The RMP: Which Alternative To Choose? An Understanding Of The Choices.

Jemez, July 30, 2012
Jemez, July 30, 2012

Today I am going to spend some time explaining the best I can what each Alternative means and what the impact of each alternative will mean.  I am no expert, so please, if you have more questions: 1.  You can ask them here and I will try to find out the answer. 2.  You can contact the BLM directly for answers. (I have Jared’s number listed at the bottom of this page.)

I am also under the understanding that you may ask for a combination of the alternatives.  I intend to do that, as there are some things from a couple of the alternatives that I like and some things that I don’t.

Here is the link to the fact sheet that the BLM put out about these alternatives.  You can click FACT SHEET to go there.  I also encourage you to spend some time reading the RMP, not just the fact sheet.  You can go there by clicking on RMP.  And to take you back to my original post on the RMP that I posted in March, click on POST.  You can also see the maps of the proposed alternatives on the fact sheet.

When you make your written comments, please be as specific as possible.  This RMP is including a lot more land and issues than just the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.   I encourage you to take some time, study and submit a comment.  The plan that goes through will be in place for the next 20 years, so this is a very important issue.  We all need to help do what is best for this herd.

This is from Lori after attending the meeting last night in Lovell: 
“In Spring 2014 there will be a “proposed RMP and Final EIS, and a comment period after that. Then in the summer of 2014 there will be a Record of Decision, Final RMP and the public will have 30 days to appeal their decision.”
AND also from Lori:
” Also, give the reasons why you would support a certain thing, and/or not support it. This helps them to understand exactly what people want and for what reasons. They did talk about that last night.”
So let’s take a look and break each Alternative down.
Hamlet
Hamlet

Alternative A: This alternative is what they are doing right now, so no changes will be made.

I think some changes can be made to better the range, so I will not be recommending this alternative.  Also to be noted, some of these specifications in A transfer to other alternative choices.  For example:  In Alternative D there are some things that are the same as in Alternative A. 

Alternative A, the No Action Alternative, continues current management of resources within the planning area under the existing plans.

  •   Manage wild horses on approximately 24,595 acres of BLM administered lands (37,494 acres all ownerships -BLM, NPS, USFS, private). Keep the administrative pastures closed as well as areas adjacent to private lands to reduce public/private conflicts.
  •   Within an HMAP, herd structure would be managed for all representation in the herd, not allowing specific colors or bloodlines to dominate from management manipulation.
  •   Appropriate management level (AML) determination would be made within the context of having the maximum amount of wild horses the range can sustain while preventing deterioration.
  •   Range improvements would be authorized through site-specific analysis. Vegetation conversion treatments would not be allowed.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Public feeding – allowed, but discouraged.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Harassment – not allowed, but harassment of wild horses not locally defined.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Seasonal road closures – motorized travel limited to designated routes. Therewould be no seasonal road closure during foaling season or for habitat protection.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Fencing – exclusion fences for study, riparian protection or rehabilitation would beallowed.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Wild horse health – no current management decision provided.
  •   Wild Horse Habitat Enhancement: Considered on a site specific basis.
  •   Public Health and Safety: Target Shooting – no current management decision provided.
  •   Public Health and Safety: Speed limits for mechanized and motorized vehicles – no current managementdecision provided.
  •   Livestock Grazing: The PMWHR would be unavailable for livestock grazing, except for trailing throughBad Pass.
  •   Special Recreation Permits: Current levels of permitted use with approximately 1,200 visitor use days inthe PMWHR would be managed per application, with no limit on commercial permits.
Sykes on the left, Burnt Timber on the right
Sykes on the left, Burnt Timber on the right

Alternative B  This plan Eliminates 6,341 acres from the existing horse range!!!  Including Krueger Pond. (Please look at maps on this to confirm).   I personally will not be recommending this Alternative.

Alternative B emphasizes conservation of physical, biological, heritage, and visual resources with constraints on resource uses.

