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Full text of "A management plan for the Nevada Wild Horse Range"




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A Management Plan for the \<\u 
Nevada Wild Horse Range 




Prepared by the 
Nevada State Office 
Bureau of Land Management 
U. S. Department of the Interior Og. & &. 

March 1966 \$ '& 1 *. 



**</ 









MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE NEVADA WILD HORSE RANGE 
Contents Page 

1. Summary and Recommendations 1 

2. Introduction 5 

3. Authority 10 

4. Objectives 13 

5. Past History and Management of Areas 15 

6. Present Uses 17 

7. Description of the Horses 19 

8. Range and Vegetation Data 21 

9. Grazing System and Stocking Rate 23 

10. Present Range Improvements 27 

11. Proposed Range Development 28 

12. Priority of Range Improvement Work 29 

13. Movement of Horses and Control of Population .... 30 

14. Wildlife Benefits. . 32 

15. Public Use and Interpretation 33 

16. Resource Management Evaluation 38 

17. Staffing.. 41 

18. Information and Publicity 42 

19. Impact on State and Local Economies 44 

20. Time Schedule for Implementation of the Plan .... 45 

21. Cost Data. 48 



Appendix 

1. Sketches of Control Triggers 
2o Documents and Agreements 
3. Maps 



SUMMARY A ND RECOMMENDATIONS 

The Nevada Wild Horse Range has some of the greatest 
potential of any area under the administration of the Bureau 
of Land Management for public use and enjoyment; conservation 
and historical interpretation and education; and resource 
management training and research. 

It is a unique area, established for a unique purpose. 
It can and should provide a link with the past. It can 
give the American public and foreign visitors an opportun- 
ity to see the famous "wild horses" -- the Mustangs -- of 
North America in their native habitat running free and 
wild as they did in frontier days. 

At the same Lime it can be a "showcase" for the proper 
development, conservation, and management of the Nation's 
public land resources. 

The Wild Horse Range can provide excellent opportunities 
for research and evaluation of resource management practices. 
It can become an area for training resource managers in 
range conservation, grazing administration, wildlife habitat 
management, watershed protection, animal husbandry, public 
use and interpretation, and other activities. 



The Nevada Wild Horse Range is presently located 
near a main tourist route, U. S. Highway 6, and a large 
number of visitors can be assured. 

The Secretary of the Interior promised the American 
public that "we will make the effort (to preserve a 
typical herd of feral horses by establishing a Wild 
Horse Range) to assure those of us who admire the wild 
horse that there will always be some of these animals." 
Therefore, this plan recommends" 

1 Development of the Nevada Wild Horse Range to 
its full renewable natural resource production 
potential , . . both animal and vegetative . . 
in harmony with military operations, and to 
manage it thereafter for public benefit and 
service and sustained yield of renewable 
n a tur a 1 resources ; 
2, Deletion of the northeast corner of the Wild 
Horse Range containing about 78,620 acres 
from the Nellis Air Force Base Bombing and 
Gunnery Range and development of that area 
for public use; 



3. Closing of the exterior boundaries of the Wild 
Horse Range by fencing to eliminate trespass 
livestock and control the drift of feral horses 
into and out of the range; 

4„ Establishment of a three-pasture, three- treatment , 
rest-rotation grazing system within the Range to 
assure a sustained yield of forage and water for 
feral horses and native wildlife; 

5. Installation of traps at specific sources of 
water within the Wild Horse Range employing a 
harmless triggering device which would provide 
a simple and economical method of gathering 
wild horses in order to keep the herds in balance 
with the carrying capacity of the range; 

60 Const ruction of roads and a headquarters complex 
within the area deleted from the military with- 
drawal and establishment of a comprehensive public 
use and interpretation program under the direction 
of a resident Range Manager; 

7* Establishment of a resource management research, 
evaluation, and training program on the Range; and 



8. Implementation of an information program to 
acquaint the public, schools, governmental 
agencies, etc, with the opportunities available 
at the Wild Horse Range. 



INTRODUCTION 



"WE WILL MAKE THE EFFORT" 



THE HORSES, wild and free, made the plains, 
deserts, and mountains their home. They 
swept in a living tide over all of the vast 
country from the Mississippi to the Pacific 
from Mexico to the Arctic Circle. 

The Indians caught them, half tamed them, 
rode them with crooked legs clasped about 
their barrels, hard hands hauling at their 
jaws . 

Later came the white men, hunting them for 
mounts, then for money, then as pests who 
got in the way of progress. 

Now they are nearly all gone, the wild and 
free, and much of the land lies empty, 
lifeless and abandoned.'"' 



To author and educator J. Frank Dobie the mustang . „ 
halted in animated expectancy or running in abandoned free^ 
dom . . . "was the most beautiful, the most spirited and 
the most inspiriting creature ever to print: foot on the 
grasses -of America." 



"Adapted from an introduction to THE MUSTANGS by J. Frank 
Dobie, Bantam Edition, New York, 1954, 



Sentiments like those expressed above vividly illus- 
trate the emotional attachment of the American people to 
the concept of wild horses, To many, wild horses are the 
essence of freedom -- thoroughly integrated historically 
into our culture . 

Hardy, freedom loving fur trappers, buffalo hunters, 
Indian scouts, pony express riders, cowboys, and settlers 
won the West, but they could never have done it without 
the horses. Those tough, wiry little mustangs that were 
free for the taking wherever there was open range, grass 
and water,, 

Movies, television and countless books and magazine 
articles have firmly impressed the image of that era on 
the minds of millions of Americans. And to many of those 
people just the knowledge that the mustang still exists 
somewhere in the West gives them a warm, comfortable 
feeling. A feeling that not all of America , , . as it 
was . . . is lost; a feeling that they still have a link 
with the romantic and colorful past. 

The Nevada Wild Horse Range can and should become 
that link, At present, it is not because few know of its 
existence. 



# 



It was established in 1962 by the Department of the 
Interior in cooperation with the Department of Defense in 
answer to pleas from across the Nation by thousands of 
wild horse admirers. But because the area is within a 
military withdrawal used extensively by the U . S. Air 
Force, and because of manpower and financial limitations 
and overriding program priorities nothing has been done 
to develop and manage the area. 

