Oops, Could Have Sworn BLM Said There Could Be No Flying Over It’s “Gathers”

By Steven Long, Photo by Rich Hill

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Wild Horse advocates have long been under the impression that BLM prohibited airborne observation of its “gathers.” Not so says the agency’s Washington public information officer Melodie A. Lloyd after a query from Horseback Magazine.

A former commercial airline pilot tipped the magazine that it is rare for the FAA to close airspace unless it is required by the military or there is a national security concern such as Air Force One being in the area.

Our note to the BLM said:

“We have had the pilot from a major airline ask by what authority BLM is claiming to close airspace over its roundups.

The following is his note: “airspace restrictions are the under the jurisdiction of the FAA and to some degree the TSA. Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR’s) areas can be set up on short notice in the interest of public safety and certain events.

However, most restricted areas are set up on a permanent basis after public notification and are published on aeronautical charts. You might start with http://sua.faa.gov/sua/Welcome.do

But the BLM couldn’ t resis

t the Washington government spin habit in responding to our request for clarification. Lloyd responded:

“Since receiving your e-mail here in Washington, our research shows that the pilot unfortunately received some misinformation,” Lloyd wrote in an email response Friday.

“Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) and Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) are frequently used by the BLM during suppression efforts for wild land fires, where providing a safe environment for all aircraft, ground crews, and the public is paramount,” she continued.

“Because the BLM only wants to ensure the same outcome for gathers, earlier this year we did consider a TFR for the Nevada gathers, but the field staff learned from the Federal Aviation Administration that gather operations currently do not meet the standard criteria, which requires a hazard and/or disaster to exist.

Hopefully no incident will ever force gather operations into that category,” Lloyd said.

Wild horse advocates have told Horseback Magazine the BLM has often given the impression that airspace over its “gathers” was closed during operations.

Not so, says the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Lloyd.

Herding wild horses by a helicopter flying low to the ground clearly falls far below the FAA’s rigid standards for closing airspace.

In all likelihood, there will be cameras in the air soon.

11 comments for “Oops, Could Have Sworn BLM Said There Could Be No Flying Over It’s “Gathers”

  1. Morgan Griffith
    August 7, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Happy dancing all over the house. This is wonderful news Steve. Funny thing is that this is so obvious, duh. Think of all the times news copters are overhead of an incident. Happy flying, yahoo!!!

  2. August 7, 2010 at 6:02 am

    More BLM smoke and mirrors…is anyone in Washington seeing all of this?

    Good work, Steve…

    This comes as no surprise, either. I would also like to know if the BLM has the “right” to exclude the public from public lands, hence, the recent hiding on private property. Oh, sorry Sue, that was all just a coincidence, I forgot.

  3. Kathy Mahan
    August 7, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I think they should be flying over before the gathers.. After reading Sue Catoors account of the Owyhee roundup.. I’m thinking the Catoors are moving horses prior to the roundups. How she talked about the horses not knowing where the water was, or the right trail to reach it, sure sounds like she was talking about horses new to the area.. Also how they were able to move so many horses from Little Humbolt to the rock creek site in an hour.

    Are they herding them in to pastures and shutting the gates?

    I know the horses need to be managed, but the current plans and methods fall far short of what is fair. Our local corral was turning adopters away last year, telling them on the phone, that they didn’t do adoptions there anymore. We went to drive around the fence to see the horses anyway and found some wonderfully curious, 2 & 3 year olds. We wrote down tag numbers, and when we called this spring, were told they had all been shipped to long term holding. Seems they shipped hundreds of 3 & 4 year olds to long term. I was flabbergasted because while I may have missed something on the scheduled adoptions.. I don’t recall seeing any adoptions by that corral on the schedule last year except for a Mustang Heritage Foundation Makeover. This corral doesn’t appear to participate in internet adoptions, and the few facility pictures they have on the facility photo gallery page are outdated. If I am correct then, except for a few horses picked by the corral management to be in the Makeover, or to be sent to a satellite??/contracted?? facility the horses at this corral were never even offered for adoption before being shipped east to long term pens.