  1.  Manage wild horses only within the boundaries of the original Secretarial Orders from 1968 (23,204 acres BLM-administered lands and 31,153 acres all ownerships). The rest of the Herd Area would be closed to wild horse use in order to maximize protection of plant species of concern, sub-alpine meadows and to protect wild horses from commercial uses. Within an HMAP, herd structure would be managed through natural selection with no promotion of any characteristics or preservation of colors or bloodlines. Appropriate management level (AML) determination would be made within the context of having a minimum amount of wild horses to improve ecological conditions, protecting other resources and individual animals. Range improvements and/or vegetation treatments would not be authorized in wild horse habitat; only natural processes would be allowed to occur. Wild Horse Protection: Public feeding – not allowed.
     Wild Horse Protection: Harassment – Interrupting their behavior or disruption of their daily activities,outside of management activities, such as moving animals to take photos or filming, feeding, or touching orattempting to do these things would not be allowed.
     Wild Horse Protection: Seasonal road closures – Motorized routes within the PMWHR would bedesignated according to the Pryor TMA. Burnt Timber Road from the East Pryor Mine (the abandoned uranium mine) to the USFS boundary and Sykes Ridge Road from the Sykes horse trap to the USFS boundary would be closed to provide protection during the primary foaling season and protecting habitat when roads are not ready for travel due to moisture content in soils (March 1-June 30). Wild Horse Protection: Fencing – No exclusion fences would be allowed within the HMA.
     Wild Horse Protection: Wild horse health – Domestic horse use would not be allowed except for special

recreation permits or livestock trailing.

  •   Wild Horse Habitat Enhancement: No vegetation treatments would be conducted in wild horse habitat, only allow natural processes to occur.
  •   Public Health and Safety: Target Shooting – not allowed (approximately 8,301 acres).
  •   Public Health and Safety: Speed limits for mechanized and motorized vehicles – Not to exceed 15 milesper hour.
  •   Livestock Grazing: The PMWHR would be unavailable for livestock grazing.
  •   Special Recreation Permits: No commercial special recreation permits (SRPs) would be authorized in thePMWHR. Non-commercial organized group events would be considered per application dependent on site specific analysis and monitoring.
  • Starman, July 2011.
    Starman, July 2011.
  • Alternative C has some things that I like and some things that I don’t like.  In this alternative, the range would be Expanded by 7,361 acres.   Please see map for specific expansion details.  That will be one of the couple of things from this Alternative that I will ask for.
    1. Alternative C emphasizes resource uses opportunities within the planning area and reduces constraints on resource uses.
      •   Manage wild horses on approximately 28,622 acres of BLM-administered lands (44,855 acres all ownerships). Designate the entire Herd Area as the Herd Management Area.
      •   Within an HMAP, herd structure would be managed for and to promote the public perception of the quintessential Pryor horse that is Dun or Grulla with striping and line back markings.
      •   Same as Alternative A – Appropriate management level (AML) determination would be made within the context of having the maximum amount of wild horses the range can sustain while preventing deterioration.
      •   Maximize the amount of acres available for vegetation treatments and/or water developments that potentially increase forage availability for wild horses that is compliant with other multiple-use decisions and restrictions.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Public feeding – allowed as long as no moving or chasing of horses.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Harassment – Same as Alternative A – not allowed, but harassment of wild horsesnot locally defined.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Seasonal road closures – motorized routes within the PMWHR would bedesignated according to the Pryor TMA. There would be no seasonal road closure during foaling season orfor habitat protection.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Fencing – Same as Alternative A – exclusion fences for study, riparian protectionor rehabilitation would be allowed.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Wild horse health – Domestic horse use would be allowed during overnightcamping (16 day limit). Recreational domestic horse use would require proof of a free-use permit to ensureanimals have health certifications to protect wild horses from disease transmission.
      •   Wild Horse Habitat Enhancement: Maximize the amount of acres for vegetation treatment and waterdevelopments that would increase forage availability for wild horses, to maximize and/or increase wildhorse numbers within other multiple uses and restrictions.
      •   Public Health and Safety: Target Shooting – allowed (approximately 32,767 acres).
      •   Public Health and Safety: Speed limits for mechanized and motorized vehicles – no speed limit.
      •   Livestock Grazing: Bad Pass Trail would be managed as a livestock grazing allotment for a trailing useonly. The remainder of the PMWHR would be closed to livestock grazing.
      •   Special Recreation Permits: An Outfitter Permit Area (OPA) would be established in the PMWHR in orderto protect wild horses, resources within the range, and minimize conflicts based on site specific analysis and monitoring. Visitor use days for both commercial and non-commercial permits would be analyzed through a site-specific analysis and monitoring and would also consider other commercial permitted uses.
    Jackson, February, 2013
    Jackson, February, 2013

