Horse News

BLM wild horse ecosantuary granted to cattle rancher and former Wyoming State Veterinarian

BLM has just sweetened the gig for working cattle ranch, Double D Ranch.  Besides selling livestock, Double D Ranch sells horses.  It seems that Dwayne Oldham, who owns and leases parts of Double D Ranch, is a former Wyoming State Veterinarian and Wyoming Livestock Board member.

It also seems that BLM gave the okay to a wild horse ecosanctuary in an area where there has been a shortage of water.  In a 2013 article in, it states “For the second year in a row, the Washakie Reservoir on the Wind River Indian Reservation is empty long before the irrigation season ends for farmers and ranchers downstream.”  And It cost us $150,000 last year, and this year it will be $100,000,” said Dwayne Oldham, who raises hay to feed cattle within the Wind River Irrigation District.We sold 100 cows and weaned calves early last year.

Neil Kornze, Director of the BLM, thinks ecosanctuaries will “improve” the BLM’s management of wild horses and burros.  First of all, only SAME SEX HORSES ARE ON EACH ECOSANCTUARY (same sex = non-reproducing).

Note to Neil:  The ONLY ways the BLM could possibly improve would be to leave VIABLE herds on the range, stop whittling down HMAs, STOP EXPERIMENTING ON WILD HORSES & BURROS (field spaying of mares is unethical), don’t use any fertility control on non-viable herds, take some videos to PROVE the numbers you claim are on the range, AND STOP MANAGING THE WILD HORSES AND BURROS FOR EXTINCTION WHILE FAVORING LIVESTOCK GRAZING, OIL AND GAS DRILLING AND MINING (uses that make more money).


Lander-area ranch to be a BLM Wild Horse Ecosanctuary; Double D Ranch is on the Reservation


The Double D Ranch land north of Lander looking west to the Wind River Range. (BLM Photo)

(Lander,Wyo.) – The third wild horse ecosanctuary in the United States for off-range care of excess wild horses and burros will be located seven miles north of Lander, the Bureau of Land Management announced today.  The new ecosanctuary would be operated on the 900-acre Double D Ranch, located seven miles north of Lander and would initially hold up to 100 horses, with the first horses arriving as early as the spring of 2015.  The ranch is within the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The ranch is located to the east of U.S. Highway 287 and east and south the Blue Sky Highway (WYO 132) between Plunkett Road and the Ethete intersection.

The BLM’s Lander Field Office issued a Decision Record, resulting from an Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act, that addresses comments from the public and adjacent landowners.  The Environmental Assessment can be accessed  The Decision Record, which finds no significant environmental impacts from the ecosanctuary, initiates a 30-day appeal period during which the public may express comments.

Map of the  Double D Ranch property to be part of the ecosanctuary. (from the BLM's Environment Assessment).

Map of the Double D Ranch property (outlined in black) to be part of the ecosanctuary. (from the BLM’s Environment Assessment).

The ecosanctuary would be run by Dwayne and Denise Oldham, who own and lease portions of the Double D Ranch.  It would be the second BLM-private ecosanctuary to be located in Wyoming; a 290-horse ranch is already operated by Richard and Jana Wilson on the 4,000-acre Deerwood Ranch near Centennial, Wyoming.  A third ecosanctuary, known as the Mowdy Ranch, operated by Clay and Kit Mowdy, holds 153 horses on 1,280 acres and is located 12 miles northeast of Coalgate, Oklahoma, in the southeastern part of the state.

“This advances our efforts to improve the BLM’s management of and care for America’s wild horses and burros,” said BLM Director Neil Kornze.  “Although the challenges facing our Wild Horse and Burro Program remain formidable, every step forward moves us closer to our goal of more effective and efficient stewardship of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range.”

“The Lander Field Office has worked closely with the Oldhams to ensure that proper care will be provided for the wild horses and to address the concerns of neighboring landowners,” said BLM Lander Field Manager Rick Vander Voet. “We look forward to a long, successful partnership with the Double D Ranch.”

The wild horse ecosanctuaries, which must be publicly accessible with a potential for ecotourism, help the BLM feed and care for excess wild horses that have been removed from overpopulated herds roaming Western public rangelands.  The BLM enters in partnership agreements with the ecosanctuary operators, who are reimbursed at a funding level comparable to what the agency pays ranchers to care for wild horses on long-term pastures in the Midwest.  The partnership agreement requires that any profits from tourism activities at the ecosanctuary must be used to defray operating costs, thus saving taxpayer dollars.

Long-term plans under the BLM-Double D partnership agreement include a learning/visitor information center, tours, gift shop, and campground.  The Double D Ranch plans to invite the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the Northern Arapahoe Tribe of the Wind River Reservation to partner in running the learning center, which will interpret Native American culture and the historic role of the horse.  The Wind River Visitors Council, Lander Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Lander support the ecosanctuary and would help promote public visitation to it.

