BLM to conduct Onaqui wild horse gather in Tooele, Juab counties

The Bureau of Land Management uses a helicopter to gather wild horses in Nevada. A similar operation is planned for the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area in northern Nevada starting Sept. 11. Photo courtesy of BLM/Wikimedia Commons

The Bureau of Land Management Salt Lake Field Office on Sept. 11 will begin gather operations to remove excess wild horses from the perimeter and outside of the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area in Tooele and Juab counties. The operation is expected to last about nine days.

The BLM will gather approximately 200 horses from state, private, U.S. Forest Service, and BLM lands. The appropriate management level for this HMA is 121-210 animals and the current population exceeds 510 (not including foals born in 2019).

Opportunities are available for the public to observe daily operations through BLM-escorted tours so long as conditions remain safe for both the 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 be flown 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.

Those interested in observing on Wednesday, Sept. 11 should meet at the northeast end of the Walmart parking lot located at 99 West 1280 North in Tooele, where tours will depart at 6 a.m. MDT. Please note that there will be no public observation on Saturday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 15 while removing horses from Dugway Proving Grounds, due to military security restrictions.

Horses removed from the range will be transported to the Delta Wild Horse Facility in Delta. The facility will be closed beginning Wednesday, Sept. 11 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 Highway 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.

For additional information on participating in public observation days, contact Lisa Reid, public affairs specialist, at 435-743-3128 or [email protected].