Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image The Onaqui herd grazes near Simpson Springs in 2016. (Courtesy of Fitzgerald Petersen)

September 10, 2019
BLM to gather excess wild horses in Tooele, Juab counties

Nine-day project involves horses near and outside Onaqui HMA 

Operations to remove excess wild horses from the perimeter and outside of the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area in Tooele and Juab counties will begin Wednesday, a federal agency says.

For approximately nine days, the Bureau of Land Management will gather about 200 horses from state, private, U.S. Forest Service, and BLM land, according to the BLM’s Salt Lake Field Office. 

The appropriate management level for the Onaqui HMA is 121-210 animals and the current population exceeds 510, not including foals born in 2019, the BLM said.  

Opportunities are available for the public to observe daily operations through BLM-escorted tours so long as conditions remain safe for both horses and participants, and ensuring that gather operations are not disrupted.  

Observers must provide their own transportation, water, and food. No public restrooms will be available. The BLM recommends weather-appropriate footwear and neutral-colored clothing. Binoculars and four-wheel drive or other high-clearance vehicles are also strongly recommended. 

To protect the wild horses and the horse gather operations, no drones will be allowed to fly in the vicinity of the gather sites. 

Details on the BLM escorted tours will be announced daily on the BLM gather hotline at 801-539-4050.

People interested in observing on Wednesday should meet at the northeast end of the Walmart parking lot located at 99 W. 1280 North in Tooele City. Tours will depart from Walmart at 6 a.m. 

Due to military security restrictions, there will be no public observation on Saturday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 15 while horses are removed from Dugway Proving Ground.

Horses removed from the range will be transported to the Delta Wild Horse Facility in Delta, Utah. The facility will be closed beginning Wednesday through Tuesday, Sept. 24 to allow the horses to settle and acclimate before being prepared for the BLM’s adoption and sale program.

Public lands will remain open unless closures are deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Outdoor recreationists and visitors to the gather area should be aware that there will be low-flying helicopters.  

The recreational use of drones is discouraged from Johnson Pass south to Lookout Pass, and from state Route 36 west to the Hatch Ranch Road; south of Erickson Pass near the Juab County line; five miles north of the Juab County line on the southwest side of the Simpson Mountains west to the Thomas Range; and south to the Brush Wellman Highway. 

Brief road closures may also be needed to allow movement of horses during gather operations.

Gather updates and information will be posted at http://bit.ly/Onaqui. Anyone interested can get updates on Twitter by following @BLMUtah or searching #OnaquiGather. To learn more about how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro website at www.blm.gov/whb or call 866-468-7826.

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