Horse News

Advocacy group says fencing along Lower Salt River poses danger to Wild Horses and the public

By as published on Fox 10 Phoenix

Signage has been put up along the Bush Highway to warn drivers of wild horses in the area, and now the Tonto National Forest is putting up additional fencing they say to help keep the horses safe.

Not everyone, however, is thrilled with the idea of the newest fencing being added.

Advocates Terry Fitch and Simone Netherlands observing the Salt River Wild Horse Herd ~ photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Tonto National Forest continuing construction on four miles of fencing along the Lower Salt River in the Mesa Ranger District. The fencing will start at the Granite Reef Recreation Site, and it will run along the river for three miles to the Phon D. Sutton rec Site, and then run along the edge of the river to the Coon Bluff Rec Site, where it will tie into the existing fence.

“At this time, the fence is not going to cross the river,” said Chandler Mundy, Range Program Manager for the Tonto National Forest, in a phone interview. “We are working on plans for the fence to cross the river in the future near the Coon Bluff Rec Site. That will be the final stretch needed to keep other livestock from joining the herd.”

According to the Tonto National Forest, the main goal for fencing is to keep wild horses off of Bush Highway and out of harm’s way. However, some are voicing their concerns.

Simone Netherlands, President of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, says the fence will have negative consequences for the public and the horses. She wants the fence moved away from the river and closer to the road.

“So if you’re trying to keep wild horses out but they can still swim, what you’re going to do is bottleneck the population because they’re all going to have to go through that, and then, you’re going to concentrate too many horses with too many people in one area, and that’s making for safety problems,” said Netherlands.

Netherlands says the horses will also be cut off from the water, but Forest Service officials disagree with the claim.

“We are not cutting the horses off to the water,” said Mundy. “They have access to over 12 miles of the river.”

The Forest Service says they’ve worked with several groups on the design and safety of the fence, and it’s all to benefit the horses. Netherlands says she’ll continue to fight the fence.

In addition to the fencing, 35 access gates have been added for people to pass through.

The Forest Service is asking people to not cut through any of the fencing. People caught cutting through the fencing could be charged.

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6 replies »

  1. Yeah sure USFS, and I bet it will be barbed wire not smooth wire fence so more horses can be injured. Just what the cattlemen want!!!


  2. Good luck with keeping 35 public access gates closed in just a few miles of fence!

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for other wildlife to perhaps pile up a stone barrier rather than a deadly 4-5 stranc barbed wire fence which surely will be cut by people who can’t get through it otherwise and don’t want to carry gear to their favorite fishing holes etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. WHO stands to gain by killing the few remaining Historic Heber Wild Horses?

    Prelude to Catastrophe Recent and Historic Land Management Within the Rodeo-Chediski Fire Area Report prepared by: Center for Biological Diversity Sierra Club Southwest Forest Alliance (excerpts)

    To answer these questions, the Center for Biological Diversity obtained documents from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest describing forest conditions and management decisions made within what would later become the Rodeo-Chediski Fire. Timber sales and livestock grazing allotments were dated and mapped within the fire zone. Historical documents were also analyzed. The record unambiguously demonstrates that the Sitgreaves national forest is one of the most heavily logged, grazed and roaded forests in the Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service (Arizona and New Mexico). It has less old growth, fewer roadless areas, and fewer wilderness areas than the other eleven forests. Virtually every acre within the Rodeo-Chediski fire area was intensively logged, grazed, and roaded. In the past 13 years alone, the Forest Service conducted ten timber sales within its portion of the fire area. Forest Service employees and the Arizona Game and Fish Department repeatedly warned that the logging levels on the Apache-Sitgreaves were unsustainable and Game and Fish even appealed the Forest Plan. Numerous Forest Service studies in the 1990’s warned that overgrazing by livestock within the fire area was causing dangerous fuel loads by allowing large numbers of small pine trees to take root

    U.S. Forest Service records of timber sales and grazing allotments confirm the LANDSAT-based conclusions of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute. They show that the Forest Service was aware that current grazing practices within the fire area were causing increased densities of small, highly flammable trees, and that the Forest Service conducted ten timber sales within the fire area since 1990. Unsustainable levels of logging on the Sitgreaves national forest have been opposed not only by environmentalists, but also by high-level Forest Service managers and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

    Click to access r-c_report.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

    Groups Worry About BLM Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Plan
    By PENNY PRESTON • JUN 19, 2015

    “We fenced them. They can’t roam three hundred miles to meet environmental challenges like drought, or bad winters. They’re trapped. I watched one half of the Pryor Mountain herd die in 1977 four hundred yards from where they could have survived. But, they couldn’t get there because of the fence.”
    Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick


  5. WATER


    Nestle Waters North America holds a longstanding right to use this water from the national forest near San Bernardino. But the U.S. Forest Service hasn’t been keeping an eye on whether the taking of water is harming Strawberry Creek and the wildlife that depends on it. In fact, Nestle’s permit to transport water across the national forest expired in 1988.

    Two former Forest Service employees interviewed by The Desert Sun say they think it’s wrong that the agency for decades hasn’t studied the impacts on the national forest. During the drought, they say, there is now an urgent need to protect the water sources on public lands and reexamine Nestle’s bottling operation.
    “That’s Arrowhead’s pipe coming down right there,” said Gary Earney, a retired Forest Service employee, standing on the bank of the creek and leaning on a walking stick.
    Earney used to administer permits for the Forest Service, and he said the agency has never done an assessment of how the taking of water affects the creek. Back when the water pipes were installed in the early 20th century, he pointed out, no one conducted environmental reviews. Now, he said, it’s long overdue

    While Nestle’s expired permit hasn’t been scrutinized in nearly three decades, some other water users have been required to cut back. In the mid-2000s, as part of a regional review, the Forest Service went through the permits of hundreds of cabins on land in the national forest and reexamined their use of water from creeks. In Barton Flats, for instance, dozens of cabin owners were told they could no longer draw water from Barton Creek; instead, they would have to use wells or install tanks and truck in water. Cabin owners spent thousands of dollars putting in tanks.

    “Some of these people had been using the water with water rights for 80 years, and it was very costly to make the change. Nestle takes more water from the stream in one day than the total of all of those cabin owners in a year,” Loe said. “It’s just so unfair.”
    “We made the little people do the right thing,” he said, “and we’re not making the big people do the right thing.”
    Amanda Frye, a community activist who lives in Redlands, said she finds the lack of oversight by the Forest Service disturbing, particularly during the drought.

    “The U.S. government is just giving away our natural resources to an international corporation,” Frye said. “I think that’s really wrong.”


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