Mustang group hangs on to dream

Members of the High Plains Mustang Club haven't given up on their plan to build a wild horse monument west of Craig.

The group has been working on building the monument, which will feature horse statues and picnic areas, since 2001.

"Here in Northwest Colorado, part of our heritage is wild horses," club member Bernie Rose said.

The club owns property on the west side of Craig, but hasn't broken ground on the monument.

On Tuesday, members of the group asked the Moffat County commissioners to name the mustang the official animal of Moffat County.

Group member Donna Shue said horses have played a central role in developing the West.

Shue said the county's designation would help make Craig and Moffat County a destination for tourists interested in mustangs.

Commissioners didn't make a formal decision about designating the wild horse as Moffat County's animal.

Commissioner Tom Gray said he had some reservations about designating the mustang the county's official animal.

"We've got a lot of animals," Gray said. "I don't really think it's our position to set one above the other."

Shue said she wasn't disappointed by the commissioners' decision.

The group will continue to drum up support for wild horses and the monument, Shue said.

About 160 wild horses still live in Moffat County, making their home in Sandwash Basin, northwest of Maybell.

But the mustang club says with increased oil and gas development and off-highway vehicle use in Sandwash, the herd might not always be there.

"We have a concern that the horses, in the future, may be lost," Rose said.

Group members said they hope the horse monument will serve as a lasting tribute to wild horses and the role horses have played in developing Moffat County and the West.

But finding funding for the 10 statues and trail through the park hasn't been easy.

Shue said the group started trying to raise funds for the project in 2001. But when Sept. 11 happened, people weren't as interested in donating, she said.

The group doesn't have a timeline for when they hope to break ground on the project, Shue said.

The five-year process has been challenging, but Shue said the group plans to continue.

"We know it's going to take some time," Shue said. "But we're not giving up."

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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