The closure of three HMAs in the Wyoming checkerboard, and downsizing of a fourth, represent theft of economic resources, according to an opinion piece posted today by WyoFile, a member-supported public-interest news service.
These changes, prompted by a court order, will benefit public-lands ranchers, as stated in the column.
But they’re really just a formality. Under the current management plans, the HMAs are already managed primarily for livestock.
In the revised management plans, crumbs allocated to the horses will likely be assigned to the ranchers—on land set aside for the horses.
But look at the bright side. Losses from declining tourism may be offset, at least partially, by a high-density horse feeding operation on the other side of the state.
Instead of spending the afternoon and half a tank of gas driving the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop, you can go straight to Burns and see as many as 5,000 wild horses crammed onto 80 acres.