Inyo National Forest, BLM seek input on proposed wild horse gather


Bureau of Land Management

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Bishop Field Office

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Horses running across the high desert with mountains in the background.

BISHOP, Calif. – Inyo National Forest, in coordination with the Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office, is seeking public input on proposed gathers of wild horses outside the Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Territory in Mono County, California. The proposed gathers would maintain sustainable wild horse herd management levels, protect resources on public and private lands, protect proposed critical habitat for the bi-state distinct population segment of greater sage-grouse, and address public safety concerns for motorists.

The Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Territory (Territory) is managed for a wild horse population of between 138 to 230 animals under the 2019 Inyo National Forest Land Management Plan. A 2020 aerial survey of the Territory and surrounding areas counted 654 horses, with most of the horses located outside of the Territory. This is at least triple the appropriate management level, a situation that is unsafe for horses and damaging to public resources and wildlife habitat.  

The wild horses are now residing 20 miles west of the Territory on the shores of Mono Lake and are a safety concern for motorists traveling on Highway 6 and Highway 120 east. 

“The BLM is motivated to work with the Inyo National Forest to improve wildlife habitat, increase public safety along roadways, and protect horses and people by reducing the risk of horse collisions with vehicles,” said BLM Bishop Field Manager Sherri Lisius.  

“As the lead agency, the Inyo National Forest is happy to partner with BLM in managing the Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Territory herd,” said Inyo National Forest Mono Lake District Ranger Stephanie Heller. “The current size and locations of the herd are causing significant resource damage and safety issues.” 

The Inyo National Forest is the lead agency responsible for managing the Territory, in coordination with the BLM Bishop Field Office, BLM Carson City District, and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The BLM is the lead agency for preparing the environmental assessment for the gather plan and the Inyo National Forest would be the lead agency for an initial gather.  

More information about the project can be found online at the BLM National NEPA Register, where comments can be submitted. The 30-day public scoping period is open until Dec. 7.  

Comments may also be submitted via mail to: 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop, CA 93514, or via email: Written comments must be postmarked on or before Dec. 7.

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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.