This is an unfortunate situation because the Nevada 
Wild Horse Range has some of the greatest potential of any 
public land area under the administration of the Bureau 
of Land Management for public use and enjoyment, conser- 
vation and historical interpretation and education, and 
resource management training and research. 

It is a beautiful piece of country within easy reach 
of U, S. Highway 6, a main tourist route across Nevada to 
the recreational attractions of southern Nevada and central 
and southern California. 

The 394,000-acre range lies in the northeast corner 
of the Nellis Air Force Base Bombing and Qunnery range 
in Nye County. Parts of it are used intensively by the 



# 



Air Force for air to ground bombing and gunnery training 
and other parts of it are just buffer zones between the 
open public lands and areas of military activity and are 
not used at all. Military operations are limited to the 
interior of basins and dry lake, beds and they have had 
no apparent adverse effect on the wild horses. 

The range contains areas of spectacular scenic beauty. 
Parts of it have been free from intensive grazing by 
domestic livestock for over a quarter of a century and 
they support excellent stands of native perennial grasses. 
However, because of limited water development portions of 
the range are severely overgrazed by the wild horses. 
Also, there is a chronic livestock trespass problem in 
one area which is causing heavy damage to vegetation resources 

Between two and three hundred wild horses -- considered 
mixtures of Spanish mustangs, Indian ponies, and domestic 
horses that have strayed from surrounding ranches -- are 
on that range . 

The few people who have been fortunate enough to 
visit the Nevada Wild Horse Range have gotten an idea and 



8 



feel of the West as it was in years past as they watched 
mustang stallions driving their bands of mares across 
those wide grassy basins. 

Geography protects most of the wild horse range 
from the severities of nature. This makes it easy for 
the animals and it also means that parts of the range 
could be developed for year-round public use. 

At the time the Nevada Wild Horse Range was established 
Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall said . . . "Pre- 
serving a typical herd of feral horses . . . may prove 
difficult, but WE WILL MAKE THE EFFORT to assure those 
of us who admire the wild horse that there will always be 
some of these animals o" 

The purpose of this document is to offer a development 
and management plan for the iNfevada Wild Horse Range to 
carry out the Secretary's wishes and, therefore, benefit 
wild horse admirers throughout the world. At the same 
time we believe it will bring many benefits to various 
resource management professions and it will lead to establish- 
me.nt of some excellent training opportunities for BLM 
r e s our c e ma na g e r s 



AUTHORITY 

The Wild Horse Range was established by a memorandum 
of understanding between the Air Force, Bureau of Sport 
Fisheries and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management and 
Department of the Interior signed by Elmer Bennett 1/20/61 
and Dudley Sharp 12/8/60 . A Cooperative Management Plan 
was developed and signed by the Commander, Nellis Air Force 
Base and the State Director, Bureau of Land Management in 
June 1962. This document was revised and the boundaries 
modified by a similar document signed by State Director, 
BLM, and Commander, NAF.B, on June 2, 1964 and June 18, 1965, 
respectively. 

The remainder of the entire Management Plan is based 
upon the premise that an additional modification of the 
present boundary can be obtained and that the present 
military withdrawal on approximately 78,620 acres be revoked 
or other arrangements made to allow public access to this 
area, 

The proposed modifications are as follows" 
Delete from Wild Horse Ran%e. 
Township 6 South, Range 50 East, East 1/2 
Township 7 South, Range 50 East, NE 1/4 

- 10 - 



Township 7 South, Range 50 East, NW 1/4 

This area is very rough and mountainous, and it is generally 
separated from the remainder of the horse range by rimrock 
and natural barrier. 

Addition to Wild Horse Range . 
Township 2 South, Range 49 E?st, East 1/2 
Township 3 South, Range 49 East, East 1/2 

This area is needed to balance out the available forage on 
the west side of the Kawich Mountain range so that a year- 
long management plan can be developed. 

Revoca tion of Milit ary Withdrawal . 

Township 2 South, Range 51 East, All 

Township 3 South, Range 51 East, All 

Township 3 South, Range 51-1/2 East, All 

Township 3 South, Range 52 East, All 

This area comprises the northeast corner of the present 

Wild Horse Range and is adjacent to the military withdrawal 

boundary o It appears that the area is used primarily as a 

buffer zone for military operations . No indication of active 

military use of this area was observed. 



11 



The area is the most accessible portion of the 
Wild Horse Range and if public access was authorized, 
it would fulfill the requirement for an area to observe 
and study the wild horses. 



- 12 



OBJECTIVES 

In general, the objectives of this plan are to develop 
the Nevada Wild Horse Range to its full renewable resource 
production potential , . . both animal and vegetative . . . 
in harmony where necessary with military operations, and 
to manage it thereafter for public benefit and service and 
sustained yield of renewable natural resources. 

In particular, the plan meets these objectives by: 
(1) offering a means of attaining a permanent supply of 
forage and water for a reasonable number of feral horses 
and wildlife; (2) offering a means of improving the water 
and vegetative resources of the range through better plant 
composition, increased plant density, improved plant vigor, 
increased soil fertility, minimizing soil erosion, and 
improved watersheds; (3) offering a system of development 
for public use including opportunities for observation of 
feral horses, wildlife and other aesthetic qualities . . „ 
conservation and historical interpretation and education . 
and research and study; (4) offering a program of public 
information to acquaint wild horse admirers and researchers 
with the knowledge gained from operation and management 



13 



of the range and the opportunities available to them at the 
range „ . . to keep various resource management professions 
apprised of management and research findings . . . and to 
keep the general public informed of management goals and 
activities; and (5) offering a means for establishment of 
a training program and facility for resource managers 
concerned with range conservation, development, and manage- 
ment . . . grazing administration . . . wildlife habitat 
management . . . watershed protection . „ . animal husbandry 
and other activities . 



