Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BLM backs wild-horse sanctuary

State Board of Finance to mull touchy land purchase Nov. 16
Staci Matlock The New Mexican
Posted: Monday, October 25, 2010

The head of the federal Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program supports a plan for a proposed mustang sanctuary in New Mexico near Cerrillos and said it could serve as a model for other states.

Don Glenn, chief of the BLM's Division of Wild Horses and Burros, said the agency solicited ideas for more sustainably handling an ever-growing number of wild horses that need homes. "One idea was to seek out partners and places to put sanctuaries," Glenn said. "We are interested in a partnership with the state if they buy this land."

A few weeks ago, the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, which oversees the State Parks Division, announced plans to purchase the 12,000-plus-acre Ortiz Mountain Ranch, also known as the Ball Ranch. The property is south of Madrid. The $2.9 million for the purchase would come from Gov. Bill Richardson's discretionary portion of New Mexico's federal stimulus funds. The purchase would expand Cerrillos Hills State Park tenfold, although the ranch is not contiguous with the existing park. A portion of the ranch would be set aside for a wild horse sanctuary, according to Jim Noel, Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Cabinet secretary.

Gubernatorial candidates Diane Denish and Susana Martinez both oppose using federal stimulus funding to create the wild horse sanctuary. The purchase must still be approved by the eight-member New Mexico Board of Finance, of which Richardson is president and Denish is a member. Full story

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