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State Herd Area: Muddy Creek (UT)

The Muddy Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) is located 15 miles south of Emery, in south central Utah. It extends 5 miles north and 10 miles south of I-70 from the Dutchman Arch to Fremont Junction. Horses can be found here in a geologic feature called the San Rafael Swell.

The HMA encompasses a total of 137,110 BLM acres and has State land scattered throughout the HMA. The vegetation is dominated by pinon-juniper trees, sagebrush and shadscale shrubs, and bunchgrass communities. Wild horses and burro have occupied the San Rafael Swell since the beginning of the Old Spanish Trail in the early 1800's. Travelers would lose animals or have them run off by Indians or rustlers. Many of these animals were headed for California to be traded or sold, and were of good blood stock. The herd was also augmented through the release of domestic horses from local ranches.

By the early 1900's, wild horse numbers had soared and they were being captured and sold by local “mustangers.” This continued until the passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. Since the passage of this act, the horses and burros have ben managed under Federal law and BLM regulations. The horses’ dominant colors are bay and brown. Average size ranges from 700 to 1,000 pounds. The BLM management goal is to maintain the herd at approximately 50 head. In order to achieve this goal, gathers are performed every 2 to 5 years. The excess animals are then offered for adoption to qualified individuals.

For more information on the Muddy Creek HMA, contact the BLM’s Price Field Office, 125 South 600 West, Price, UT 84501 (435) 636-3600. Or visit:

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