares and foals are reunited, the showing of nice holding & how well they’re taken care of, etc. etc. etc. Well, you get my gist. I thought, as I’m sure many others, that NatGeo showed the truth of things, anybody watching this would think the BLM are taking wonderful care of OUR American Mustangs.Please correct me if I’m wrong about this.

    I love the Wild Horses, didn’t know much about them ’till recently, and have been trying to help stop the roundups. I can’t do much more than watch, learn, write & call. You see I’m a quadriplegic ( paralyzed from the chest down) & on bed rest at the moment. So you see I’m not much help, but I do know all too well what it’s like to lose your freedom! And these beautiful creatures do not deserve what is happening to them! I dream of running with the wild ones, I hope someday I can!

    So my question is this, was that actually a whitewash job for the BLM to keep the public in the dark about this, is this why the national news channels aren’t reporting on this or acknowledging emails or letters.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak & learn.


    • Blessings to you, Dee, for your instincts are right on course. I haven’t seen the video but if it doesn’t show both sides of the roundup coin it is a propaganda piece.


      • It seemed that way, I always thought highly of NatGeo, but that has given me second thoughts. Thank you Icy for responding & thank you for fighting so hard for the Wild Ones!


      • I saw the same video – VERY VERY sugar coated! So different from the actual videos taken during roundups. We(all of us) need more people asking questions about this whole mess. There are many of us, Dee, that are unable to do more than what you are doing – I just hope its going to be enough to change things.


    • Dear dee21701, I know you have a wonderful inquirering Mind, your voice will be heard, all it will take is your Passion and love for the Wild Mustangs, together we will all return them to Freedom and the Land that belongs to them, Thank You for being here !!!!!!


      • I’m trying, it’s so disheartening sometimes. I’ll keep calling & writing, I sent comments to the President & V.President on the White House page. There’s petitions on there, but there isn’t one for the mustangs.


      • Dear dee21701 I am so happy you are here with us, you are so needed, if i can help you with anything , questions on who to contact or a little history of what is going on with our American Icons and treasures Wild Mustangs you can call or email me, I do not know everything but enough to share with you !!!!!! 216-296-9998 or arleneorlando@aol.com………………………………………


  4. Western Voters Say National Public Lands Should Belong to all Americans, Not Just Those of a Particular State

    Author: Jessica Goad

    According to the survey of voters in eight Western states (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming), voters feel very strongly that national public lands belong to all Americans, not just those of a particular state. Consider these two questions:



    By John Fund

    Regardless of how people feel about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over his cattle’s grazing rights, a lot of Americans were surprised to see TV images of an armed-to-the-teeth paramilitary wing of the BLM deployed around Bundy’s ranch.
    They shouldn’t have been.
    Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies…… not to mention local police forces.


  6. This is such B.S….
    If they would collect all the funds owed to the BLM by Clive Bundy in millions that should cover all their Greed against the tax payers who do not deserve this new rule set in motion. What a joke!…


  7. The photograph taken by Terry Fitch is pretty much representative of what I experienced, though with a few more vehicles, and no paved road:
    My research partner and I were attached to a group of 11 people who were to observe the Twin Peaks roundup on Day 2. Before we even left to go, we were met by three Kevlar-sportin’, weapons wielding BLM law enforcement officers, and 5 BLM agents.

    When we got to the staging area, we were met with literally dozens more, most of them law enforcement, part of a ‘documentary filming’ and demonstration of the roundup methods. At least, that’s what we were told.

    A few were decent. Most were arrogant.

    I can’t help but think that you don’t go to those lengths to intimidate unless you feel what you’re doing is unpopular, and may bring (perhaps justified?) consequences of its own.

    I had also heard a tale of a group of locals attending another roundup day, acting outside the BLM’s stringent rules for observers. They just showed up, spewing vitriol at the observers. BLM made it clear they wouldn’t be interfering, so the observers just had to sit there and take it, or risk incurring some of the BLM’s ‘benevolence’.

