Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
Sanctuary Update September 16, 2012
The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is a very large 13,000 privately owned wilderness with steep canyons and very little access by man. The land mass is in a very remote area of South Dakota that has always experienced extremes of wind, hail, lightning, and an occasional blizzard. There is very little ground water as this area is on the fringes of underground aquifers. Due to the distance of the Sanctuary’s location from the higher regions of the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountains, most weather systems drop their moisture before traveling over this remote Southern Black Hills Region.
2012 has been a year with months without snow or rainfall and over ninety days of temperatures 90 and above. The grass is parched and has been blown away by the extreme winds. Due to the extreme heat violent lightning storms occur without rain that send deadly bolts of lightning striking the pine trees and exploding them into violent flames that consume everything in its path. The month of June started the fire season with a deadly blaze about twenty miles from the Sanctuary that cost the lives of several firefighters and destroyed thousands of acres of pasture, trees, and homes. Since that first fire hundreds of other lightning strikes have surrounded the Black Hills with their deadly flames. Right now today a fire is burning sixty miles from the Sanctuary causing hundreds to evacuate their homes.
The wildness of the Sanctuary range makes it the perfect place for wild horses as they can travel for miles and even live out a life span and never encounter man. However, we the people who are the caretakers of the land and the wildlife must occasionally determine that traveling over the land makes it too great a risk for a spark to cause a fire. This decision has been effective September 5, 2012. There will be no unnecessary travel over the range except to care and feed the wild horses. This means we are honoring Tour Reservations that were already made and on the schedule and will eliminate all Two Hour Guided Bus Tour. All Tours will be by Reservation Only. The Gift Shop will be open and Visitors can still purchase gifts to help support the wild horses. Effective October 14 our Gift Shop will be closed on Sunday and open Monday-Saturday.
So far this year we have had three fires on the Sanctuary land. The firefighters, helicopters, slurry bombers and fire trucks came in and put the fires out. No wild or domestic horses were ever in danger as we made sure the safety of the animals was always the first priority.
This country is high desert and has not had over 12 -15 inches of rain per year since the climate changed millions of years ago and the tropical rainforest turned into desert. This year the rainfall averages have only been five inches and the hay crops were destroyed by wind, heat, hail, and grasshoppers.
Wild Horses Need Donations for Winter Hay
Hay prices have soared to $275 a ton. Yes, we are in a critical hay shortage, not only on the sanctuary but in the region because of the drought . We have to buy our hay NOW or there won't be hay to buy later!!!!! Our wild horses need at least 1000 tons of hay for winter feeding.
Donations are needed now to purchase hay to feed the wild horses for the days ahead until next year when our chances of moisture occur again.
Kind and caring people that would like to make donations for hay can do so by clicking on the Hay Donation button, donations by mail or calling 1-800-252-6652