Palomino Valley Corrals, Day Ten of Government Shutdown

Monday, December 31, 2018, a cold and windy day in northern Nevada.  It’s day ten of the federal government shutdown.  Nobody to be seen at BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Center, about twenty miles north of Sparks on Highway 445.

IMG_7842

The visitor gate was shut.

IMG_7844

A temporary sign told the story.

IMG_7847

The office was idle.

IMG_7856

You’ll have to read the signs to find out what goes on there.  The display is on the south side of the facility, along Ironwood Road.  See this video.

IMG_7867

This one tells the story of wild horses and burros on public lands in the western U.S.

IMG_7865

There’s also some information on how to gitcha one.

IMG_7864

Although nobody was there to identify the horses and show you around, someone has been stopping by to feed them.

IMG_7903

These guys looked okay, despite the harsh conditions and lack of shelter.

Fence Post Replaced, Finally

Four by six treated post failed in May, 2018, probably because one of the horses put his butt to the fence to scratch it.  Installed October 2103, replaced 12/28/18.

Step 1: Gather tools and materials.  Best way to carry eighty pound sacks of cement to the job site?  Your tractor.

IMG_7791

Step 2: Dig the hole.  The fence tells you where.

IMG_7794

Step 3: Check depth of hole.  Top of post should be at top of fence, in this case about 64″ above grade.  Hole should be deep enough to place a few inches of gravel at the bottom so the post does not rest on soil.  Don’t cut the post, dig the hole deeper.

IMG_7799

Step 4: Use a level to plumb the post.  Mix the cement and place in hole.  In this photo, a wood block braces the new post against the old concrete.

IMG_7803

Step 5: If your pipe panels have loop legs, be sure to press them into the concrete before it hardens.  Make sure the depression can drain into the surrounding soil.  Top of concrete should be slightly higher than grade, so rainwater runs away from the post.

IMG_7808

Step 6: Secure the fence to the new post.  A U-shaped metal strap with two 1/4″ lag bolts should work.  You can see one near the top of the first post in this photo.  The new post is next in line.

IMG_7819

In this corral, the pipe panels are supported at every other junction.  Steel rods were pounded into the ground where not supported to keep the horses from pushing those sections out (the pinned joints act like hinges).  You can make the rods from #4 rebar or larger.  Drive them in on the outside of the leg until flush with the top of the loop.

IMG_7823

Technical note: The 4×6 posts in this corral were oriented with the broad side facing the pipe panels, to accommodate the U-shaped straps.  The posts would do a better job of resisting the horses if their narrow side was put toward the fence.  But you’d have to find another way to secure the panels to them, such as drilling holes through the vertical members and lagging them directly to the posts.  Straps have more ‘give,’ which is nice when horses lean against the fence or ground conditions change from wet to dry.  The face-to-face spacing between 6×6 posts on a 12′ gate can change 1/4″ or more between summer and winter in this area.

South Dakota Sanctuary Stuck with Conservation Easement

The highest court in the state has upheld a circuit court decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary to cancel a conservation easement granted to The Nature Conservancy.  The easement limits the use of 8,300 acres of sanctuary land, according to a report that appeared today in the Washington Times.

The sanctuary received $230,000 in exchange for the easement.

The report did not indicate who owns the 8,300 acres, what uses were prohibited, and if the ruling would be appealed.

In a related story, seventeen wild horses arrived at the sanctuary in October after being removed from the Fort Polk army base in Louisiana.