County facing wild horse issues at parks, neighborhoods

wild horses in town

Wild horses and humans can live together in the same general area. We humans just have to respect the fact that horses …are horses. Usually wild horses …and other wild life stray onto our lands when we have taken over their land. ~ HfH

From: Reno Gazette Journal
By: Keith Trout

wild horses in town

Keith Trout/Mason Valley News Wild horses stand around in front of a commercial building south of Fernley and north of the Tiger Field airport last Thursday afternoon. Between 5-10 horses were there.(Photo: Keith Trout/Mason Valley News)

Although it hoped some actions last year would prevent problems in county parks from wild horses entering them, Lyon County still has seen some incidents regarding the public, wild horses and parks.

Lyon County Public Works director Mike Workman said the county took some steps, including fencing parks in Stagecoach and Silver City, last year to cut down on problems from wild horses at those parks. He noted people still would take steps to allow horses to enter the parks.

This year, though, he said those actions continue. He said in Stagecoach, people were taking actions so horses could still enter the parks, where manure left and other incidents have caused problems in parks. He said some people would damage the actual gate mechanism hardware — like using a rock or stick — so the gates wouldn’t close as easy or they appeared to use vehicles to drives against the posts to bend the gate post so the gates could not close.

He said they try to keep the gates closed to keep horses out of the parks, where they have done some damage to the turf in the parks and to the irrigation systems in the past. He said the horses also like to gather under shade shelters and sometimes leave a mess of manure in those places.

Workman said one difference it appears this summer with the wild horses is that they are more frequent in residential neighborhood areas, especially in Dayton, such as in the Sutro subdivision area.

Workman reported this situation at the Aug. 7 Lyon County Board of Commissioners meeting and Commissioner Bob Hastings, who lives in that subdivision area, said he has only had to mow his front lawn once this summer. Commissioner Vida Keller said she has opened the front door of her Silver Springs home and found five or six horses near her front door.

She said they appear fairly domesticated, as they don’t seem to fear humans in that close contact. Keller said in that instance they only slowly walked away.

Board Chairman Joe Mortensen said apparently they have problems with wild horses in the Sage Valley area of Fernley.

Regarding the instances of actions taken at Stagecoach’s Pioneer Park, Workman spoke at the Aug. 6 Stagecoach Advisory Board meeting about it and asked the board and public if they could keep an eye out at the park in an effort to prevent the actions taken at the park and keep the gates closed.

He said he also planned to speak with Willis Lamm of Stagecoach, who is involved in a wild horse advocacy group to see if he has any suggestions. Workman said Lamm also apparently knew some people who live near the park who could keep an eye out in an effort to keep the park gates closed.

Workman said they have gotten quite a few complaints about horse droppings in residential areas on streets and sidewalks. He said they will send the street sweeper in those areas when they can, but that only helps with streets and they don’t have the manpower to come out and clean up sidewalks and other private property.

Another area they have been found in Dayton is in the Six Mile Canyon Road area, besides also in Stagecoach and Silver Springs.

They are often seen south of the populated areas of Fernley, including last week just north of the Tiger Field airport in Fernley, near some commercial structures.

This is an ongoing problem Workman said, one they also saw last year, but it seems possibly to be more prevalent in residential neighborhoods this year. He said the problem seems to decrease in the fall.

He said Public Works was asked at the Dayton Regional Advisory Board meeting what it could do to stop the issue of wild horses in the residential areas, and he said really nothing. “There’s not much we can do,” as they can’t really block access from the BLM open spaces, for example, he said.

He said wild horses are handled either by the Nevada Department of Agriculture or the BLM, and it depends on which side of the Carson River the horses come from. “We don’t have staff to manage horses.”

Wild horses have also been seen in the Rolling “A” open space park area in eastern Dayton Valley, Workman said. He said they are in the process of trying to add some more fencing in that county-owned area, but it won’t be done until the fall.

He said wild horses have disturbed some areas where they recently planted some native grasses or re-seeded some areas in the Rolling “A” area, and the horses have had a negative impact on the efforts for the native grasses.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
6 Comments
  • arlene

    I agree 100%, if wild Mustangs are in areas where they usually are not it is because they are hungry or thirsty, we pay the BLM to do food drops or deliver them water in times of need, obiously are not doing theier job , fired these corrupt morons…….

    August 14, 2014
  • Judith Keene

    Geez, didnt it ever occur to anyone in those areas that the horses just might be trying to find out where they belong anymore? With those stupid helicopters always running the herds out of the lands they have for centuries occupied, they are just trying to find a place where they can belong. If the BLM and cattle ranchers would just leave the horses alone, they would probably go back to the wide open spaces and away from the towns! Also, there are probably some people that feed them and they are enticed by the rich green lawns around homes and buildings, especially when there is such a great drought in the hills.

    August 14, 2014
  • Daryl

    The key words are when we take over their land.
    We all can live together, and yes you have to respect that the horses are wild and treat them as suck. We are the ones who came in to their land some for get this.

    August 14, 2014
  • maggie TX

    horse manure is good for lawns and it is biodegradable will wash away with a good rain. Why is everyone so concerned with the horse poop?

    August 15, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    We sure ARE taking over their land! Just like any wild animal – they adapt when they have to. People who move “to the country” & are surprised when the animals that already lived there ARE there living the same way they always did – eating grass (& plants) & pooping without checking to see if they are disturbing the new residents – what do they THINK? I live in NY – out of town – not as country as it used to be – but I LOVE seeing the deer, rabbits, chipmunks, turkeys – that’s why I live where I do. Just like many people out West – that’s why they live there! Anyone who is so concerned with horse poop – needs to move back to the city!

    August 15, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    Oh yes – the deer do now & then eat my flowers – but then I try to find some they don’t like! And the chipmunks really find my little flower garden so much easier to tunnel in – but that’s the way it is!

    August 15, 2014