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State Herd Area: Stone Cabin HMA, Nevada

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 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. 

 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 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.  

 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. 


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