ASNF Wild Horse Removal Now Law Enforcement Action

A closure notice appears on the ASNF alerts page for removal of unauthorized livestock under Order 03-01-22-06.

The justification statement refers to the capture of unauthorized horses in the Alpine and Springerville Ranger Districts, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.  Paragraph 2.

No EIS or EA required.  Paragraph 3.

Forest Service law enforcement officers, forest protection officers, sheriff deputies, fire wardens and fire prevention technicians will patrol the affected area.  Paragraph 5.

The closure notice prohibits the following acts:

Going into or being upon the Restricted Area

The order went into effect on March 14 and runs through April 14.

A map provided with the closure order puts the trap zone southwest of Alpine.

A public affairs officer with the Forest Service would not respond to these questions:

1. Is the action associated with the case brought by the Center for Biological Diversity?

2. If so, is the gather area in the jumping mouse habitat?

3. Are the gather area and surrounding lands subject to permitted grazing?

Western Horse Watchers believes the answers are “Yes.”

The 2019 complaint by CBD describes damage to jumping mouse habitat by horses, cattle and elk in and around the West Fork of the Black River, Boggy Creek and Centerfire Creek, all of which appear on the closure map.  Page 45.

The Restricted Area (trap zone) overlaps two grazing allotments according to the Western Watersheds map.  (Click on image to open in new tab.)

ASNF Jumping Mouse Allotments 03-24-22

The PAO said that unauthorized cattle had been removed from the area between September 2020 and September 2021 but did not comment on authorized cattle.

He did not indicate if said livestock were returned to the forest to graze on the other side of the fence, a benefit for which the horses are not eligible.

RELATED: Wild Horses Destroying Jumping Mouse Habitat?

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