Attending the Gather
Challis Gather Information Line
Please call 208-879-6251 if you would like to attend the Challis gather. This number will have a recording with information about where to meet BLM staff so you can attend the gather. The meeting time and other pertinent information will be updated daily, as gathers are fluid operations and sometimes, weather or other factors affect meeting times and locations. If you plan to attend the gather, please leave a message indicating your attendance and the number of people in your party.
*All observers will meet at the Challis Field Office in Challis, Idaho at 6:30 a.m. If this location or meeting time changes, the information phone line will be updated with the most current information.
BLM recognizes and respects the right of interested members of the public and the press to observe the Challis wild horse gather. At the same time, BLM must ensure the health and safety of the public, BLM's employees and contractors, and America's wild horses. Accordingly, BLM developed these rules to maximize the opportunity for reasonable public access to the gather while ensuring that BLM's health and safety responsibilities are fulfilled. Failure to maintain safe distances from operations at the gather and temporary holding sites could result in members of the public inadvertently getting in the path of the wild horses or gather personnel, thereby placing themselves and others at risk, or causing stress and potential injury to the wild horses.
The BLM and the contractor’s helicopter pilot must comply with 14 CFR Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, which determines the minimum safe altitudes and distance people must be from the aircraft. To be in compliance with these regulations, the viewing location at the gather site and holding corrals must be approximately 500 feet from the operating location of the helicopter at all times. The viewing locations may vary depending on topography, terrain and other factors.
Observation opportunities and gather operations may be suspended if bad weather conditions create unsafe flying conditions. A Wild Horse Gather Info Line will be established by the time the gather begins and will be updated daily with the status of the gather.
Inclement weather, a gather location inaccessible to the public, or lack of gather operations on a given day (trap moving, equipment problems, etc.) will cancel the observation outing for that day. Cancellations will often not be known before the 6:30 a.m. meeting time
Because of the fluidity of gather operations, be prepared for the possibility of waiting at gather locations for hours without seeing any actual wild horse gathering.
Observers must provide their own 4-wheel drive high clearance vehicle, appropriate shoes, clothing, food and water.
Observers are prohibited from riding in government and contractor vehicles and equipment.
BLM will establish one observation area, in the immediate area of the gather and holding sites, to which individuals will be directed. This area will be placed so as to maximize the opportunity for public observation while providing for a safe and effective wild horse gather. The utilization of such observation areas is necessary due to the use and presence of heavy equipment and aircraft in the gather operation and the critical need to allow BLM personnel and contractors to fully focus on attending to the needs of the wild horses while maintaining a safe environment for all involved. In addition, observation areas will be sited so as to protect the wild horses from being spooked, startled or impacted in a manner that results in increased stress.
BLM representatives will escort visitors to and from the gather and/or temporary holding facility during designated observation days.
Individuals will be directed to the designated observation area by BLM personnel and informed of behavioral rules (such as remaining quiet and still to ensure a safe and effective gather operation).
Visitors are NOT permitted to walk around the gather site unaccompanied by a BLM representative.
Observers are prohibited from climbing/trespassing onto or in the trucks, equipment or corrals, which is the private property of the contractor.
When BLM is using a helicopter or other heavy equipment in close proximity to a designated observation area, members of the public may be asked to stay by their vehicle for some time before being directed to an observation area once the use of the helicopter or the heavy machinery is complete.
When given the signal that the helicopter is close to the gather site bringing wild horses in, visitors must sit down in areas specified by BLM representatives and must not move or talk as the horses are guided into the corral.
Visitors must direct their questions/comments to either the designated BLM representative or the BLM spokesperson on site, and not engage other BLM/contractor staff and disrupt their gather duties/responsibilities - professional and respectful behavior is expected of all.
Individuals attempting to move outside a designated observation area will be requested to move back to the designated area or to leave the site. Failure to do so may result in citation or arrest. It is important to stay within the designated observation area to safely observe the wild horse gather.
Visitors who do not cooperate and follow the rules will be escorted off the gather site by BLM law enforcement personnel, and will be prohibited from participating in any subsequent observation days.
BLM reserves the right to alter these rules based on changes in circumstances that may pose a risk to health, public safety or the safety of wild horses (such as weather, lightning, wildfire, etc.
Know before you go…
There are no facilities, including restrooms, in the HMAs.
Cell service is very limited or nonexistent in much of the HMAs. Plan to be out of range for most of the day.
Arrive at the meeting place with a full tank of gas.
Roads are rugged and rocky. A high-clearance, four wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended. Your tires must be in good condition and you should have a fully inflated spare and tire changing equipment.
Be prepared for weather extremes. Check the forecast the night before to ensure that you are prepared and dressed appropriately.
Parking will be limited at many gather locations. Be prepared to hike into some observation locations, Wear sturdy boots as some hikes could be arduous involving steep and rocky terrain. Hiking requirements will be explained at each morning briefing.
Binoculars and a camera with a telephoto lens are strongly recommended.
Dress in earth tones. Brightly-colored clothing can be a distraction to the horses.
For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 866-468-7826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org