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Release Date: 07/13/12
Contacts: Christopher B. Joyner, Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 210-2126    

BLM to begin emergency gather of up to 50 horses in West Douglas

MEEKER, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management is scheduled to begin an emergency gather of about 50 horses on Sunday in the West Douglas Herd Area south of Rangely.

In June, BLM staff members identified a herd of approximately 50 horses on the southeastern side of Texas Mountain in the West Douglas Herd Area that were running low on available water and forage due to this year’s extreme drought. The BLM began short-term emergency actions to deliver water to the horses to maintain their physical condition until a long-term solution could be identified.

The BLM determined that removal of the affected horses through the use of water trapping is the best solution in this particular circumstance. Water trapping is a gathering technique where over a period of days panels are added to an area surrounding an artificial water source.  As the horses become acclimated to the panels, the trapper reduces entry to a single point that has a gate.  The gate is closed once animals enter the area of the water source.  The animals are then transported to a temporary holding facility. 

“The BLM considers wild horses an important resource and we are doing everything we can for the welfare of these horses,” said BLM Wild Horse Specialist Jerome Fox. 

The gather will last for 30 days or until 50 horses are gathered, whichever comes first.  

Gathered horses will be taken to Yellow Creek Corrals, a temporary holding facility east of Rangely. Later, the horses will be taken to BLM’s wild horse facility in Canon City. The majority will be available for adoption. The wild horses not adopted will be placed in long-term pastures.

BLM is closely monitoring the wild horse herds it manages in Colorado and began supplementing natural water sources in three of the four wild horse herd management areas in the state, including the Piceance-East Douglas southwest of Meeker, the Sand Wash near Maybell, and the Spring Creek outside of Dolores. These are areas BLM manages specifically to maintain healthy wild horse herds in balance with other uses of the land. BLM is also closely monitoring the water situation in the Little Books Cliffs Herd Management Area outside of DeBeque, which currently is not requiring supplemental water.

More information is available at, or by contacting the White River Field Office, (970) 878-3800.

Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, BLM manages, protects and controls wild horses and burros as part of its overall multiple-use mission.

BLM encourages those who are interested in providing good homes to wild horses or burros to visit for information about adoptions or sales.

BLM manages four herd management areas in western Colorado for healthy wild horse herds that are in balance with other resources and uses of the land. For more information about these herds and how to visit them, log on to

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 07-13-2012