532 horses returned to Fort McDermitt Shoshone Paiute Tribe
Special to First Nation’s Focus
Go to bit.ly/2zUAyF2 for more information on the Fort McDermitt Cooperative Domestic Horse Removal.
WINNEMUCCA, Nev. — The Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest recently concluded the first of a series of operations to remove tribal members’ privately owned horses that were grazing without authorization on the Santa Rosa Ranger District.
In all, 532 horses (146 studs, 24 geldings, 238 mares, 124 foals) were returned to the Tribe.
Tribal members were able to decide whether to sell or keep their horses and constrain them from further unauthorized grazing on federally-managed public lands.
The Tribe was responsible for returning the horses to their owners, arrangement of sale, or transport off tribal lands. Forest Service personnel also recorded the ownership of horses to help with future management.
“This cooperative effort also helped the Tribe reduce the number of horses on the reservation, which will improve public safety, reduce impacts to important natural and cultural resources, and provide an opportunity for the Tribe to begin developing a long-term sustainable range program,” said Tribal Chairman Tildon Smart.
The Forest Service and Tribe will plan another cooperative domestic horse removal sometime in early 2019.
“The tribal holding facility is not large enough to handle the number of horses that need to be removed at one time,” said Santa Rosa District Ranger Joe Garrotto. “We will have to perform several gathers to remove all of the unauthorized tribally-owned horses from federally-managed public lands.”
The removal operations took place about 75 miles north of Winnemucca, Nevada, on the northern portion of the Santa Rosa Ranger District and adjacent tribal lands.
The horses belong to tribal members and are not protected under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. No wild horses from the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Owyhee Herd Management Area were gathered.
USDA Rural Development Nevada State Director Phil Cowee said he is pleased to have the Washoe Tribe as one of 47 communities included in the national program.