ppjg-4815Debbie Coffey   PPJ Investigative Reporter

Director of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation             

Copyright 2013       All Rights Reserved.


Madeleine Pickens (whose organization is called Saving America’s Mustangs) plans an “eco-resort” called Mustang Monument, as part of a Bureau of Land mopManagement (BLM) eco-sanctuary plan to put wild horse geldings (a non-reproducing herd), which were rounded up and warehoused on a BLM holding facility, onto another fenced in area (with a more glamorous title).
While Madeleine’s idea included putting horses on a grazing allotment on public land, the BLM’s plan will likely eradicate 3 federally protected wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs). The BLM will likely roundup the remaining family bands of wild horses currently on these 3 HMAs, ship the wild horses to short term holding, then to same sex, long term holding pastures on private property for the rest of their lives. (Which may not be very long, but that’s another story.)

In this particular public-private partnership, approximately 14,000 acres are private land, and a whopping 508,000 acres are public land. But who will benefit the most?

Madeleine Pickens was recently in China pushing her “eco-resort.” Then, Madeleine sent out an e-mail to supporters announcing that Mustang Monument will be on the cover of “Luxury Hotels of America” magazine.
When I recently saw that Madeleine was going to be on the radio show “Nevada Matters” on Renegade Radio, I called in with a few concerns. Unfortunately, much of what I said was (heavily) edited out of the archived version. http://vimeo.com/59761000]

At about 14:43 minutes into the archived radio show (link below), I called in. As I recall, it seemed that Madeleine mentioned how much money long term holding pastures received, that Saving America’s Mustangs would get $450 per horse, and that she wasn’t making money. I pointed out that she would be making a lot of money on the eco-resort. Anyhow, Madeleine stated “I’m not making money.”

To explain her eco-resort plans in more detail here, there will be 50 teepees (Madeleine calls them tipis). The Luxury Tipis go for $1,200 a night  and the Luxury Safari Tents go for $1,500 a night. The rooms have 24 hour butler service.

Madeleine is banking on (and, will be cashing in on), the wild horses. After all, this isn’t called the Tipi Monument.

What’s really funny is that on page 2 of the BLM Scoping Brief, it was described that this eco-sanctuary would have “rustic accommodations similar to historic Native American dwellings…”

Does the interior of one of Madeleine’s tipis  seem similar to this teepee to you?  Tipi_Inside

Back to the radio show, when I mentioned my concerns about fencing off public lands, Madeleine said “nothing changes as far as the fencing.” But, on page 3 of BLM’s Public Scoping Brief for the Eco-Sanctuary, under “Fencing,” it states: 
“…it has been proposed to fence all portions of the boundary that are currently unfenced, depending on the route selected for the fencing, approximately 53 to 72 miles of new fence would be required.” (emphasis mine)

That sounds like a change to me. Fencing will be added. The entire eco-sanctuary boundary will be fenced. And unless you walk around with a pair of wire cutters or a saw in your pocket, the BLM will be fencing off public lands.
Also, on page 3-6 of BLM’s Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)public comments about fencing included concerns that the fencing would prevent wild horses from accessing water, fragment existing HMAs and create unnatural conditions for a wild horse population living within the proposed Eco-Sanctuary.

(Maybe Madeleine was too busy figuring out which “high-end toiletries” to provide in the tipis, and didn’t read about fencing in the Scoping Brief or the EIS.)

It seemed to me that Madeleine may have been making a distinction between her plans and the BLM’s plans. For instance, in what seemed to be a response to my concerns about geldings (a non-reproducing herd) on the eco-sanctuary, she said “we don’t have anything to do with that thought process” and “that’s not our thought process.”

It may not be her “thought process,” but a non-reproducing herd is what the BLM is planning to put on this eco-sanctuary, and what will be happening.
Here’s my thought process: What will happen in 20-30 years when these non-reproducing geldings die and the wild horses in BLM’s Short and Long Term Holding facilities have died, and there are no more wild horses on public lands? The Mustang Monument will then truly be a “monument.”

What will happen after Madeleine dies? Will the public be allowed to read the trust or business document that deals with the future of this eco-sanctuary?
What will happen with Saving America’s Mustangs 66 water rights in 5 basins? In the future, will someone file an application to change the “use,” and will this water then go for industrial use?

In my opinion, it seemed as if Madeleine may have tried to portray people (and possibly, me in particular) who have concerns about the eco-sanctuary plan, as “agitators.” That is why, after the commercial break, I brought up a bit about what I’ve done.

After I mentioned her/Saving America’s Mustangs’ 66 water rights in 5 basins, Madeleine said “It sounds to me like you have more sympathy towards ranchers.” But then, soon after, Madeleine stated “I’m a rancher, too.”
Madeleine also said “I think it’s rather odd that you don’t see the good side to this.”

Apparently, she missed my whole point that family bands of wild horses (stallions, mares and foals) will be taken off of their federally protected Herd Management Areas. She’ll get geldings out of short term holding, but then the BLM will roundup wild horse family bands and send them to short term holding. (That’s why I called it a shell game.)

Meanwhile, the BLM is planning the sale/lease of about 6,397 acres of land for oil and gas drilling only about 20 miles from her ranch and luxury tipis, and inside of the Eco-Sanctuary boundary. (It’ll be interesting to see who snatches up those parcels, if nobody protests them.)

BLM’s plans for other Eco-Sanctuaries, takes wild horses out of holding facilities, but may put them mostly on private property, where the public will have to pay to stay or likely make an appointment to tour, to see the wild horses that they could once see for free on public lands. The BLM, once again, puts lipstick on a pig.

Whatever the BLM plans, it does NOT benefit the wild horses, does not maintain a “thriving ecological balance,” and it is just another whitewash leading to the extinction of our wild horses.

The heavily edited Nevada Matters radio show on Renegade Radio: https://vimeo.com/59761000
The BLM Northern Nevada Wild Horse Eco-Sanctuary Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement (December 2012): http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/nv/field_offices/elko_field_office/information/nepa/eiss/archives/nenvwh_ecosanctuary.Par.18186.File.dat/WildHorse_ScopRpt_FINAL_508_reduced.pdf
The BLM Scoping Brief: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/nv/field_offices/elko_field_office/information/nepa/eiss/archives/nenvwh_ecosanctuary.Par.21472.File.dat/EcoSanctuaryScopingBrief.pdf
Map of the eco-sanctuary project showing the Herd Management Areas: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/nv/field_offices/elko_field_office/information/nepa/eiss/archives/nenvwh_ecosanctuary.Par.23699.File.dat/spruce_2%20%282%29.pdf