Hi All! Here is Shauna's original request - lets see if we can't show some support!
I spoke to Carla this week and she suggested that I send an email and give ya all some background for my request. I am writing to you and requesting help for a beloved Utah treasure that many folks know very little about. The Onaqui wild horses of the West Utah desert.
Perhaps some of you may have seen news stories about this herd or maybe even heard me talk about them. Carla asked that I give you a little insight and information behind wild horses, round ups, the BLM and the current situation. There are many are branches on this tree, so without going into too much detail, I can tell you that aside from this being about saving wild horses on the range...this also involves our cherished public lands.
The BLM has announced their intent to round up and remove 90% of the Onaqui herd. The National Academy of Science has stated that a herd left with one hundred or even two hundred horses is not a viable herd. The Onaqui herd consists of roughly 500 horses on over 200,000 acres, that doesn't even equate to one quarter of a horse per acre. Removing 90% would be nothing short of a devastating death sentence. This particular herd of horses is the most photographed herd of wild horses in the West....possibly the U.S. They are approachable as they are accustom to the campers, hunters and the off road enthusiasts that frequent their range.
The BLM states the same reasons every year to remove wild horses. Not enough forage, drought, range damage or Sage Grouse...yes, a bird that I have yet to see in the West desert and I have made multiple trips and spent countless hours on this range. The long and short is that "welfare ranchers" want the public land to graze their cattle on.
I don't want to go too far into the political side of this, because I'm not asking you to be politically involved. I am asking you as folks that love our beautiful public lands, it stunning wild horse inhabitants, other wild inhabitants, lush forests and clean rivers and lakes. There are two very strong wild horse groups from AZ and CA coming up here to hold a rally to hopefully persuade the BLM that removing these beautiful horses isn't in anyone's best interest. The CA group offered the Utah BLM free fertility control and volunteer darters to keep our population growth down...FREE. They refused. That alone should tell the public that something is amiss.
The Arizona group's founder contacted me late this last week, requesting that I reach out to our local Harley dealers and ridership. Apparently, the AZ group has a Harley group based in the Scottsdale/Prescott area that is very supportive of their wild horses, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and the founder, Simone Netherlands. She asked if any available riders could come, park their bikes and hang out with us for the hour and a half rally. I guess there is something about flashy bikes and folks dressed in leather? Maybe it's a different kind of cowboy? Dressed in chaps on a different kind of horse?
The rally is on Friday, April 5 at 11 am 440 W 200 S. Again, this isn't political it's about keeping these iconic horses on the range and keeping our public land healthy. I really appreciate your support, hope you can send this out to our riders and perhaps see some of you there.