    Alternative D is the Preferred Alternative by the BLM.  There are many things in this alternative that I do like, but some I don’t.   I will be combining some of this Alternative and also some things from Alternative C when I submit my comment.

    1. Alternative DAlternative D represents the BLM’s ‘Preferred Alternative’ at this stage of the planning process. The Preferred Alternative seeks to balance resource protection with resource uses/production.
      •   Manage wild horses on approximately 27,094 acres of BLM-administered lands (39,994 acres all ownerships). Designate the closed portions of the Herd Area known as the administrative pastures to be included in the Herd Management Area. Due to private property conflicts, the “buffer” area would remain closed.
      •   Same as Alternative A – Within an HMAP, herd structure would be managed for all representation in the herd, not allowing specific colors or bloodlines to dominate from management manipulation.
      •   Same as Alternative A – Appropriate management level (AML) determination would be made within the context of having the maximum amount of wild horses the range can sustain while preventing deterioration.
      •   Same as Alternative C – Maximize the amount of acres available for vegetation treatments and/or water developments that potentially increase forage availability for wild horses that is compliant with other multiple-use decisions and restrictions.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Public feeding – Only allowed for management purposes.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Harassment – Same as Alternative B – Interrupting their behavior or disruption oftheir daily activities, outside of management activities, such as moving animals to take photos or filming,feeding, or touching or attempting to do these things would not be allowed.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Seasonal road closures – Motorized routes within the PMWHR would bedesignated according to the Pryor TMA. Burnt Timber Road from the East Pryor Mine (the abandoned uranium mine) to the USFS boundary and Sykes Ridge Road from the horse trap to USFS boundary would be closed to wheeled vehicles and motorized vehicles to protect wild horse foaling and their habitat (April 15 to June 15) providing consistency with the USFS seasonal closures.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Fencing – Exclusion fences for study, range improvements, riparian protection or rehabilitation would be allowed through site-specific analysis.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Wild horse health – Domestic horse use would be limited to day use only. Recreational domestic horse use would require a free-use permit to ensure animals have health certifications to protect wild horses from disease transmission.
    •   Wild Horse Habitat Enhancement: Same as Alternative C – Maximize the amount of acres for vegetation treatment and water developments that would increase forage availability for wild horses, to maximize and/or increase wild horse numbers within other multiple uses and restrictions.
    •   Public Health and Safety: Target Shooting – Not allowed on T. 8 S., R. 28E., Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend (approximately 6,720 acres). Allowed in remainder of PMWHR.
    •   Public Health and Safety: Speed limits for mechanized and motorized vehicles – Not to exceed 15 miles per hour within T. 8 S., R. 28 E.
    •   Livestock Grazing: Same as Alternative C – Bad Pass Trail would be managed as a livestock grazing allotment for a trailing use only. The remainder of the PMWHR would be closed to livestock grazing.
    •   Special Recreation Permits: SRPs for wild horse viewing would be initially limited to existing SRPs. Additional (new) wild horse centered SRPs would be permitted only when determined not to result in congestion, wild horse displacement, or cause an adverse experience for members of the public viewing wild horses outside of an SRP experience through monitoring of existing SRPs and visitation.
    • Map
      Click on the map to view it in a larger size.
    Issaquah, April 28, 2013
    Issaquah, April 28, 2013

    Please feel free to use this post as a discussion on the Alternatives.  The more we understand, the better our comments will be in this process.  All comments have to be in by June 28, 2013.  I plan to have mine ready to send in by June 1, 2013.

