The four HMAs affected by the Rock Springs RMP amendment contain ‘checkerboard’ lands, areas where every other square mile alternates between public land and private or state lands.
The Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA) owns many of the private parcels inside the HMAs. Historically, RSGA had agreed to a limited number of wild horses on private land within the checkerboard areas.
However, in 2010 RSGA revoked their consent and requested that all wild horses be removed from private lands. The loss of this consent has complicated the management of wild horses on checkerboard lands, prompting the RMP amendment and actions resulting therefrom. Refer to Section 3.1 in the draft EIS.
The problem could be resolved at the state level: Require property owners to install legal fences if they don’t want horses on their land. Let the ranchers bear the cost of keeping their property private, not the taxpayers. A longer-term objective, not related to the amendment, would be to deny them access to public lands, so the fencing would serve two purposes.
If you wanted to submit a substantive comment on the draft EIS, that would be one.
RELATED: Rock Springs EIS Posted.