14 



PAST HISTORY AND MANAGEMENT OF AREA 

The general area of the Nevada Wild Horse Range 
has a long history of grazing and mining use similar 
to all of central Nevada. Wild horses have been in the 
area since the first Americans came on the scene, 
Domestic livestock grazing began in the late 1800' s and 
continued in an uncontrolled manner until the area was 
withdrawn for military purposes in 1940 „ The area shows 
evidence of mining activity and the old mining camp of 
Gold Reed is situated near the center of the range „ 

Grazing by domestic livestock has continued on. 
portions of the range since the military withdrawal, 
although, such use is not authorized „ Since access to 
the area has been limited, most of the natural and developed 
livestock waters have deteriorated . 

Water is extremely limited on the west side of the 
Kawich Mountains and use by trespass domestic livestock 
is generally confined to the winter months when snow is 
available. 



15 



Several large earthen reservoirs have been developed 
and natural springs improved in the Kawich Valley which 
provide yearlong water. Consequently, this area has re= 
ceived and is continuing to receive heavy grazing use by 
trespass cattle. 

Competition for forage and water between wild horses 
and trespass cattle is so severe in some areas that the 
wildlife population is very small. 



16 



PRESENT USES 

Most of the military use of the Wild Horse Range 
appears to be confined to the west side of the Kawich 
Mountains, although, there has been some air-to-ground 
gunnery use near the old Gold Reed mine site and the dry 
lake bed in Kawich Valley. 

Wild horses use the entire area to some extent 
and the Kawich Mountains show severe grazing use by 
horses, especially in the northwestern portion of the 
range near the available waters. 

There is limited use of the area by deer, antelope 
and desert bighorn sheep. The limited big game population 
appears to be the result of severe competition between 
wild horses and trespass cattle for water and forage. 
Under proper management, the population of these big game 
species can be expected to increase along with some species 
of upland game birds. 

Grazing use by trespass cattle in the Kawich and 
Reveille Valleys is severe. Cattle drift into Reveille 
Valley and the north end of the Kawich Valley from an 



17 



adjacent ranching operation. It appears that a major cattle 
operation has continued to make yearlong use of the central 
and southern portion of the Kawich Valley, This is a major 
operation and involves several hundred cattle. 

It is absolutely necessary that the exterior boundaries 
of the wild horse range be fenced where open before any 
type of management can be effective. Trespass use by domestic 
livestock must be terminated. 



18 



I 



DESCRIPTION OF HORSES 

On-the-ground estimates indicate that between two 
and three hundred head of feral horses occupy the Wild 
Horse Range. At some points there is undoubtedly some 
migration of feral horses into and out of the range. 
However, it is believed that the majority of the animals 
occupy the range year-round. 

The name mustang is of Spanish origin. It is 
believed to have derived from mestenas which in early 
Mexico meant wild, estrayed livestock. There are no 
original mustangs in the sense of a horse with distinctive 
blood lines and characteristics which identified them as 
a breed. The mustang was a melting pot of blood lines, 
but heavily favored with Arabian-Barb — the dominant blood 
lines of the Spanish horses introduced into western North 
America. 

Field observations indicated that different types of 
feral horses occupy the wild horse range. Some of the 
horses are small and short coupled in conformation and 
appear to be closely related to the original mustangs. 



*A mustang registry has been started in recent years to 
freeze the mustang blood lines as they now exist. 

- 19 - 



Others are much larger and heavier and probably descended 
from strays off surrounding ranches. It is difficult to 
estimate, but there has probably been some "downbreeding" 
in the area resulted from undesirable crosses and inbreeding 

Implementation of this plan will upgrade the horses 
by providing better forage and water on a year-round basis 
and selective thinning of the horse, herds to keep them in 
balance with the carrying capacity of the range and improve 
breeding practices. 



20 



fe 



RANGE AND VEGETATION DATA 

Elevations in the Wild Horse Range vary from approxi- 
mately 5,000 feet at the Kawich and Gold Flat Valley floors 
to nearly 9,000 feet at the crest of the Kawich and Belted 
Mountains . 

Average annual precipitation varies from 5 inches 
at valley floors to 20 inches on the mountain peaks. 

The vegetative composition varies from a good stand 
of grass and desert shrubs in the valley bottoms to a 
relatively dense stand of Pinion- Juniper on the mountain 
tops. The major forage producing species are perennial 
grasses and shrubs. Relatively few annual grasses and 
forbs were noted and the only poisonous plants observed 
were halogeton and loco weed in scattered patches . The 
major forage producing plants are listed below: 

GRASSES 

Galetta Hilaria jamesii 

Indian ricegrass Oryzopsis hymenoides 

King desert grass Blepharidachne kingii 

Needle-and-thread Stipa comata 

Sand dropseed Sporobolus cryptandrus 

- 21 - 



GRASSES (contd.) 

Spike dropseed Sporobolus contractus 

Squirreltail Sitanion hystrix 

Sandberg bluegrass Poa secunda 

Nevada bluegrass Poa nevadensis 



SHRUBS 



Shadscale 



Budsage 

White sage 

Nevada joint fir 

Littleleaf horsebrush 

Spiny hopsage 

Big sagebrush 

Piny on 

Utah juniper 

Western snowberry 



Atriplex confertifolia 
Artemisia spinesuns 
Eurotia lanata 
Ephedra nevadensis 
Tetradymia glabrata 
Grayia spinosa 
Artemisia tridentata 
Pinus edulis 
Juniperus osteosperma 
Symphocicarpos Occident a lis 



22 



$ 



' 



# 



GRAZING SYSTEM AND STOCKING RATE 

The total area of the Wild Horse Range is approxi- 
mately 394,000 acres. In order to develop and place 
into effect a practical range management plan, it will 
be necessary to divide the range into three separate 
management units. By taking advantage of approximately 
50 miles of natural barrier, 358,000 acres can be en- 
closed and managed with a minimum of exterior boundary 
fencing. The area outside of this enclosure is extremely 
rough and mountainous and does not lend itself to inclusion 
within the management units. 

The general topography divides the range into two 
natural management units. These are the Kawich and Gold 
Flat Valleys. Since public access is a desirable and 
necessary part of this plan, the Kawich Valley area has 
been divided into two grazing management units. One of 
these units will encompass the portion that is open to 
the public. In this manner, it will be possible to assure 
a population of wild horses available for the public to 
view, study and enjoy. 