The BLM estimates that 49,209 wild horses and burros are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states, based on the latest data available, compiled as of March 1, 2014.  Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years.  As a result, the BLM, as part of its management of public rangeland resources, must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control herd sizes.

The estimated current free-roaming population exceeds by more than 22,500 the number that the BLM has determined can exist in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses. The maximum appropriate management level (AML) is approximately 26,684.
Off the range, as of November 2014, there were 48,447 other wild horses and burros fed and cared for at short-term corrals and long-term pastures, which compares to the BLM’s total holding capacity of 50,153.  All wild horses and burros in holding, like those roaming Western public rangelands, are protected under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, as amended.

The Double D Ranch now hosts domestic horses. It has been proposed for an ecosanctuary for wild horses and burros. This scene looking north from Plunkett Road. (BLM Photo)

The Double D Ranch now hosts domestic horses. It has been proposed for an ecosanctuary for wild horses and burros. (BLM Photo)

44 replies »

  1. Omg the corruption of the BLM-Double D partnership is blatant. How can these “special interest groups” have legal right over our land, our Wildlife, this is more sickening news, please, somehow, we have to file a class action against BLM’ s management of our Horses.


  2. Can anyone explain why the BLM is approving sanctuaries in the West, but will not consider any applications for long-term holding facilities unless they border the Mississippi River or lie east of it?


  3. Wonder how much they will get paid ? More “managing for extinction” and lies.
    Bet there are less than 20,000 wild horses still running free and only a few thousand burros while millions of cattle AND SHE


  4. Could someone please explain to me why there are cattle ranches on an indian reservation? Do they have to go through the council to but the land? Im telling ya the BLM and cattle ranchers will not stop until the horses are extinct


    • Looks like this is a combination of both privately owned and leased land surrounded by the reservation. Native Americans raise both cattle and horses of their own, too.


  5. It is sad to hear that BLM thinks wild grazers interfere with land use. It sees the land management aspect of this bureaucracy is limited to expanding cattle grazing at the expense of everything else. This vet/rancher whose primary in tress will be the profitable operation of ranches will have the power to decimate wildlife because of the “expertise” of his “profession”. Seems the fox is in the henhouse.


    • I’m curious if there are any cost figures published about this sanctuary, which is presumably being paid for at least in part by BLM funds (read: taxpayer dollars) and will surely also need to fundraise to survive. Meanwhile, do we ever see the BLM budget decline? I’d like to see a cost/benefit analysis showing what it will cost us to have just 100 horses managed in this way. Anyone have figures? Interesting also in that there was so little support for Madeline Picken’s plans once she had the audacity to ask the BLM to pay her something for tending the horses.


  6. Grandma gregg— we know there is more hear than meets the eye, the BLM was so against ecosanctuarys and now it’s like gee—-look at the idea we thought of, as for reproducing herds probably not, the pioneer person has mares and Pitkin has geldings and the idea is to not let them reproduce. They are going to spread them out so much we will never be able to keep track of them and then they will start to disaapear. Now that they are basically getting away with any and everything they want, let’s hope it doesn’t mean our worst fears.
    Found this little Democrat thought


  7. Sounds like some of this acreage on an Indian Reservation. How can the BLM have any say or rule on Reservation land. Isn’t that for the Indians?


  8. Wild horse sanctuaries have and are saving wild horses from slaughter. At least it looks that way unless we see evidence of poor tracking and animals disappearing from these sanctuaries as we have in other BLM sales and adoptions. ‘Sanctuaries’ started basically as private rescue operations by well intentioned people, but these new BLM sanctuaries being approved are obviously suspect because as you point out it’s cattle ranchers being approved. There’s 2 now in Wyoming and 1 in Oklahoma. Madeleine Pickens who has and is advocating for wild horses to stay on the range has been waiting for years to get gov’t approval in Nevada. These new sanctuaries are more like the BLM long term holding facilities/ranches in the Midwest given a different name. Whether you agree with sanctuaries or not, what is evident is the BLM just isn’t managing wild horses to preserve them in the wild whether it’s sanctuaries, birth control, etc.


  9. Debbie: What happens when these horses stray across the line (imaginary line) into Indian reservation land? what can the Indians do that BLM or Forest Service can’t do?

    Bonnie: MP has not been advocating the horses stay wild. She is advocating for her own profit geared Indian experience – complete with zeroing out of two HMAs adjacent to her property so she can convert the cattle permits to horse permits and the confiscation of public land (she plans on fencing the BLM allotments and use for her private enterprise – one being the Antelope HMA and I believe the other is the Triple B). She is not waiting, BLM is refusing to allow the zeroing out. There are a few little bureaucratic requirements before zeroing out a fully functional HMA for the purposes of entertaining Chinese investors – I mean, after all. But then, of course, they are more than likely waiting for a reason. There is so much going on out there.

