Wild horses can't drag area BLM away from land use issues

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will have its hands full in the upcoming month with more than just wild horses.

The BLM Northwest Resource Advisory Council will meet at 9 a.m. Sep. 29 at the Garfield County commissioners' office in Glenwood Springs.

The group will discuss land use issues that could have an impact on Northwest Colorado. Items on the agenda include expanding Brown's Park refuge, drafting new recreational guidelines for BLM land, and an analysis of the status of the Roan Plateau wilderness inventory and grazing permit renewals.

The Northwest Resource Advisory Council has 15 members who represent interests such as commodities, environment, recreation, local government and public-at-large communities to make recommendations to the BLM on land use issues.

According to Lynn Barclay, public relations specialist for the BLM, this is a good opportunity for people to voice concerns over public land issues.

"It's one way that local folks can have some say and offer input on public lands in their area," said Barclay.

The public is welcome at these meetings and participation is encouraged. The public comment period is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. There may be time limits set on addressing the council depending upon the number of people who want to comment. Written comments will also be received either at the meeting or mailed into the BLM office in Grand Junction.

The BLM will also hold a competitive bid adoption of 50 wild horses that were rounded up from the Piceance/East Douglas Herd Management Area and the adjoining North Piceance Herd Management Area. The adoption will take place Oct. 9 at the Yellow Creek Corrals, southwest of Meeker at 8 a.m.

Applications for adoption are available at any BLM office, and must be received and approved at the CaCity office by close of business Oct. 6. Applications after that date must be accompanied by a veterinary certification of facilities and will be accepted until 8 a.m. the day of the adoption.

The BLM will use a helicopter drive and trapping method. The helicopter will herd horses into traps positioned along the trails where the wild horses are accustomed to traveling. Domestic horses or "Judas" horses are used at the mouth of the trap and are released when the wild horses near the trap entrance. The domestic horses run into the trap encouraging the wild horses to follow.

"It's pretty exciting," said Valerie Dobrich, northwest center wild horse specialist for the BLM. "It's a colorful scene to watch. People who have never seen it before get a big kick out of it."

To lesson the chances of injury to the horses or the gatherers, the BLM will limit access to the trap site locations during the process. However, anyone wanting to observe the trapping operations should contact the White River Field Office.

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