    I worry about the horses in Long Term contracted pastures, and if BLM even knows if they are still there? Do they go count them? verify tag numbers? A friend inquired about a horse she saw at an adoption and was told it went to long term. She questioned if it was possible to adopt the horse. I figure.. one might have to wait until they are worming, vaccinating or something to have the horse pulled, and would have to travel to pick it up… She was told there were no facilities to sort the horses at long term facilities. So how do they care for the horses on long term? Don’t the pastured horses need to be wormed at least?

    • Janet Ferguson
      August 7, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      I am not an expert on this, but supposedly all horses, in long-term and short-term or anywhere are potentially “adoptable” in theory. They say so on their website or somewhere I read their spiel lately.

      The internet adoption is “decided” by a “gate cut” I understand (the luck of the draw).

      If the little horse she liked wasn’t in the “gate cut” to have its photo on the internet adoption page, I think it might be anywhere, but still in “the system” somewhere. Maybe sent to a prison program; to short or long term or something — sale authority I think is reserved for older horses.

      • Kathy Mahan
        August 8, 2010 at 4:02 am

        I was told that they had just shipped a bunch of 3 year olds to “grassland pasture” (long term holding)

        The mare my friend wants in said to be in Oklahoma on “grasland pasture”. We inquired about the horse by her full brand # by phone and email. She has an email from BLM saying there is no way to sort the mare out of the herd in the “grassland pasture” that there are no facilities on site to sort horses.

  4. Barbara W.
    August 7, 2010 at 11:17 am

    EXTRA ! RXTRA !! Read all about another lie from BLM. Many thanks , Steve.

  5. August 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you Steven for all you do. This is great!

  6. Valerie James-Patton
    August 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Wow – BLM is outrageous and totally out of control.
    Steven, you’re wonderful! Thank you!

  7. Janet Ferguson
    August 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Where’s my grandad now? He knew how to let out a real whoop n’ holler (we always heard it as we left the city limits for the rolling hills of the Ozarks).

  8. Janet Ferguson
    August 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    One way to “push the envelope” on all this is for someone who can afford $1,000 and up to 6 months in prison to defy these people by placing his or herself onto the very physical space they say one cannot go.

    Wait and see if the resulting “rap” “sticks.”

    I’m busy that day, but, just a thought.

  9. August 8, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Well it’s simple. The fly over can go anytime and the BLM can not stop you. We weren’t talking about wild fires or volcanoes in which airspace would be closed until a Military Flight tested the area for air quality for engines on jets. As far as going on sight to see gathers, BLM CAN NOT STOP YOU! But I know you want to want another month to see why you can’t go on PUBLIC LAND. BLM tries to use private ranchers as “black male” using there lease agreements against them telling them if you don’t help us we’ll cancel you lease. Well, this won’t happen either. Sooner of later ya’ll figure out that the BLM loves to baffle with used car nonsense. They tell bigger stories than Red Foxx. Look they have to cross public lands, federal lands which you and I own, not the BLM.

    With just a little more get up and go and remembering that the BLM works for you and I and the most important thing is that lying, deceiving, committing fraud or entering into a conspiracy in the act of official capacity as a government official is illegal and a serious crime. So if you think the Cattoors and the BLM isn’t in a conspiracy to totally anileate the wild horse program then I’m missing the whole picture. Point is, BLM will tell you there were acting within the scope of the law, what law, just get them to show it to you, again they lie. The Solitors Generals Office will be force to file charges on the very men and women who enacted these crimes.

    The Solictor General works for the governement which nothing more than a lawyer, not the Attorney General’s Office. Contact the local U. S. Attorney’s General office and file your charge. They will balk of course but your the tax payer, a seriosu breach of crime has been committed against the People and its there job to accept the charges. Any Federal Judge will be waiting.

Comments are closed.