- 23 



The grazing management system to be used on each 
management area is a three-pasture, three-treatment, rest- 
rotation system. The treatments will be as follows : 

Treatment A - Spring-Summer use, April to 
Sept. 31. 

Treatment B - Fall-Winter use, Oct. 1 to 
March 31. 

Treatment C - Complete rest. 

The sequence of use will be according to the following 

table: 





1 


Pasture 
2 


# 

3 






A 


B 


C — 


1st year 


Treatments 


B 


C 


A ~ 


2nd year 




C 


A 


B — 


3rd year 



By following this system, each pasture will receive 
all three treatments during any three-year period and 
two- thirds of the management area will be used each year. 
This will allow for two years rest during the spring- summer 
growing season. The fall and winter use will help provide 
a seedbed for germinating seedlings during the following 
year. 



24 



* 



The year with complete rest will allow for seedling 
establishment and litter accumulation . Under this system 
all areas of each pasture, including areas around water 
developments, will receive the same treatment, and range 
and watershed conditions should rapidly improve. 

Basic data on each management unit is as follows: 
MUSTANG MANAGEMENT UNIT 

Reveille Valley Pasture — — — — — — — — — — 23,000 acres 

Cedar Well Pasture-- — --==■ — -° —=- >- = ----_« = 25 ,000 acres 

Belted Mountain Pasture— — — — — = — — = --27,000 acres 

Total area— — ———— ——— — — ———75,000 acres 

Grazing Capacity = 250 Horses- yearlong 
KAWICH VALLEY MANAGEMENT UNIT 

Gold Reed Pasture-------- — 50 ,000 acres 

Cliff Spring Pasture- — — — = ---°--- ===50, 500 acres 
Shirley Spring Pasture— —— — — — ——»=> — -51,500 acres 

Total area— —— — ---- — = 152,000 acres 

Grazing Capacity = 500 Horses - yearlong 



25 



GOLD FLAT MANAGEMENT UNIT 

Silver Bow Pasture-- — -- — --- — -- — - ---- 43,000 acres 

Cedar Pass Pasture— —-—" ot = = ^ 46,400 acres 

Quartzite Mountain Pasture ----- = » = ==--=. = -. 42,000 acres 

Total area -——--.—--—-*— ------ 131,400 acres 

Grazing Capacity = 450 Horses - yearlong 

The above grazing capacity 1,200 horses yearlong is 
based upon present forage conditions and the development of 
water and construction of fences to control utilization as 
proposed. The grazing capacity should increase after the 
complete plan is in operation. 



26 



♦ * 



' 



• 



PRESENT RANGE IMPROVEMENTS 

The only range improvements existing on the area 
are spring developments and earthen reservoirs „ There 
are no fences at the present time. The springs are in 
poor to fair condition and can be further developed to 
supply additional water. Some of the existing reservoirs 
should be improved. 



27 



PROPOSED RANGE DEVELOPMENT 

Improvement of present water sources and the develop- 
ment of additional water accompanied by the construction of 
boundary and pasture fences is absolutely necessary in order 
to obtain any management and preserve the natural resources. 

The plan is based upon the construction of the following 
range improvements and management facilities. 

Improvements Units 

Exterior Boundary Fences 75 miles 

Interior Pasture and Water Control Fences 85 miles 
Cattle Guards 18 each 

Spring Developments 6 each 

Wells 9 each 

Earthen Reservoir 1 each 

Water Storage Tanks (25,000 gallon) 13 each 

Water Troughs (500 gallon) 41 each 

Pipeline 83 miles 



28 



( 



PRIORITY OF RANGE IMPROVEMENT WORK 

The first consideration for management of the area 
after the proposed adjustments in boundary and status are 
completed would be the construction of boundary fences „ 
Use by trespass domestic livestock cannot be effectively 
controlled unless the area is fenced. 

Improvement of existing waters and development of 
new water sources should coincide with the boundary fences 
to partially counteract the present severe use adjacent to 
existing waters. After the key water developments are 
completed the interior pasture and water control fences 
would be constructed and the complete rest>rotation grazing 
system placed into effect. 



29 



MOVEMENT OF HORSES AND CONTROL OF P OPULATION 

A rest-rotation grazing system as proposed in this 
plan requires the movement of the horses from one pasture 
to another at six month intervals. This movement is based 
upon complete control of every water source within each 
pasture. It is recognized that it is not possible to 
round-up the pasture and make a rapid movement within a 
day or two as would be done with domestic livestock, 
however, with complete water control, the job can be 
accomplished with a minimum of effort during a relatively 
short period. 

The use of livestock "triggers" to move and control 
both domestic livestock and feral cattle and burros has 
been effectively used in the southwest and Mexico for many 
years. Water control is the key to the use of triggers. 
It is an effective and humane method of moving animals and 
can be used to trap or capture the animals if this is 
desired. It has seldom been used to capture wild horses 
because the key factor is complete control of all water 
sources and that is not generally possible or practical in 
wild land areas. A simple sketch of these control triggers 
is included in the appendix. 

- 30 - 



• 



The present population of wild horses within the 
Wild Horse Range is estimated between two and three hundred 
head. If trespass domestic livestock were removed from 
the area and the proposed management plans completed, the 
present population could expand for several years before 
the numbers would exceed the grazing capacity. 

It can be expected that some of the horses now using 
the area are branded animals and ownership claims will be 
initiated. These claims will involve legal implications 
and problems which will not be discussed in this plan. 

Under Nevada State Law, the ownership of e strays 
and wild or unbranded horses rests with the State Board 
of Stock Commissioners. A memorandum of understanding or 
other necessary provisions must be developed between the 
Bureau of Land Management and the State Board of Stock 
Commissioners and other State and County officials as 
required to provide for a legal and desirable method of 
disposition of surplus animals when this becomes necessary, 



31 



1 



WILDLIFE BENEFITS 

The area has a small population of deer, antelope 
and desert bighorn sheep. The small populations appear 
to be the result of severe competition for water and 
forage. The wildlife situation should improve immediately 
upon implementation of the grazing management plan. 