    BLM could also be too tied up with trying to obfuscate the fact that water from the Goshute Valley is being piped down to Las Vegas, which will in turn make everyone’s life miserable in that area. MP’s ranch also will be impacted – but from a different angle.


    • Yep, and Madeleine Pickens got about 55 water rights in 5 basins. So when the non-reproducing herd eventually dies, and there are no more wild horses left on the range, she still has the resort and water rights.


    • Isn’t this enterprise substantially similar to what is referenced in the article – tourism, “Indian” experience etc., with taxpayer support of a few neutered wild horses in an Orwellian take on a theme park?


  10. That is the way big money and politics work. Not fair and so many people that have land and money could help but only will if there is something in it for them. BLM sanctuaries are better than the alternatives…..


    • If people keep saying this is “better than the alternative” it is giving up and letting BLM continue to not manage wild horses and burros on the range. There is no overpopulation and they shouldn’t be removing any of them. Don’t take your eye off the ball. Using an R.T. quote, the BLM is putting lipstick on a pig. These wild horses and burros can “die” on ecosanctuaries as easily as they disappear to buyers like Tom Davis.


  11. This is all so confusing to me, politics, it’s always so muddy you don’t know what really is going on. Unless that’s only me, I don’t know, I just want the horses safe & free! I’ll keep trying to figure it out. Thank you everybody for your insight & knowledge!


  12. And YES there are mobile slaughterhouses that are in trucks that are driven to where the animals are to be slaughtered. This gives anyone, anywhere the opportunity to slaughter any animal without anyone knowing about it and this is a booming business. Google “mobile slaughterhouse” and if you can stomach it you can even see it on youtube. Anytime that our wild horses and burros are captured by BLM and associates and we lose track of those wild horses and burros and aren’t allowed to see them … ask yourself if those animals are even still alive. Sorry for saying this but we need to not be blinded by corruption – especially when it is against our wild ones.


  13. I wonder if there is a correlation between Governor Mead’s lawsuit he filed the other day and this brand new eco-sanctuary. Like BLM is coughing this one up relatively near Rock Springs so the horses wouldn’t be that far from home. But imprisoned, sterilized, same sex pens etc.

    As far as BLM is concerned they are giving us as much as they willing to–giving some of the horses relative freedom within a confined area. Not their fault we don’t like the same sex pens. I call bs on this. I call bs on spaying the mares. I call bs on gelding every stud they find.

    How about living up to the mandates of the law and not some side show make believe that an uneducated public isn’t going to argue with?

    Honestly this looks like what the editors of the kids book The Thoroughbred Series started by Joanna Campbell did. Up to book 23 while some of the editing did go sideways and was deeply lacking; things went upside down and inside out starting in book 24. They took this immensely popular series on horse racing and suddenly turned it into a series about show jumping?

    The premise was the kids got their horsey book, they were too young and ignorant to know the difference between racing and show jumping. And they were still raking in the dollars from book sales.

    That didn’t last long. The complaints were LOUD and long. And EVERYONE complained. By book 30 things were beginning to turn around. They lost a great series because of a change of editors–who simply didn’t care about the product.

    Basically it’s the same here. ONLY BLM won’t budge because to do so means compromise. Once they go down that path there’s no turning back. And to much money is being shoved into the Presidents favorite charities by cattle. Cattle owns the President out west.


  14. Found this from back in June 2003 – BLM Advisory Board Minutes: Wyoming Pilot Project Update Don Glenn presented the WY Pilot Project. The Project will place 27 un-adoptable horses on a private ranch for their lifetime for an upfront cost of $1,800 per head. There is also a bonding requirement with this. This is one way to reduce the cost of long-term holding of wild horses. There were approximately 28 people who were interested in the program. Don expressed he would like help from the Board on how to fund more of these types of agreements. Funding sources for this program such as Rural Economic Development Programs and the National Wild
    Horse and Burro Foundation may help with this. The BLM Wyoming State Office should be approached to help fund this. There has been inquires about the Pilot Project from other states. The Board suggested that BLM pursue more pilot efforts in other states and the BLM agree to look further into the possibilities of expanding the projects in FY 2004.


  15. Are they taking mares or geldings? I bet mares. They can breed all those mares and have an endless supply of grassfed, no meds at all meat. Someone should do a fly over and look for foals in the ‘all mares’ groups. Check (by fly over) the long established groups for conditions/check the long established groups of mares- there should not be any foals at all in those groups that have been hidden for years.

    offer on craigs list mexico- the border slaughter areas a bit of cash for clear BLM freezebrands photos. Those numbers can be traced. Everybody in mexico has a phone and email..people who see those American slaughter horses would LOVE to make a bit of cash. even a couple dollars.
    This could also be done for race horse tattoos.
    a picture speaks a thousand words- that is why the BLM and horse slaughter people in general HIDE


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