Posted from the Great Falls Tribune, Dec. 14, 2013 Written by Laura Bailey
On a rugged patch of red-painted desert along the Montana-Wyoming border lives a band of wild horses that have been a part of the open range there since the state was an unsettled territory. With Spanish bloodlines that many believe trace back to the conquistadors, the sturdy mustangs have stayed on the land with the help of a loyal following of preservationists who work with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials to ensure the small horse herd remains healthy and genetically viable.
This spring, 15 foals were born on the range, bringing the herd’s numbers up to about 160. The horses occupy about 39,000 acres in the Pryor Mountains, running the cliffs and bluffs above the Bighorn Canyon. Most of their range is BLM and U.S. National Park Service Property. It is part of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, and U.S. Forest Service property and some historic private land holdings are also part of the range. It was set aside for the horses in 1968, just prior to the establishment of the Wild Horse and Burro Act in 1971, which protects wild horses and burros on public lands.
The wild horses of the Pryor Mountains are Montana’s only wild horse herd, and they are remarkably accessible. Almost any time of year, they can be seen browsing the hills around the Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area, which is a popular destination for hikers and boaters. Read more >>