A rest-rotation grazing system as planned will leave 
one-third of the total area available for wildlife each 
year without competition. An additional one-third of the 
area will be available for six months each year without 
competition , 

All water developments would be available for wildlife 
use even during the periods they may be closed to horses. 
Provisions for this use can be made during the construction 
period with very little additional costo 



- 32 



PUBLIC USE AND INTERPRETATION 

The northeast corner of the Wild Horse Range has 
been designated the "Mustangs Management Unit", and it 
is proposed that this 78,000-acre section be developed 
for public use and interpretation. To do this it would 
have to be deleted from the bombing range or arrangements 
would have to be made with the Department of Defense to 
allow public access into and use of the area. 

From all appearances the Mustang Management Unit 
does not receive intensive use by the military. However, 
it is by far the most scenic portion of the Wild Horse 
Range and it contains some of the existing waters. As a 
result many of the wild horses now congregate in that area 
The Mustang Management Unit is also the most accessible 
portion of the range „ It is in close proximity to U. S. 
Highway 6 and State Highway 25, both of which are paved 

A Wild Horse Range headquarters complex including 
living quarters for a Range Manager, garage and storage 
facilities, bunkhouse, parking lot, and interpretive center 
would be located in the Mustang Management Unit. Also, aboui 



33 



50 miles of roads would be improved or constructed complete 
with turnouts and overlooks so that the public could tour 
the area and view the horses. 

Interpretive programs provide a unique type of 
educational experience. They have not been employed to 
any extent in BLM, but they have a long record of success 
in the National Parks and increasingly they are being 
implemented in the National Forests with equal success. 

The purpose of an interpretive program is to lead 
the visitors down paths of greater understanding; to open 
up to them the deeper meaning of a significant area, 
activity, or program. It does this by means of exhibits, 
signs and labels, guided tours, and other devices. 

The Wild Horse Range interpretive center would be 
constructed along the lines of those presently used by 
the Forest Service and National Park Service . It would 
contain a series of three-dimensional exhibits depicting 
the history and habits of the mustang, map displays of 
the Wild Horse Range, a lecture and projection room, and 
visitor counter where maps, brochures and other literature 
could be obtained, 

- 34 - 



The proposed road development would provide a 
series of self-guided tours of the Mustang Management 
Unit, Turnouts and overlooks would be strategically 
located to provide the best opportunities for obser- 
vations of wild horses o Signs would be placed at the 
overlooks explaining the management program of the 
Range and the history and habits of the horses . 

A State Highway Department traffic counter located 
at Warm Springs on U. S. Highway 6 just north of the 
Wild Horse. Range indicated an average traffic flow of 
170 vehicles per day during 1964 . And the Highway Depart' 
ment estimates that 74 percent of the traffic is tourist, 
which would amount to 126 vehicles per day 

Using a figure of two and one-half people per car 
(average automobile occupancy for normal highway traffic 
in Nevada), at least 315 tourists per day or 115,000 
tourists per year are now driving past the Nevada Wild 
Horse Range and none of them can visit it„ 

There is no definite way of determining how much 
of the tourist flow on U. S, Highway 6 would turn into 
the Nevada Wild Horse Range if the Range was fully 

- 35 - 



' 



developed and open to the publico But for purposes of 
speculation let's say that 70 percent would turn in for 
a visit. That would amount to 80,500 visitors per year* 

State recreation planners tell us that if the Range 
was opened up and developed according to this plan we 
could expect at least a 30 percent increase in tourist 
traffic on U. S. Highway 6 . That would amount to 38 
more cars per day -° all of them headed for the Range. 

If the two and a half people per car average was 
applied again that would equal 95 more visitors per day 
or about 35,000 more visitors per year, making the 
potential total 115,500 visitors per year. 

However, State recreation planners use a figure of 
four and one-half people per car when making estimates 
of recreational visitor days to proposed public recreation 
sites. If that figure was applied to the 30 percent in- 
crease in tourist traffic (i.e„, the 38 more cars: per day), 
it would amount to 171 more visitors per day, 62,415 more 
visitors per year, and a potential total of 143,000 
visitors per year. 



36 



< 



These statistical estimated don't include the 
traffic on State Highwy 25 because we don't have figures 
on the traffic flow at a point near the Wild Horse Range. 

Except for the 170 vehicles per day that now pass 
through Warm Springs on U. S. Highway 6 the above figures 
are purely speculative. However, we are convinced that 
if the Range is fully developed, opened to the public, 
and widely publicized it will act like a magnet on a 
large percentage of the family tourists entering the 
State of Nevada. 

A Nevada State Highway Department survey conducted 
in 1963 estimated that 17,246,000 out=of=staters visited 
Nevada that year and 3.7 million of them visited the 
existing outdoor recreation areas of the State -- 143,000 
is only 4 percent of 3.7 million. 



37 



V 



(V 



RESOURCE MANAGEMEN T EVALUATIO N AND TRAINING 

Implementation of this development plan for the 
Nevada Wild Horse Range would create many opportunities 
for the testing and evaluation of resource management 
practices and professional training. 

The proposed grazing management program is a 
three-pasture, three-treatment , rest-rotation system. 
Rest-rotation grazing is fairly new in BLM and the Wild 
Horse Range would provide an excellent area for experi- 
mentation, practice, and evaluation of the system. 

Similarly, various improvement practices and 
management techniques connected with wild land admini- 
stration could be tested and evaluated on the Wild Horse 
Range . 

Once again the control and management of feral 
horses on public range lands in the West is becoming a 
serious problem. For instance feral horses are on the 
increase in every grazing District in Nevada . 

There are many reasons for their increase, such as 
favorable winter weather in recent years, improved range 



38 



< 



conditions, more range water developments which permit 
horses to range over larger areas, and recent Federal 
restrictions on rounding up horses with mechanical 
equipment . 

The management of feral horses on the Nevada Wild 
Horse Range could serve as a prototype for dealing with 
horse problems in other areas. In particular, the develop- 
ment of methods for gathering and removing excess popu- 
lations would be of value to resource managers. 

Additional management and training opportunities in 
watershed protection, wildlife habitat management, animal 
husbandry, information and education, and public use and 
interpretation would be available on the Wild Horse Range. 

