Heber Wild Horse Herd

The Arizona Heber Herd is located on approximately 19,700 acres in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. They have a majestic range in the Black Mesa Ranger District in the White Mountains. This acreage was set aside for this herd following the enactment of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Although the horses are protected by the Act of 1971, they have constantly been in turmoil with the risk of some of them being rounded up by the Forest Service.

In 2007, the National Forest Service began developing a written Territory Management Strategy. The plan is expected to provide a sustainable horse population for the territory while maintaining the natural resources of the area. 

Although this planning is still in process today, the fate of some of the Heber Horses is still unknown. It is hoped the plan will provide a sustainable horse population. However, if Forest Service sticks with their previous numbers of 28-35 horses the herd will not survive. The Heber Herd is in real danger of extinction.

1971

Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act signed into law by President Nixon.

1974

Initial census of 7 horses on the Territory.   

1992

Ninth Report to Congress providing census information from 1974—1992.

2002

Rodeo-Chediski Fire burned 468,638 acres, and approximately 70% of the Territory.

2005

Forest Service proposed removal of 300-400 horses. Court injunction stopped the gather.

2006

ASNFs start the NEPA process for development of the management plan.

2007

Litigation settled with Stipulation Agreement.

2009

Forest Service change in work priorities stopped the planning process.

2013

Forest Service entered into a new contract for development and completion of planning for HWHT management plan.

2014 

Aerial survey shows 18 horses in HWHT and another 184 on adjacent ASNFs lands.

2015

Aerial survey in May shows 16 horses in HWHT and 201 on adjacent ASNFs lands.

2016

 

1st. Qtr.

Ethnographic interviews began in February.

2nd Qtr

Southwest Decision Resources contracted to develop a collaborative process and facilitate.

3rd Qtr.

Appeal resolution with administrative changes to Forest Land Management Plan.

4th Qtr.

Collaborative process development.

Source ASNF