  • Sandy
  • Meadowlark, August 30, 2012
    Meadowlark, August 30, 2012
  • The public may submit written comments related to the Billings and Pompeys Pillar National Monument DRMP/EIS by any of the following methods:Email: Billings_PompeysPillar_RMP@blm.govFax:    (406) 896-5281Mail: “Billings/PPNM RMP Comments,” Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101.Hand-deliver: Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT.  59101.  Please address letters to : Carolyn Sherve-Bybee, RMP Team Lead
  • All letters and emails should include the first and last name of the individual commenting and a complete mailing address.  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.
  • For further questions you can always contact:

    Program Contact: Jared Bybee, RMS/State Wild Horse & Burro Specialist (406) 896-5223 

    Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
    Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

13 thoughts on “The RMP: Which Alternative To Choose? An Understanding Of The Choices.

  1. Sandy, thank you for the tremendous amount of time and research you have put in to make us aware of the importance of decisions being made, to inform us in a way that we can make more educated decisions, and so that each of us can submit more clearly our comments that are so important to a favorable outcome for the horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.
    Lori, thank you for attending the Lovell meeting to obtain more information and to represent the opinions of those of us who only have the best interests of the wild horses at heart.

    1. Thank you Laura! It was interesting indeed!
      They also said that if you have any questions to call and they will try to explain and help each person to the best of their ability! I do believe that Sandy mentioned that as well!
      Very good post Sandy. This will help people to have a better perspective and understanding on what this is all about, and how their comments can help with the final decision. Someone may even come up with a better idea for some things that nobody has even thought of, and they will listen to those comments as well. That is what this is all about…..intelligent comments to help with the final decision.

  2. Would discussing allowing the horses back onto the Custer National Forrest land fall under the RMP or no? I know this is where the administrative pasture opening has to be addressed.

    1. No, this is not covered in this. There is still a law suit pending on that and this RMP has nothing to do with that part of the land. BUT there is still a part of the Custer Forest that horses still have access too. (please refer to maps). Under Alternative B that would be eliminated. I have added a map on this post, so you can see what I am talking about. If you need me to answer anything about those, just ask! 🙂

  3. I am personally leaning towards alternative C as I think the expansion of land will really benefit the herds Slough I do like some bits of A

    1. Thank you for your comment Maleah. Remember, in your comment you can request things from any of the alternatives. It does not have to be just one choice. But when you do that, make sure you refer to (in your comment) which alternative you are talking about.

  4. Also, give the reasons why you would support a certain thing, and/or not support it. This helps them to understand exactly what people want and for what reasons. They did talk about that last night.

  5. Is this something that only Americans could participate in or would international comments and opinions also be considered? I don’t know how many readers of your blog are international, but your blog brings these horses and issues to an international arena. I may never visit this area, but thanks to reading about their exploits and seeing your lovely photos of them I care about these horses on the other side of the world to me 🙂

    I would fully understand if they are not interested in any opinions other than those of people who actually use or visit this land. Thanks for your lovely blog anyway, I always enjoy it. As a child I used to read and re-read books about wild horses so it is really cool to see how their lives are in reality rather than fiction!

    1. Hi Knotrune! Thank you so much. There are several international followers to my blog. I believe you are welcome to make a comment in regards to the RPM plan. It is for anyone that cares about this special herd, not just those that visit and use the land. They are looking for input and ideas regarding this RMP. Thanks again!

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