The Salt River wild horses are the beloved and majestic creatures roaming the lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest. They are the pride of the community, a favorite subject of photographers and the icon of the wild, free spirit of Arizona and the American West
Last year, these wild horses were brought into the limelight as our group, our volunteers and the public fought hard to prevent the roundup and removal of this historic herd.
In response to the removal notice the Forest Service posted in July of 2015, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) alerted the press and the public to the imminent annihilation of the herd by sending out over 6000 press releases. We held rallies and we filed a lawsuit, we lobbied our legislators and we negotiated with the Forest Service- it made the local news daily.
What happened next was nothing short of an unprecedented public outrage – the people of Arizona and its politicians gave these iconic wild horses their voice. Thousands of calls, letters and emails streamed into the Forest Service office, not only from the public but from the Arizona delegation as well. More than 100 news pieces can be found when you search “Salt River Wild Horse Management Group” , including pieces on CNN, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Times and our very supportive local stations NBC,3TV, ABC15, FOX10 and CBS5 and 12News.
During negotiations the Forest Service committed to a 120-day temporary delay of the roundup. We then dropped our lawsuit (without prejudice so that we could pick it up again if nesesary) and under the continued pressure, just before Christmas of 2015, the Forest Service agreed to a total rescindment of the impound notice. We are very grateful for the fact that the Forest Service heard the public outcry, and that they listened. (They did not have to.)
Then through continued work with legislators a bill was born and amended, HB2340. The bill establishes that the horses are not stray livestock, makes harrassing them illegal and requires a codifying of their humane management between authorities and a private party. After 5 months of contacting every legislator in Arizona, the bill passed the house, then the senate almost unanimously and then the house again and was signed by Governor Doug Ducey, who had said from the beginning that if the Forest Service was not going to protect the horses,that the State would step in and do it.
However they are not out of the woods yet, and we need your continued support in order to stay strong in opposition to any wrong decision that the State or the Feds can still make. We are working hard on the process to codify their humane management through MOU’s (Memorandum of Understanding) with the authorities.
It is our goal to work for the good of the Tonto National Forest, its inhabitants and its visitors every day and we will work with anyone who shares those same goals. Our volunteers pick up bags of garbage from the riverbanks, buckets of nails and many pounds of old down barbed wire daily. We work for improved public and horse safety and are fixing many miles of fencing on Bush Highway. To us, this is about keeping just a small piece of wild for future generations to come, but it is also about more than that. It is about who we are as Americans, and what we stand for – and what we don’t. We had amazing turnouts for all of our events, protests and rallies and we want you to know that YOUR voice made a difference.
We are also committed to standing up for other wild horse herds across the country, that are also being discriminated in favor of special interests on our public lands. Please see our updates page to learn more about our rally in front of the BLM office n regards to the national wild horse and burro crisis.
We are not funded by anyone but you, the public. Your tax-deductable donation helps the Salt River wild horses directly as no one in the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group gets paid; not even our president. With your donation you will help purchase fencing materials to keep horses off the roads, fund education campaigns, help us achieve humane management through dartable birth control, and pay for the rescue of suffering wild horses as well as feed the Salt River wild foals that we have rescued and are thriving at our 15 acre facility in Prescott, AZ.
Gratefully, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.
A hiker called the SRWHMG emergency number. Our field team went out and found little Pacman allone and terribly injured. We rescued him and got him to the equine hospital. A donation of any size will help Pacman! Thank you!