A helicopter pursues wild horses during the recent Owyhee Complex roundup in Nevada. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

A helicopter pursues wild horses during the recent Owyhee Complex roundup in Nevada. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.


BLM press release


SALT LAKE CITY – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah will host its annual statewide public hearing at the BLM-Utah Salt Lake Field Office to discuss the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles in the management of wild horses and burros on Utah’s public lands. Federal Regulation requires an annual public hearing for comments on this issue; the hearing in Salt Lake City will be the only one held in Utah during the 2017 gather season.

The hearing this year will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the BLM Salt Lake Field Office 2370 S Decker Lake Blvd West Valley City, Utah 84119.

“Helicopter and motorized vehicle usage is a critical management tool when managing wild horses and burros on the open range,” said Tami Howell, Salt Lake Wild Horse and Burro Specialist. “These management tools allow us to conduct aerial population surveys, monitor animal distribution, and transport captured animals in an effective and humane manner.”

Utah’s current statewide wild horse and burro population numbers currently exceed 6,000 animals, which is well above the approved appropriate management level of 2,000. Having an over abundant number of wild horses and burros above BLM management levels may cause resource damage resulting in limited forage and water availability, which reduces the number of animals that can be supported on the land.

Salt Lake City was chosen as the location of this meeting due to the proximity and recent proposal to gather and remove wild horses from the Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) in Tooele County. Other currently planned gathers include the Conger, Sulphur and Frisco HMAs located in Millard and Beaver Counties. Gather location may change due to the available funding, wildfires, or availability of water and forage due to drought conditions.

To date, the BLM has removed more than 13,000 wild horses and burros from Utah’s rangelands since the government removals began in 1975. Over 7,500 of the animals have been adopted locally; the remainder of the animals are shipped east for adoption or holding in off-range pastures. Utah’s 2017 satellite adoptions start in May and continue monthly throughout the state. Adoption locations are tentatively set for Farmington, Heber City and Delta, Utah. Daily adoptions are ongoing at the Delta Wild Horse and Burro Facility.

For additional information about the upcoming statewide public hearing, or future wild horse and burro adoptions, visit www.blm.gov or contact the Utah WH&B Hotline at (801) 539-4050 or the BLM Utah State Office at 801-539-4057.