BLM has had practically no experience with the 
conduct of interpretive programs for the public. But now 
that the Bureau has become, a full-fledged member of the 
Federal outdoor recreation team it will become increasingly 
involved with the development and conduct of interpretive 
programs and other forms of visitor services . The Wild 
Horse Range would provide an excellent area for development 
of such programs and services and subsequent training of 
BLM employees involved in such activities. 

- 39 - 



<■ 



It is proposed that the interpretive center located 
in the headquarters complex be used as a training facility 
during the "of f- season" for tourists. If constructed 
along the lines of the interpretive centers currently 
used in National Parks and National Forests there should 
be a lecture and projection room in which the public can 
listen to talks or see colored slides or movies of the 
area and programs being interpreted, This same room would 
serve very well for training purposes. 

Overnight accommodations for small groups are presently 
available in the vicinity of the Wild Horse Range, It can 
be expected that additional accommodations would be con- 
structed shortly after the Range was opened to the public . 



40 



STAFFING 

Because of the large number of potential visitors to 
the Nevada Wild Horse Range, its remoteness from major 
communities, and the fact that portions of it will be 
closed to public access we believe that it will be neces- 
sary to have a full-time Manager permanently located at 
the headquarters complex in the Mustang Management Unit. 
This plan envisions the construction of modern living 
accommodations for the Manager and his family. 

During the summer tourist season it would be 
advisable to have one or two Assistant Managers with 
specialized training and skills in interpretive work 
and natural history. 

The Manager should be skilled in animal husbandry 
with special emphasis on horses, range, management, 
wildlife habitat management, interpretation, visual 
communications, employee training and administration, 
When needed, additional part time assistance would be 
provided from District Offices or the State Office as 
appropriate . 

Fire protection would be provided by District Offices 



41 



INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY 

The emotional attachment of the American people to 
the concept of wild horses and the role such horses played 
in the "winning of the West" was pointed out in the 
Introduction. 

We are convinced that the Nevada Wild Horse Range 
when developed and opened to the public will attract the 
attention and interest of people throughout the Nation -- 
particularly school children. We also believe that as 
news of the Wild Horse Range spreads many tourists will 
plan their western vacations to include a visit to the 
Range. Therefore, an integral part of any development 
and management plan for the Wild Horse Range is the dis- 
semination of information about the Range and the oppor- 
tunities provided for recreation, education, and research. 

The Wild Horse Range was established in answer to 
public demand and it continues to exist for the primary 
purpose of serving the public To obtain this service 
the public must know what is available to them. Secondary 
values of the Wild Horse Range are education and research 
(discussed in more detail in an earlier section). Again, 



42 



( 






people must know what is available if they are to take 
advantage of the education and research opportunities on 
the Range. Therefore, there must be a continuous infor- 
mation program tied directly to administration of the 
Range. This program should be directed at local, State 
and National news media; schools; other governmental 
agencies; historical institutions; conservation organi- 
zations; and other groups with a special interest in the 
Wild Horse Range. 

The Information Program should utilize all of the 
various audio -visual and written communications techniques . 
Because of the uniqueness of the product being publicized 
we believe it will be possible to secure a large amount of 
free publicity from private organizations. Such a possi- 
bility should be fully explored e 

The Information Program should begin immediately after 
approval of this plan. Initially, it should be handled at 
the local and State levels by the Resource Utilization 
Specialist, Nevada State Office, and at the National level 
by the Information Officer, Washington Office, Eventually 
the Wild Horse Range Manager would assume responsiblify for 
the local information program „ 

- 43 - 



IMPACT ON STATE A ffD LOCAL ECONOMIES 

The authors of this plan did not have the time or 
resources necessary to make an accurate forecast of the 
impact that implementation of this plan would have on the 
economies of the State of Nevada, Nye County, and the com- 
munities of Tonopah, Warm Springs, Alamo and others situated 
near the Nevada Wild Horse Range . However, from the dis- 
cussion preceding this section it is apparent that the im- 
pact would be significant and favorable. 

As was pointed out in the PUBLIC USE AND INTERPRETATION 
section there are now about 115,000 tourists a year passing 
the Nevada Wild Horse Range on U. S. Highway 6 C Practically 
none of these tourists now stop in the communities of Warm 
Springs or Alamo (Alamo is located on State Highway 25 south 
of U. S. Highway 6 and west of the Wild Horse Range) . 

A potential visitor volume of 143,000 was predicted. 
That would bring many new tourist dollars into the State 
of Nevada and it would precipitate the development of motels, 
restaurants, automobile service stations and other tourist 
facilities along U. S. Highway 6 and State Highway 25 in 
the vicinity of the Wild Horse Range,, 



44 



r 






TIME SCHEDULE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF PLAN 

This plan should be fully implemented within four years 
beginning with fiscal year 1968 and ending in fiscal year 
1971. 

Negotiations with the Department of Defense for boundary 
adjustments between the Wild Horse Range and the Nellis Air 
Force Base bombing and gunnery range should begin immediately 
Particular emphasis and priority should be placed on deletion 
of the Mustang Management Unit from the military withdrawal 
so that it can be developed for public use. 

The first step in the improvement program should be 
construction of exterior boundary fences to eliminate 
trespass livestock and control the drift of feral, horses . 
Also, during the first year after approval of this plan 
an access road leading to the site of the headquarters 
complex in the Mustang Management Unit should be con- 
s true ted and one well and one spring development should 
be completed in the Mustang Management Unit, 

Development of the Mustang Management Unit (public 
use area) would be spread over the entire four-year period. 



45 



However, the other two management units (which will not 
be open to the public) would be developed one per year 
during the last two years of this plan„ 

The Mustang Management Unit should be opened to 
public use in June 1969, which would be at the end of 
fiscal year 1969 and the beginning of fiscal year 1970. 
Prior to that time -- during the first two years of this 
plan -- the headquarters complex should be fully constructed 
and developed, one 19-mile loop road for public use complete 
with overlooks and interpretive signs should be completed, 
key water developments should be completed, and principal 
units of interior pasture and water control fencing should 
be constructed. The remaining developments within the 
Mustang Management Unit consisting of one 22-mile loop 
road for public use, one 17-mile loop road for public use, 
additional interpretive signs, water developments, and 
fencing would be completed during the third and fourth 
years of this plan. 

