We want to be “HERD”.
Some of the news pieces are confusing and make it seem like we oppose all fencing. Luckily most of you know that we have been maintaining the fencing for years and have accomplished the many MCDOT safety improvements and are now crossing wild horses safely at the 3-way stop. So obviously we do not oppose fencing along Bush Hwy. If it was not clear in the news, here is a map to make it clearer what we, as wild horse experts and managers, oppose.
- The four mile stretch of metal fencing that will run along as well as across and through the lowest part of the Salt River, from Granite Reef to Coon Bluff. This fence is not for safety…this is designed to keep the horses from naturally migrating. It will not let the horses on the Forest Service side get to the river; their only water source. It’s purpose is to separate horses from the Salt River Pima reservation from Salt River wild horses. The problem is that the Salt River wild horses are all one meta population that uses both sides of the river for their resources and survival. All of these horses (the breeding age females) have already been successfully darted with birth control PZP.
- In order for this boundary to work, tubers and kayakers will have to access a gate in and across the river. The realistic safety aspect of this has not been considered. We do not believe this is feasible and most likely will never be built. Without this gate across the river, this entire “boundary” fence is utterly pointless.
- The OTHER fence, the 10 miles on both sides of Bush Hwy is to keep the horses off of Bush Hwy for human safety…we share that goal with the Forest Service. However, without an overpass and no way to get across…the horses will lose 40% of their critical grazing and natural migration, which makes them wild horses.
Both of these projects together will decrease the area of their habitat by almost 50%. The fences will force more horses with more people and create safety issues instead of eliminate them.
We believe that none of these plans are consistent or in line with the State Law that protects them, quote “where they have historically lived”.
Here is what should happen :
- Forest Service should give up on the idea of the closing fence across and through the river. The realistic aspects should be considered; seriously, it might kill someone who gets stuck in the fence.
- Because of this, the entire boundary fence is utterly pointless and will just bottleneck all of the horses into high use people areas, creating serious safety issues. Therefore, please immediately stop the installation of the metal boundary fence and move the fence to the road instead, where it will have good use.
- The fencing on the southside of Bush Hwy should not be completed until there is an overpass. These have been used increasingly in many states including the State of Arizona. There is currently a budget surplus here in Arizona of 750 million dollars. An overpass at Coon Bluff Road/Bush Hwy will eliminate any safety hazards completely and forever. The overpass will pay for itself.
We want to be HERD. (Pun intended)
We thank you wholeheartedly for supporting us in our mission of protecting and humanely managing the Salt River wild horses. Sincerely,