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Crook County

Ochoco National Forest seeks comments on wild horse management plan update

Big Summit Wild Horse Territory Ochoco National Forest USFS
U.S. Forest Service

Current management plan for horses east of Prineville dates back to 1975

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Ochoco National Forest on Friday released a draft environmental assessment for the Ochoco Wild Horse Herd Management Plan project.

A 30-day public comment period began Friday and will remain open through May 18. The Forest Service invites the public to review the draft document and provide feedback to assist forest planners as they develop and refine the proposal.

The Ochoco Wild Horse Herd Management Plan is an effort to update the 1975 herd management plan for the congressionally designated Big Summit Wild Horse Herd and Territory, located about 25 miles east of Prineville, on the Lookout Mountain Ranger District of the Ochoco National Forest.

A herd management plan is an operational plan for managing wild free-roaming horses. The existing plan is more than 40 years old. The Forest Service is working to create a new plan based on current conditions, with updated management tools and protocols, and in alignment with policy and broad social expectations.

“We have been working in community for the last five years to develop strategies for improving our management of this herd and conservation of the other resources within this territory,” said Lookout Mountain District Ranger Slater Turner. “Now we’re asking for public feedback again, so we can create the best management plan possible, in partnership with the many different groups and individuals interested in this project.”

The environmental assessment analyzes three alternatives, including a "no action" option that would not change the appropriate management level (AML) of a population of 55 to 65 wild horses.

Alternative 2, the one preferred by the Forest Service, would incorporate measures to slow population growth, increase genetic variability and maintain an appropriate management level of 12 to 57 wild horses.

The third alternative, developed at the request of some members of the public, would manage the area at an appropriate management level of 150 to 200 wild horses.

The environmental assessment, which compares the environmental consequences of the three alternatives, is available on the project web page: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46228 under Project Documents – Analysis. 

Hard copies can be requested by calling one of the project leaders listed below.  Hard copies will be mailed or can be picked up by appointment only at the Ochoco National Forest office in Prineville. 

Here is how to comment: Electronic, written, and oral comments will be accepted.  We strongly encourage you to submit comments electronically.  Those wishing to provide electronic comments should use the Forest Service online comment system available at:

https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?project=46228.

Comments may be typed into the online form, or uploaded as an attachment in Microsoft Word, rich text format (rtf), or portable document format (PDF) only. 

Comments may also be submitted in writing by mail.  Written comments should be sent to Slater Turner, District Ranger, Lookout Mountain Ranger District, 3160 NE 3rd Street, Prineville, OR 97754. 

Hand-delivery/Fax: can be hand-delivered or faxed by appointment only at this time, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and Executive Order by Governor Brown. Please call Beth Peer at 541-416-6463 to make an appointment to hand-deliver your comments or request the fax number.

Anyone wishing to obtain additional information on the project or to provide comments over the phone should contact one of the project leaders:  Beth Peer (beth.peer@usda.gov, 541-416-6463) or Tory Kurtz (tory.kurtz@usda.gov, 541-416-6407).   

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Comments

5 Comments

    1. Please, Read up on your feral horse history in Oregon before commenting. There were no issues with too many feral horses until the goody goody’s started getting involved. While you are at it, read up on feral cats in Australia and see the damage they are doing there. You could also adopt a feral horse or three and take them out of the equation, Putting your money where your mouth is.

  1. That is correct. There are no true wold horses in the Ochocos These horse are decedents of horses that have gotten loose from ranches, Pioneers and the like. I do know that some of these descended from the Scotts Ranch as Boke Scott told me stories about that back when I was a kid.

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