(NORTH DAKOTA (Jan 31, 2023) — Today, the nation’s largest wild horse organization, American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), commended Governor Doug Burgum and North Dakota lawmakers for standing up for the historic wild horses of the Teddy Roosevelt National Park and for opposing a federal plan to eradicate them.
On Monday (Jan. 30) Governor Burgum sent a letter to Park Superintendent Angie Richman stating that removing or reducing the horse population would, “strike a blow not only to park visitation but also the economic vitality of Medora, nearby communities including Dickinson, and [the] entire state.” He further urged officials to, “find a way to manage the horses in a manner and herd size that supports genetic diversity and protects the environmental integrity and capacity of the park for current and future generations of visitors.”
Suzanne Roy, executive director of the AWHC, praised Governor Burgum for standing up for this beloved and historic herd of horses.
“Without question, these wild horses were integral to the landscape that inspired President Roosevelt and they continue to inspire visitors from across the nation today,” Roy said. “We’re thankful to Governor Burgum for his leadership on this issue and advocating for a better way that preserves these treasured wild horses and honors their historic significance within the Teddy Roosevelt National Park.”
This action follows a March 2022 National Park Service (NPS) request for a “Livestock Plan” for the horse herds at the Teddy Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). Previous to the announcement of this plan, the horses had been managed by a 45-year-old Environmental Assessment. In December, the agency released three alternatives for analysis and public comment with an emphasis on its preferred plan to remove all wild horses from the Park in a phased approach.
According to AWHC, over 13,000 people from North Dakota and around the country used its platform to submit public comments opposing this plan during the scoping period, which ended today. A copy of AWHC’s comments on the scoping notice is available upon request.
Governor Burgum's letter highlights the importance of these wild horses by stating“one only needs to look at the outpouring of passionate comments and personal stories being shared [to] understand that these wild horses are a major tourist attraction and treasured by hundreds of thousands of visitors and social media followers from near and far.”
The state legislature is currently considering a resolution that urges the NPS to preserve the wild horses and longhorn steer residing within the TRNP.
About the American Wild Horse Campaign
The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation’s leading wild horse protection organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.
About Theodore Roosevelt National Park Wild Horses?
The horses at the Park have immense historical significance based on their unique ancestry. As noted in The History and Status of the Wild Horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the horses in the Park are descendants of two closely related bloodlines representing an original Badlands horse, with historical lineages that trace all the way back to the horses surrendered by Sitting Bull in the late 1800s.
Photo by Zach Hochhalter