Language, championed by Senator Hoeven, calls for the National Park Service to preserve North Dakota’s only wild horse herd
Washington DC (July 28, 2023) — Today, the nation’s largest wild horse organization, American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), commended the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations for advancing language in its Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to help preserve a historic herd of wild horses residing in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP).
AWHC applauds Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) for his leadership on this issue.
"We’re grateful to Senator John Hoeven for championing this language and for recognizing the importance of this historic herd to the North Dakota and national parks landscapes,” said Holly Gann Bice, director of government relations for AWHC.
This language comes after broad opposition to a March 2022 National Park Service (NPS) request for a “Livestock Plan” for the horse and longhorn herds at the RNP. Previous to the announcement of this plan, the horses and longhorns had been managed by a 45-year-old Environmental Assessment. In December, the NPS 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, igniting opposition from a wide range of stakeholders, including wild horse protection organization, Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates.
“Without question, the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park were integral to the landscape that inspired President Roosevelt and continue to represent the spirit of the Badlands, inspiring visitors from across the nation today,” continued Gann Bice. “We’re thankful to Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA), Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-ME), Interior Subcommittee Chair Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for urging the National Park Service to maintain the historic scene and recognizing the significance of horses and longhorn within the National Park.”
The NPS’s effort to eradicate horses and livestock from Theodore Roosevelt National Park has brought bipartisan opposition from both state and federal politicians, including Governor Doug Burgum, the North Dakota state legislature, and North Dakota’s federal senators.
Governor Burgum sent a letter to the NPS highlighting 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.”
This year, the state legislature passed 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.