BLM to begin a wild horse gather at Naval Air Weapons Station – China Lake


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Ridgecrest Field Office

Media Contact:

Michelle Van Der Linden
Geldings in a corral

RIDGECREST, Calif. – At the request of the Naval Air Weapons Station – China Lake (NAWSCL), the Bureau of Land Management Ridgecrest Field Office will gather up to 250 wild horses in the Centennial Herd Management Area (HMA) located in San Bernardino and Inyo counties, roughly 10 miles north and east of Ridgecrest, beginning on Saturday, Oct. 9. The gather will take place entirely on NAWSCL, where the majority of the HMA is located; no gather activities will take place on BLM lands. 

“Under the California Desert Protection Act, the Secretary of the Navy is responsible for managing the wild horse and burro populations on the base,” said Ridgecrest Field Manager Carl Symons.  “The base coordinates the management of the animals through a Memorandum of Agreement with the base commander, Navy Region Southwest, and the BLM; it is through this agreement that NAWSCL is utilizing the BLM to remove the animals through a cost recovery agreement.”  

The emergency wild horse gather is necessary due to the lack of forage and water resulting from the prolonged drought and two August 2020 fires that burned approximately 45,000 acres within the NAWSCL; this combination of factors has distressed the wild horses. 

The animals will be gathered using a helicopter and wranglers to move the horses at a slow pace to the capture sites. All gather operations will be conducted with care and compassion for the animals’ well-being and adhere to humane handling standards as outlined in the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program.

Due to the gather operations taking place entirely within NAWSCL, there will be no public viewing opportunities; however, members of the public are invited to view the gathered horses at the Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals daily from 3 to 4 p.m., from Sunday to Sunday, Oct 10-17. 

For information about daily gather reports and additional information, please visit here. For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro from the Ridgecrest Wild Horse and Burro Corrals, telephone 800-951-8720, or email

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.