Public lands inhabited by wild horses and burros in 1971, when the WHB Act was signed into law, are devoted primarily to WHB, right?
Nope, not according to the BLM. Only three areas in the western U.S. are managed principally for horses and one for burros.
Listen carefully to the remarks from 0:05:30 to 0:06:12 in the presentation by John Ruhs, State Director for BLM in Nevada, at this post. The areas of interest, unnamed in the video, are (1) Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range, (2) Nevada Wild Horse Range, (3) Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Area and (4) Marietta Wild Burro Range.
Note that all four are listed as HMAs. Little Bookcliffs is referred to as an Area, while the other three are called Ranges.
You have HMAs, you have Ranges, you have Areas. HMAs can be upgraded to Ranges if the Director of the BLM so designates. Only in such cases do the benefits of ‘principally but not exclusively’ apply.
Is that what Congress intended in 1971?
Stocking rates for these areas (based on upper values of AMLs):
- Pryor Mountains WH Range: 317 acres per horse (3.2 horses per thousand acres)
- Nevada WH Range: 2603 acres per horse (0.38 horses per thousand acres)
- Little Bookcliffs WH Area: 240 acres per horse (4.2 horses per thousand acres)
- Marietta WB Range: 620 acres per burro (1.6 burros per thousand acres)
The Nevada WH Range is part of Nellis Air Force Base. Principal use is weapons development and flight training, no public access.
H/T Wild Horse Education.