All improvements within the Mustang Management Unit 
would be designed to "blend in" with the natural landscape 



46 



of the area so that from the public use roads the unit 
would appear "natural" and undisturbed. 

On page 48 is a detailed schedule for development 
of the Wild Horse Range under this plan. 



47 



Type of Development 










Fiscal Year 












66 


69 


70 


71 


TOTAL 




Unit 


Cost 


Unit 


Cost 


Unit 


Cost 


Unit 


Cost 


Unit 


Cost 


Exterior Boundary 
Fence 


75 


60,000 














75 


60,000 


Interior Pasture and 
Water Control Fencing 






30 


24,000 


35 


28,000 


20 


16,000 


85 


68,000 


Cattleguards 


8 


4,800 


5 


3,000 


rz 


2,400 


3 


1 ,800 


20 


12,000 


Spring Developments 


1 


500 




3 


1,500 


2 


1 ,000 


6 


3,000 


Wells 


1 


6,000 


2 


12,000 


k 


24,000 


2 


12,000 


9 


5*+, 000 


Earthen Reservoirs 






1 


3,000 


1 


3,000 


Water Storage Tanks 






3 


7,500 


6 


15,000 


4 


10,000 


13 


32,500 


Water Troughs 






9 


2,250 


18 


4,500 


"• 


3,500 


41 


10,250 


Pi pel ines 






17 


17,000 


36 


36,000 


30 


30,000 


83 


83,000 


Sub -Total 

(Resource Management) 




71,300 




65,750) 

i 1 


111 ,400 




77,300 




325,750 


Access Roads 


17 


85,000 


i 

19 


1 

95,000 


22 


110,000 


17 


85,000 


— — — — 
75 


375,000 


Interpretive Center 


50,000 


' 1 1 ' 

( 1 




i 






50,000 


Parking Faci 1 i t ies 


15,000 
















15,000 


Exhibits and Signs 


25,000 


1 i 








25,000 


Living Quarters 


20,000 
















20,000 


Garage Faci 1 i ties 




5,000 
















5,000 


Bunkhouse 




10,000 

1 


i 




1 






10,000 

1 

\ 


Sub-Total (Publ ic Use 
and Interpretation) 


125,000 












1 


( 

1 125,000 


GRAND TOTAL 


156,300 


285,750 




221 ,400 




162,300 


1 825,750 



-48- 



c 



COST DATA 

Public Use and Interpretation 

Interpretive Center $ 50,000 

Parking Facil ities 15,000 

Exhibits & Signs 25,000 

Living Quarters for Refuge Manager 20,000 

Garage Facilities 5,000 

Bunkhouse 10,000 

Sub-total $125,000 

Resource Management 

I tern Uni t Unit Cost Total Cost 

Exterior Boundary Fence 75 miles 

Interior Pasture £- Water Control Fences 85 miles 

Cattle Guards 20 each 

Spring Developments 6 each 

Wei Is 9 each 

Earthen Reservoirs (5000 cu. yds.) 1 each 

Water Storage Tanks (25,000 gal.) 13 each 

Water Troughs (500 gal .) k] each 

Pipel ine 83 mi 1 es 

Sub-total $325,750 

Road Improvement and Construction 

(Access and tour roads within public 

use areas) 75 mi 1 es @ $5 ,000/mi 1 e $375,000 

Total Project Costs $825,750 

- k 3 - 



$ 800 


$ 60,000 


800 


68,000 


600 


12,000 


500 


3,000 


6,000 


5^,000 


3,000 


3,000 


2,500 


32,500 


250 


10,250 


1 ,000 


83,000 



VERTICAL VIEW OF CORRAL AND "CONTROL TRIGGERS" INSTALLED 



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WILD HORSE MANAGEMENT AREA 
Nellis Air Force Base and Bureau of Land Management 

A. Cooperative Management Program 
1. Justification 

Because of the deep concern expressed by a large 
number of people in regard to preservation of 
wild horses, and the need to manage and control 
their use, an area within the boundaries of the 
land withdrawn for the Nellis Air Force Base, 
Nevada, has been identified as a suitable wild 
horse area. The area is presently being used 
by wild or abandoned horses by their own selection. 
The horse use is not inconsistent with the needs 
of the Air Force and will not compete with es- 
tablished use by domestic livestock as the domestic 
livestock use has been withdrawn from the area. 
Identifying the area for horse use will provide 
an area which can be managed for the horses and 
their habitat. It is reliably estimated on the 
basis of counts made by the State Fish and Game 
Department that more than 200 wild horses now 



run in this area. This approximate number of wild 
horses will be maintained as long as their use of 
the range remains in balance with the forage resources 
available. The horses using this area will be con- 
sidered as a feral animal and will be managed and 
protected in a similar manner as wildlife that use 
the public lands. 
2 . Program 

a. U S. Air Force Activities 

Establish a liaison officer to work with 
Bureau of Land Management in scheduling wild 
horse management activities within the area. 
After appropriate scheduling with the liaison 
officer, the Bureau of Land Management shall 
have access to the area during the following 
t ime s : 

(1) All regular weekend periods of Air Force 
inactivity. 

