Stone Cabin HMA:
The Stone Cabin HMA is located approximately 30 miles east of Tonopah, NV in Nye County. This HMA is 48 miles long, stretching north and south through the extent of Stone Cabin Valley. At its widest point, it is 23 miles wide. The elevation of the valley floor ascends from a low of 5,300 feet to a high of 6,300 feet. The surrounding mountain ranges vary between 8,400 to 9,400 feet.
The Stone Cabin HMA is open on two sides to U.S. Forest Service administered lands, on the east by the Reveille HMA, and on the south by the Nellis Test Range. The Stone Cabin HMA is crossed at its mid-point by US Highway 6 which runs from Tonopah to Ely, Nevada. Much of the valley consists of gentle alluvial slopes underlain by sediments shed from the Monitor Mountain Range on the west and the Hot Creek and Kawich Ranges on the east.
The Saulsbury HMA consists of two parts, located north and south of US Highway 6. North Saulsbury is 21 miles long and 9 miles wide. South Saulsbury is 15 miles long and 6 miles wide. Elevations range from 8,173 feet on Sheep Mountain against the USFS boundary to a low of 5,292 feet against the Nellis Test Site boundary.
The area falls within the Great Basin Desert which encompasses much of Nevada, western Utah, portions of southern Oregon and small parts of Idaho and California. The weather and precipitation patterns vary considerably within Central Nevada, and drought is a recurrent feature.
The general area receives 5 inches of annual precipitation in the valley bottoms. The mountain tops can receive as much as 16 inches. Summers are hot and dry, with high temperatures in the 90’s or higher. Winters are cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing and occasionally below zero. The Stone Cabin and Saulsbury HMAs receive snow during the winter which may range from several inches to nearly a foot in depth depending upon the severity of the winter, and elevation.
The Stone Cabin HMA is 403,736 acres in and Saulsbury HMA includes 81,152 acres. Areas located outside of designated HMAs that are included in the proposed gather area total approximately 400,112 acres.
This area is typical of the Great Basin region characterized by north-south trending mountain ranges. Significant features are large flat valley bottoms and steep mountains. The area is remote and rugged, with portions of two Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) included within the proposed gather area, and both within the Stone Cabin HMA itself. Water sources are scarce and primarily consist of small springs. The vegetation consists primarily of salt desert shrub, black sagebrush, and pinyon-juniper woodlands. Noteworthy species include Indian ricegrass, needleandthread, galleta grass, bottlebrush squirreltail, winterfat (white sage), fourwing saltbush, shadscale saltbush, and bud sagebrush.
Wildlife species found in the Complex include but are not limited to mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, badger, long-tailed weasel, black-tailed jackrabbit, numerous birds, reptiles and small mammals. Hoofed mammal species include mule deer, pronghorn and bighorn sheep.
The following table dispays the current estimated population within these HMAs:
|HMA||Current Population ||AML|
The Stone Cabin Complex wild horses exhibit common colors associated with wild horses such as bay, brown, chestnut, sorrel and black. What makes the Stone Cabin Complex unique is the Stone Cabin Grey which is unique to the areas and was reportedly revered by Velma Johnston. Some sources indicate that the Stone Cabin Grey horses are descendants of a Steeldust Grey Thoroughbred, well known in Texas that Jack Longstreet (famous gunfighter) put out in the Stone Cabin Valley. Additionally, fine quarter horses owned by local ranchers in the area years ago may have contributed to the quality of the horses in the area today . The Stone Cabin Grey is typically born black or dark, and begins to “roan out” as early as 3-4 years of age, continuing to become more grey until they are nearly white by age 15. Many of the grey horses retain dark black or grey manes and tails.
Size of Horses:
Wild horses within these HMAs average 14-15 hands in height and weigh 900-1,100 pounds as adults.
Stone Cabin Complex wild horses are mild tempered and have become accustomed to humans and vehicle traffic over the years. The access by road, and distribution of the wild horses have made these HMAs prime viewing areas for the public, and a wild horse viewing destination for travellers. The Nevada Handbook published for people wanting to know more about Nevada by Moon Publications, Inc., states this about wild horses: "Controversy and drought notwithstanding, it's a thrill to see free-roaming herds. One of the best places to observe wild horses is along U.S. 6 east of Tonopah and west of Warm Springs [the Stone Cabin HMA]."
The very first congressionally approved wild horse gather after the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was conducted in this HMA in 1975, with Velma Johnston herself in attendance. Since that time, numerous removal operations have taken place, including a history of emergency removals due to drought.
The most recent gather of the Complex was completed in February 2007.
Genetic variation and allelic diversity of the Stone Cabin and Saulsbury HMAs is high, indicating interchange of animals from neighboring HMAs, and low risk for inbreeding. Because of the mixed ancestry of these herds, the genetics data reveals no clear breed group association; however, there is genetic similarity with Oriental breeds followed by the Old World Spanish. Compared to other Nevada herds, the Stone Cabin and Saulsbury herds are most closely associated with the Nevada Wild Horse Range, with additional similarity to Callaghan and New Pass/Ravenswood HMAs.
Movement of wild horses from the Saulsbury and Stone Cabin HMAs into adjacent HMAs is common. Wild horses move back and forth to the Monitor and Little Fish Lake WHTs, the Hot Creek, and Reveille HMAs and the Nevada Wild Horse Range. As many as 16 HMAs exist in this region of Nevada with many contiguous. With few fences between the areas, wild horse movement is likely throughout all of these areas.
The Battle Mountain District Wild Horse and Burro Program:
The Battle Mountain District manages 28 Herd Management Areas that encompass about 3.6 million acres. There are approximately 4,300 wild horses and burros within the Battle Mountain District.
The BLM as a whole manages 180 Herd Management Areas that encompass approximately 32 million acres in ten western states. The BLMs goals for Wild Horse and Burro management include management of healthy herds in balance with healthy rangelands within the concept of multiple use.
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