Vale BLM plans Cold Springs and Hog Creek wild horse gathers

VALE, OR – As part of the Bureau of Land Management’s commitment to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive, the Vale District announced plans to conduct a helicopter gather of wild horses within the Cold Springs and Hog Creek Herd Management Areas beginning in January/February 2018.

The Cold Springs HMA is located approximately 45 miles southwest of Vale, Ore., 25 miles southwest of Harper, Ore., and 45 miles southeast of Juntura, Ore., in Malheur County. The Appropriate Management Level (AML) – the number of horses the range can sustainably support in conjunction with other animals and resource uses – is 75 to 150 horses for this area. The current population is over 175.

The Hog Creek HMA is located approximately 20 miles west of Vale, Ore., and 5 miles west of the town of Harper, Ore., in Malheur County. The AML for this area is 30 to 50 horses and the current population is over 60.

Heavy to severe wild horse grazing jeopardizes the health of rangelands, wetlands, wildlife habitats, and ultimately animal health and condition. Both gathers will reduce the wild horse population to levels within AML and immediately reduce resource impacts.

Each gather will likely last less than one week, though exact start and end dates will be determined by the weather and contractor’s availability. BLM will host public viewing days during the helicopter gathers. The public is welcome to attend the gathers and must read the Field Observation Protocol information before visiting. Observation will be held daily during the gathers, with a maximum number of 15 people attending each day. If you are interested in observing the gathers, you must contact Larisa Bogardus at the BLM Lakeview District Office, (541) 947-6237 or, to have your name added to the viewing list.

Observation will be offered on a first-come first-served basis for each day of the gathers. Observers must personally check in with the BLM official at the meeting site (Vale District BLM Office –100 Oregon St. Vale, OR 97918) to be considered. Observers will be led by caravan to and from the gather site by BLM employees. Personal, high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles are REQUIRED. If you do not have adequate transportation to the observation area, you may attempt to carpool with other observers (at their discretion), but this option is not guaranteed. Access to and distance from the capture site location will be determined jointly by the contractor and the BLM’s Contracting Officer’s Representative prior to gather operations. Safety of the horses, crew and public, is our top priority.

Viewing opportunities and gather reports will be shared here: The supporting planning documents for the Cold Springs and Hog Creek gathers are available on BLM’s ePlanning website at:

Animals selected for removal from the range will be transported to Oregon’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines to be prepared for adoption. For viewing, the public may visit the Corral Facility anytime between regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’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. 

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Larisa Bogardus