(2) For special periods for management 
activities, when previously coordinated 
and not to interfere with scheduled 



training activities conducted by the 
units assigned or attached to Nellis 
Air Force Base. 

b. Bureau of Land Management Activities 

The Bureau of Land Management will cooperate 
with the Air Force and the Nevada State Game 
and Fish Commission in managing the range and 
maintaining the proper number of horses to 
utilize the area. The Bureau will inspect, 
if necessary, the condition of the horses 
and their habitat, and will initiate studies 
that may be necessary to determine the trend 
in range conditions. By cooperation with 
Nevada State and County officials, the control 
of the desired number of horses to use the 
range will be achieved. 
3. Description 

The area described by townships and ranges with 

references to the Mount Diablo Base Line is as 

follows i 

T 1 S, R 49 E, E 1/2; T 1 S, R. 50 E All; 
T 2 S, R 50 E, All; 



T 2 S 

T 3 S 

T 3 S 

T 4 S 

T 4 S 

T 4 S 

T 5 S 

T 5 S 

T 5 S 

T 6 S 

T 6 S 

T 7 S 

T 7 S 



R 51 E All; T 3 S, R 50 E. All; 

R 51 E, All; 

R 51-1/2 E, All; T 3 S R 52 E, All; 

R 50 E, All; 

R 51 E All; T 4 S, R 51-1/2 E, 

R 52 E, All; 

R 50 E, E-l/2; T 5 S, R 51 E, All; 

R 52 E, All; 

R 53 E, W-l/2; T 6 S, R 50 E, E-l/2; 

R 51 E, All; 

R 52 E, All; T 6 S, R 53 E, NW-1/4; 

R 50 E, NE-1/4; 

R 51 E, N-l/2; T 7 S, R 52 E, NW-1/4. 



The area as described by longitude and latitude 
is as follows; 

Beginning at a longitude of 116°04' and a latitude 
of 37°43' thence west on the same latitude to a 
longitude of 116°13'; thence north on the same 
longitude to a latitude of 37°49'; thence west 
on the same latitude to a longitude of 116°20'; 
thence north on the same longitude to a latitude 
of 37°54'; thence west on the same latitude to 
a longitude of 116 o 30'; thence south on the same 
longitude to a latitude of 37°49'; thence east 
on the same latitude to a longitude of 116°26'; 
thence south on the same longitude to a latitude 
of 37°33'; thence east on the same latitude to 



<• 



» 



a longitude of 116°23'; thence south on the 
same longitude to a latitude of 37°19'; thence 
east on the same latitude to a longitude of 
116°11' ; thence north on the same longitude to 
a latitude of 37°21. 1 ; thence eas on the same 
latitude to a longitude of 116°07'; thence 
north on the same longitude to a latitude of 
37°23'; thence east on the same latitude to 
a longitude of 116°04'; thence north on the 
same longitude to the point of beginning. 
Approximately 394,500 acres are enclosed within 
the boundaries described above. 



APPROVED 



/s/ Lloyd W. Brauer DATE 18 June 1965 

Commander, Nellis Air Force Base 



APPROVED 



/s/ J. R. Penny DATE June 2, 1965 

Nevada State Director 
Bureau of Land Management 



WILD HORSE MANAGEMENT AREA 
Nellis Air Force Base and Bureau of Land Management 

A. Cooperative Management Program 
1. Justification 

Because of the deep concern expressed by a large 
number of people in regard to preservation of 
wild horses, and the need to manage and control 
their use, an area within the boundaries of the 
land withdrawn for the Nellis Air Force Base, 
Nevada, has been identified as a suitable wild 
horse area. The area is well suited for this 
purpose as it is presently being used by wild 
or abandoned horses by their own selection. 
The horse use is not inconsistent with the 
needs of the Air Force and will not compete 
with established use by domestic livestock as 
the domestic livestock use has been withdrawn 
from the area. Identifying the area for horse 
use will provide an area which can be managed 
for the horses and their habitat. It is reliably 



estimated on the basis of counts made by the 
State Fish and Game Department that more than 
200 wild horses now run in this area. This 
approximate number of wild horses will be main- 
tained as long as their use of the range remains 
in balance with the forage resources available. 
The horses using this area will be considered 
as a feral animal and will be managed and pro- 
tected in a similar manner as wildlife that use 
the national land reserve. 
2. Program 

a. U. S. Air Force Activities 

Establish* a liaison officer to work with the 
Bureau of Land Management in scheduling wild 
horse management activities within the area. 
After appropriate scheduling with the liaison 
officer, the Bureau of Land Management shall 
have access to the area during the following 
t ime s : 

(1) All regular weekend periods of Air Force 
inactivity. 



(• 



J 



(2) For special periods as scheduled for 
management activities. During such 
periods of use by the BLM, the Air 
Force may continue to utilize the lands 
for its practice operations with the 
following restrictions: that no bullets, 
rockets, or missiles will be fired into 
that part of the range used for wild horse 
management activities. 
b. Bureau of Land Management Activities 

The Bureau of Land Management will cooperate 
with the Air Force and the Nevada State Fish 
and Game Commission in managing the range and 
maintaining the proper number of horses to 
utilize the area. The Bureau will inspect, 
if necessary, the condition of the horses and 
their habitat, and will initiate studies that 
may be necessary to determine the trend in 
range conditions. By cooperation with Nevada 
State and County officials, the control of 
the desired number of horses to use the range 
will be achieved. 



<♦ 







3. Description 

That parties of the Nellis Air Force Range to be 

used by wild and abandoned horses comprises 

approximately 18 townships, or 435,000 acres. 

The area is as follows: 

T 3 S, R 51 E, 51% E 52 E, 53 E, and approximately 
the W% of 54 E. 

T 4 S, R 51 E, 51% E, 52 E, 53 E, and approximately 
the W% of 54 E. 

T.5 S, R51E 51% E, 52 E, 53 E, 54 E, and 
approximately the W% of 55 E. 

T 6 S, R 51 E, 51% E, 52 E, 53 E 54 E, and 
approximately the W% of 55 E. 



APPROVED 



Is/ Boyd Hubbard, Jr. 



Commander, Nellis Air Force Base 



DATE June 13, 1962 



APPROVED 



Is/ J. R. Penny 



Nevada State Director 
Bureau of Land Management 



DATE June 18, 1962 



N. f.\ 



(^ 



R.50E 



^GE BOUNDARY 
ED FROM WILD HORSE 




c 



s 




REVEILLE VALLEY 

PASTURE 

23,000 ACRES 



MUSTANG MGT UNIT 



^~l 



CEDAR WELL PASTURE 

25,000 ACRES 



BELTED N PASTURE 
27,0 ACRES 



OUARTZITE MTN PASTURE 
42,000 ACRES 




GOLD REED PASTURE 
50,000 ACRES 



CLIFF SPRING PASTURE 
50,500 ACRES 



KAWICH VALLEY MGT UNIT 



SHIRLEY SPRING PASTURE 
51,500 ACRES 



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