Goal of Roundup:
The Bureau of Land Management’s Cedar City Office (BLM) is proposing to gather about 210 horses in the North Hills Wild Horse Management Plan Area (WHMPA). The WHMPA includes the North Hills HMA, which includes about 49,900 acres of BLM-administered, state and private lands in Iron and Washington counties, as well as the United States Forest Service (USFS) North Hills Wild Horse Territory, which covers approximately 24,029 acres. The Appropriate Management Level (AML) established for the North Hills WHMPA is a population range of 40-60 wild horses. The current estimated population of wild horses within the WHMPA, based on a count completed in January, is estimated at 250 wild horses. The BLM will also gather additional wild horses from the North Hills that will be released back into the area after the mares are treated with a fertility control vaccine to slow population growth.
Details of the Roundup:
Members of the public are welcome to view operations once they begin. The BLM is planning to provide public observation of gather operations daily so long as the safety of the animals, staff, and observers is not jeopardized and operations are not disrupted. Those interested in participating in an escorted tour during the North Hills gather must meet at 6:00 a.m. at the Sinclair gas station at the junction of Highways 18 and 219 east of Enterprise. Current plans call for the North Hills gather to operate December 2 through 6, although weather conditions may affect the projected schedule. Participants must provide their own transportation, water and lunches. The BLM recommends that the public dress for harsh field conditions. Binoculars are strongly recommended.
Animals removed during the North Hills area will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. To learn more about the program or to obtain an adoption application, visit the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro website at www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.
For BLM news releases and statements issued about the North Hills gather, check our Newsroom.
The North Hills HMA comprises about 49,900 acres of BLM-administered, state and private lands. The HMA is managed in cooperation with the United States Forest Service (USFS) – Dixie National Forest, Pine Valley Ranger District’s North Hills Wild Horse Territory, which consists of approximately 24,029 acres. Together, the combined area is referred to as the North Hills Wild Horse Management Plan Area (WHMPA). The WHMPA is located in Iron and Washington Counties, about 2 miles northwest from Enterprise, Utah.
The North Hills WHMPA is approximately 74,000 acres and is located within an east west trending mountain range approximately 2 miles northwest of Enterprise, Utah. The wild horses primarily use the lower elevation toe-slopes and canyons. The area is jointly managed with the adjacent USFS Wild Horse Territory. The BLM has management lead for the two areas. The soils within the area are sandy with considerable amounts of surface rock and scattered rocky outcrops within the canyons resulting in wild horses having difficulty traveling long distances and having to take circuitous routes between water and forage.
The WHMPA averages 5,500-6,000+ feet in elevation, and supports vegetation types of big sagebrush and pinyon and juniper trees. The pinyon and juniper trees dominate the WHMPA and is very dense with minimal under story forage. Open areas outside of the pinyon and juniper canopy are dominated by big sagebrush with Indian Ricegrass and needle-and-thread grass as the primary forage species. There are warm season grasses which supplement these cool season species.
The WHMPA has one reliable summer water source (Nephi Spring), which is located on the south boundary of the USFS Wild Horse Territory (on FS property). The water is a spring source with abundant water flow. The water is located in a canyon with rocky outcrops along the north side and a vegetation jumble of pinyon/juniper, big sagebrush, and riparian vegetation such as cottonwood and willow. The riparian area is heavily trampled and over grazed with non-riparian vegetation encroaching. Animal distribution to other portions of the WHMPA is hampered by topography and vegetative cover types. Scattered ponds exist throughout the WHMPA occasionally providing water to the horses. These ponds rely on large thunder storms or heavy winter run-off in order to provide water and are not reliable from month to month.
There are approximately 250 wild horses within the HMA and Wild Horse Territory. Traditionally, the lack of forage within close proximity of the Nephi Spring is causing wild horses to begin using more areas outside of the HMA and Wild Horse Territory. The lack of water and forage during the summer months, combined with the distance the must travel over rocky ground, results in rapid physical deterioration of the animals. In addition, overlapping wildlife dependence for the same habitat as the wild horses necessitates actions to preserve their physical condition.
The last removal of excess wild horses from the North Hills WHMPA was completed in July of 2007 when 88 horses were gathered and 86 were removed. Following the 2007 gather, two stallions were released back into the WHMPA. The un-gathered population was estimated at approximately 50 animals.
The current estimated population of wild horses within the WHMPA is estimated at 250 head. This number is based on an aerial survey direct count of 90% of the total population based on coverage, weather, terrain, tree cover, snow cover, and knowledge of the WHMPA/horses, which estimated the population at that time to be at 208 head of wild horses. The population inventory was conducted in January of 2010. It is estimated that in the spring of 2010 the foal crop and survival of those foals increased the estimated wild horse population within the WHMPA by 20%. When the 20% increase of the 2010 spring foal crop is added to the population inventory the current population in the WHMPA is estimated at 250 head or 500% above AML.
For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 866-468-7826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.