BLM to begin Swasey Herd Management Area wild horse gather
FILLMORE, Utah — On July 15, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Fillmore Field Office will begin gather operations to remove excess wild horses from within and outside of the Swasey Herd Management Area (HMA) in Millard and Juab counties. The gather is expected to last approximately sixteen days.
The BLM will be using a two-phase approach to gather approximately 800 wild horses captured from Federal and State lands. Phase one will be completed using helicopter drive trapping, followed by bait/water trapping, if needed. Once the HMA reaches the Appropriate Management Level (AML), population growth suppression will be implemented to help stabilize the annual increase of animals being born on the HMA. The AML for this HMA is 60-100 animals and the current population is approximately 865 horses.
Horses removed from the range will be transported to Axtell Off-Range Contract Wild Horse Facility in Axtell, Utah and the Delta Wild Horse Facility in Delta, Utah. The Delta facility will be closed beginning Monday, July 13 through Monday, Aug. 1 to allow the horses arriving from the gather to settle and acclimate before being prepared for BLM’s adoption and sale program.
Opportunities are available for the public to observe daily helicopter operations through BLM-escorted tours so long as conditions remain safe for both the horses and participants and ensuring that gather operations are not disrupted. Observers must provide their own transportation, water, and food. No public restrooms will be available. The BLM recommends weather-appropriate footwear and neutral-colored clothing. Binoculars and four-wheel drive or other high-clearance vehicles are also strongly recommended. Details on the BLM-escorted tours will be updated each evening during the gather and announced daily on the BLM gather hotline at (801) 539-4050.
Gather operations will begin on Wed. July 15 and individuals should meet at Maverik located at 44 North US Highway 6, Delta, Utah where tours will depart at 5:30 a.m. MDT. Please note that COVID-19 guidelines for visiting parks and recreational facilities will be followed. These guidelines, along with the number of visitors present each day will determine the observation locations.
The following COVID-19 guidelines will apply:
- Always stay at least six feet from others. Avoid gathering with others outside of your household.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to use if soap and water are not available.
- Do not attend the gather if you are sick, recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 or are not feeling well.
Public lands will remain open unless closures are deemed necessary to protect public safety. Outdoor recreationists and visitors to the gather area should be aware that there will be low flying helicopters. During the gather, no recreational use of drones is allowed in the Swasey HMA and surrounding lands within and near Howell Peak, Drum Mountains, and Spor Mountains where wild horses may be found. Brief road closures may also be needed to allow movement of horses during gather operations.
Gather updates and information will be posted on the BLM’s website at: http://www.blm.gov/whb/utah/2020-swaseymountain. The BLM (@BLMUtah) will also post updates on Twitter from using the hashtag #SwaseyGather. To learn more about how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro website at www.blm.gov/whb or call (866) 468-7826.
For additional information, please contact Lisa Reid at (435) 743-3128. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question for Lisa. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.