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Missoula Field Office
Release Date: 06/23/14
Contacts: David Abrams , 406-533-7617 ,

BLM releases analysis of proposed wild horse ecosanctuary

MISSOULA (June 23, 2014) – The Bureau of Land Management’s Missoula Field Office is beginning a public comment period on an environmental assessment which analyzes a proposed wild horse ecosanctuary near Drummond.

The non-profit Rural Sustainability Organization (RSO) submitted an application to the BLM to establish an ecosanctuary on approximately 15,000 acres of land in western Montana secured by RSO through contracts and leases with local landowners. The RSO application lands are located in three separate units varying from two to eight miles from the town of Drummond.

The Missoula Field Office is accepting public comment on the environmental analysis for 30 days beginning June 23. The EA is available for review by visiting the field office’s website at

A public meeting to provide information about the ecosanctuary EA will be held in Philipsburg on July 1 at 6 p.m. at the Granite County Museum, located at 135 South Sansome. 

“The Missoula Field Office is excited about the prospect of working with RSO to provide a humane, high-quality life for excess horses from the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program,” said Tim La Marr, Acting Field Manager for the Missoula Field Office.

“Horses that would potentially reside at the ecosanctuary would primarily be older geldings,” he added.

The EA analyzes two action alternatives. The first alternative considers the RSO proposal to support up to 325 wild horses. The second alternative is based on public scoping, ecological conditions, wildlife issues, and wild horse welfare. A carrying capacity assessment of the lands jointly conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the BLM determined the parcels could support approximately 97 horses. Both alternatives would entail some supplemental feeding during winter. 

If the proposal is approved, the BLM would sponsor the ecosanctuary at a funding level comparable to what it pays for the care of wild horses on long-term pastures in the Midwest. The ecosanctuary would be publicly accessible and provide ecotourism and educational opportunities which would help defray costs for operating the sanctuary.

To ensure comments and information are fully considered, the BLM should ideally receive public input in writing by July 22.  Public comments are most useful when they are specific, cite additional relevant issues, or bring forth new credible information not previously considered by the BLM. After comments are analyzed and incorporated into the EA, where appropriate, the BLM will issue a final decision.

Please email your comments to Written comments may be mailed or hand delivered to Steve Bell, Missoula Field Office, 3255 Fort Missoula Road, Missoula, MT 59804. 

If you have questions, or would like to request a hard copy of the EA, please contact Steve Bell at the Missoula Field Office at (406) 329-3885. Before including your address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

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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.

Missoula Field Office   3255 Fort Missoula Road, Missoula, MT 59804  

Last updated: 06-23-2014