October 18, 2010 – North Boundary Fence, Part 4

I apologize for my lack of posts in the past month, but I’ll be back on schedule with regular posts now!

The North Boundary Fence is mostly completed now. Following are some photos showing different parts of it.

The fence is basically built the same as the previous one.

I took the following photograph in September prior to any work being done on this part of the fence.

I took this second photo last week. It shows the same area with the new fence.

Large piles of old fencing materials can be seen along the new fence

As you’ll recall from previous posts, the fence running north of the road is in the same place as the old fence while the fence has a different course south of the road. In this photograph, you can see the path that the fence once took running down the middle of the photo (running down from the gate area); the new fence is running up above this area.

The gate visible in the photo is one of the gates installed to allow for horses that are off of the Range to have a way to get back on. There really aren’t that many horses off of the Range right now, and so I believe that the gates are currently closed to keep horses on the Range for now. There should be some planning going on in the very near future about those few horses that are off Range.

I’ve had some questions about the new cattleguard here. This is what it looks like:

This isn’t what it will always look like, though. Rods will be welded into the gap areas to have a more wild horse-friendly cattleguard here.

I’ll be spending more time to walk the entire fence this week, and so I will be sure to post some more photos of the new fence then.

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm  Comments (17)  

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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m glad you mentioned the cattle guard. I was concerned when I was there that the spaces were too wide to be a “Wild horse Annie cattle guard.” I guess I’m not sure why the correct one wasn’t installed initially. I hope they’re getting on that soon–it just takes one errant, young horse to spell disaster- since the red gates seem to be shut. If there are still horses on the FS side, how will they get across to migrate down the mountain? Do they have access to water?

    • Linda,
      It’s good to hear from you. I’m unsure of why the modifications to this cattleguard will happen later. In my conversations, it seemed as though it would be completed as soon as possible. The few remaining horses out on the Forest are the Forest Service bachelors. These boys have only wintered out there in their lifetimes. This isn’t the greatest of areas to winter in, of course; but they’ve done it. Water isn’t so much of an issue now due to the cattle watering areas out there as well as the pond on Tony Island. I guess my main concern is that these horses are at risk of being removed like their parents were last year. I think it is imperative that they be on the Range with the main herd given the fact that they are genetic representatives of the old Forest Service horses.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more about the Forest Service bachelors. It’s imperative that they stay on the mountain, given their heredity. Why can’t they just bait trap them and get them to “the other side”.
        Did Eclipse and Chance and his band go over on their own? Were there any others left out there after last year’s roundup? Thanks for your information on this. I’s concerned about that cattleguard and the fence.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Forest Service bachelors trapped and relocated onto the Range. This is what I would definitely like to see happen. I’m unsure of Eclipse’s status out there; he’d been a bachelor and I haven’t seen him since November. Really, the only horses out there other than the bachelors post-gather was Cabaret’s harem, but they are on the Range now.

  2. It seems to me the cattle gaurd should be covered with plywood until it is completed-or your next picture of it will show a dead horse in it or one with a broken leg, can hardly afford to lose the few you have left.

    • Well, let’s just hope this doesn’t happen. I think everyone’s aware of the risks, and I hope to see the cattleguard completed. In the near future, the horses will start moving off of the mountain into the mid-slope; and so this won’t be as much of a concern then.

  3. excuse my sarcasm, but I am sure the gov. of china was very proud of the great wall of china when they finished it as well

  4. I was up last week and saw the 2 bachelors on the other side of the fence by Ice Cave on my way down the mountain. They seemed good, looked healthy and actually fatter than the horses on the upper part of the range that I saw. I think they will be fine, but agree with Matt that we want to see those boys over where they belong so we can keep that line going. Thanks Matt for the report.

    • Thanks for the update!

  5. Hi, Matt. I’ve been anxiously awaiting another post. Happy you’re on top of the fencing project and hope they’ll get that cattle guard modified ASAP. Seems to me one good welder could have it done in a day.

    I’m not as familar with the individual horses as others, but am becoming more educated to names and faces. It’s so good to see the Spring foals and sad to hear of those that have passed, but knowing there’s somewhere that pretty much lets the horses be horses is heartening.

    Any snow yet? I imagine the horses are getting shaggy. I’m in NW New Mexico, and winter coats are coming on here.

    • Hello,
      It’s good to hear from you. I think that the involved parties really are wanting to take measures to ensure that the cattleguard is as safe as possible. The weather here has still been really nice; it is pretty different from last year at this time. The horses are growing their winter coats, though.

  6. Why is it necessary to have a cattle guard in the first place when I didn’t think cattle were supposed to be on the wild horse range? They have the FS lands all to themselves now, why do they need to set foot on the Range? Seems like the real solution of all this is to effectively GET the horses where they belong now, and keep the horses on their side and the cattle on theirs.

    I’m with Linda H on the bait trapping, or how about even a mini “gathering” to get them to the right place. If the safety and preservation of those remaining unintentional strays is handled with concern and appreciation of their value, it will go a long way to convince me that there is at least SOME real concern for the genetic viability of this extremely significant herd of horses.

    I don’t envy you being “in the middle” of these issues Matt, but I’m really glad someone is, for the sake of the horses. If only more of the “higher ups” would listen more closely to reason and to the voices of the people who are paying their salaries. Keep up your efforts, and please tell the gov people you encounter that we aren’t forgetting about what happens with these horses just because the gather is over.

    • Just a bit of clarification on my previous comments: My question is, more clearly stated, why do they not use a regular gate that wouldn’t endanger the horses as much, rather than any type of cattle guard? For one thing, most horses can sail over that space pretty much with ease if taken at a run, and we all know mustangs can run. I suppose they could jump the fence if cornered or otherwise threatened, too, but an open gap must be pretty inviting.

      I guess the biggest issue with a regular gate would be people leaving it open. Maybe there should be locks, with keys obtained by permit only for the duration of one’s intended visit. Once again, an enforcement struggle, but at least it would be easier to pinpoint who is disrespecting the rules.

      I wish those of you who truly care about the horses much luck in solving the dilemnas.

      • Linda,
        It’s good to hear from you. I have heard some discussion of using a gate. Like you said, I think the biggest problem with this is that people are often bad about closing gates. This is definitely a major factor in keeping the Dryhead horses from leaving the Sykes entrance to the Range. I believe that the other gates will be locked so that they aren’t left open.

    • Hello,
      I think the cattleguard is there just to allow for a road without a gate there. The areas adjacent to the Range are not grazing allotments; they are the recommended wilderness areas. The allotments start after those areas.
      Thanks for all of your support!

  7. Just a thought. Maybe they could use a regular gate with the modified cattleguard as backup for when someone carelessly (or intentionally, since not all visitors to the Range give a whoot about the horses), leaves a gate open.

  8. Sorry to post it here, but just found a cool natgeo snippet about the mountain… had to share it with you all.

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