Public invited to observe wild horse gathering west of Cedar City – St George News

In this file photo, wild horses kick up dust as they run at a watering hole outside Salt Lake City, July 18, 2018 | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — On Sunday, the Bureau of Land Management Cedar City Field Office will begin gathering operations to remove wild horses from inside and outside of the Blawn Wash Herd Management Area and Bible Spring Complex Area located west of Cedar City.

In this file photo, wild horses run on desert landscape of Bible Spring Complex located in Iron County, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management, St. George News

The gathering is expected to last approximately 13 days and the public is invited to observe from a safe distance, according to a press release BLM issued.

“The BLM’s priority is to conduct a safe and successful wild horse gathering operation, while ensuring humane care and treatment of the animals,” BLM Cedar City Field Manager Paul Briggs said in the news release.

“The excess wild horses are located on semi-desert landscapes where forage and water are exceedingly scarce due to prolonged drought,” Briggs added. “The gather operation combined with fertility control measures are the first step in restoring a thriving and natural ecological balance to the area and maintaining that balance into the future.”

Opportunities are available for the public to observe daily gathering operations through BLM-escorted tours, if conditions remain safe for both the horses and participants and gathering operations are not disrupted. Observers must provide their own transportation, water and food. No public restrooms will be available.

The BLM recommends weather-appropriate footwear and neutral-colored clothing. Binoculars and four-wheel drive or other high-clearance vehicles are also strongly recommended due to terrain and weather conditions. Details on the BLM-escorted tours will be announced daily on the BLM gather hotline at 801-539-4050.

Stock image of wild horses, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management, St. George News

Beginning on Sunday, daily convoys of individuals interested in observing the gathering will depart promptly at 5:30 am from the Maverik Adventure’s First Stop located at 220 N. Airport Road, Cedar City.

The BLM will gather approximately 450 excess wild horses from BLM-administered public lands using the helicopter drive-trapping method, the news release states. Population growth suppression will be implemented to help reduce the birth rate of area horses.

The appropriate management level for this herd management area is from 80 to 170 animals with a current population of approximately 831 horses, including an estimated number of foals born this year. Horses removed from the range will be transported to the contracted Axtell off-range corrals in Axtell, Utah, according to the release.

Public lands will remain open unless closures are deemed necessary to protect public safety. Outdoor recreationists and visitors near the gathering area should be aware there will be low-flying helicopters.

During the gathering, no recreational use of drones will be allowed in the Blawn Wash Herd Management Area and Bible Spring Complex and surrounding lands within and near the Wah Wah Mountains and Indian Peak Range in western Beaver County. Brief road closures may also be needed to allow movement of horses during gathering operations.

Gather updates and information will be posted on the BLM’s website at this link. The BLM (@BLMUtah) will also post updates on Twitter using the hashtag #BlawnWashBibleSpringComplexGather. To learn more about how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro website or call 866-468-7826.

For additional information or for reasonable accommodations to participate, contact Lisa Reid at 435-743-3128.

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