    Twin Peaks is now four years past, but it was a wicked-mean spectacle that haunts me in so any ways:
    Driving through Twin Peak’s Public lands for pleasure – to check on my hallowed ground and make sure all is well enough – we’ll occasionally run across agents driving through. It feels kind of like running across a rattlesnake on the trail – all you can do is either remain perfectly still or back away quickly. You certainly don’t want to hang around and find out what happens next.


  8. Let your views be heard Loud and Clear.
    The Public Comment period has been extended.

    US Forest Service Clears Up Controversial Rules for Photographers, Delays Final Decision

    Public outrage at the US Forest Service’s proposed commercial photography and videography permit rules has forced the agency to pull back and reconsider.

    As of yesterday evening, the USFS issued a statement clarifying its intentions and delaying a final decision until December 3rd to allow an additional month of public comment.

    The news comes just days after First Amendment advocates vented their frustrations with the potential permit rules through the media.


  9. And haven’t we all seen this term bandied about in documents that are so often used by federal agencies to remove our Federally Protected Wild Horses and Burros from their LEGAL Herd Management Areas.


    James M Beers

    Government “news” releases, environmental organization “fact” sheets, “scientific” papers, and daily newspaper articles are rife with the terms
    “biodiversity” and “invasive” species. Often these terms are contained in the same sentence as in, “Invasive species threaten biodiversity”. This is very much like describing a submerged submarine as a hollow log with a propeller on one end. That is to say such a description is neither accurate nor enlightening. Further, such a description is meant to mislead the reader into believing in a lie.

    Just as hollow logs are not submarines, Invasive Species do NOT threaten biodiversity. By definition, Invasive Species are newly arrived plants or animals and unless they make two or more plants or animals totally extinct (an unlikely and statistically remote possibility) they INCREASE BIODIVERSITY. This is so
    entirely self-evident that no further explanation is required.

    So what is going on here? Is this a simple mistake? Could there be a hidden agenda at play?
    could all these “experts” (professors, bureaucrats, politicians, activists, and reporters to whom we defer on such matters) make such a mistake?

    The answer is that it is no mistake and the hidden agenda exceeds the invisibility of a bathysphere going for a new depth record. Allow me to translate. (continued)


    • I don’t know who Mr. Beers is, but invasive species do initially increase species numbers but by definition are aggressive competitors and end up taking over niches others once occupied, since the invasives rarely come to a new place with their traditional predators. They have an advantage which allows them to outreproduce others in their new environment, producing trophic cascades throughout an ecosystem. The only agenda an invasive species has (as do all others) is to reproduce itself successfully and sustainably. They just have a lot easier time of it when they are wandering far from home.


      • I recommend reading Mr. Beers other articles regarding invasive species – I really only skimmed thru them, but sure sounds to me as if he is a proponent of states rights. Also against reintroducing wolves and other predators, and really has issues with the endangered species act. But on the other hand, he is against “big” government!



    By Ross MacPhee, PhD, Curator – Division
    of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

    It needs to be more widely understood that the horse’s status as a native North American species is beyond serious question.


    • Now that it Has been scientfiically established and proven that horses are native species of America, WHAT will that get for them????????????????????/


  11. now do you all see what i was talking the forceful tactics a/h’s were willing to go to . now we have immense grounds to make up . I am saying this whole heartedly anything that is important to us americans this president and his minions are going to do everything in their power to make sure that it is gone. i don’t trust any one of these talking heads to what is right because they have at every turn showed us that we are thinking wrong to even trust that they will do the right thing. they have talked out the side of their mouths every time they speak . now i have signed and wrote a lenghty insert in that petition . i would urge everyone to sign and write about the burro’s they plan to send to south or central america . i don’t even trut the petitions now days . but i sure let my postition be known and that i didn’t trust not one of their failed plans as the the years have shown us they don’t work for anyone involved and i can hardly wait for the blm to turn their backs on these rotten ranchers, too. which will happen when they get done running the wild horses and burro’s through the preverbial wringer. god bless each and everyone of you and i will try to help best i can and report on yahoo to anyone who will listen to the plight of our horses and wildlife because we are all they have . god bless them.


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