An Open Letter to Congress

August 12, 2015

Dear Senators Flake and McCain; Congressmen Franks, Gallego, Gosar, Grijalva, Salmon and Schweikert; and Congresswomen Kirkpatrick, McSally and Sinema:

For 90 years, Arizona Highways has celebrated the beauty of our state, and so much of that coverage has been from our wild places — the forests, rivers, lakes, deserts and canyons that cut across our landscape and provide the geographical and biological diversity that makes Arizona one of the most incredible states in the country.

But we're afraid.

With greater and greater frequency, we see threats to our public lands and wild spaces — the proposed development of the Grand Canyon, the mining of sacred spaces and, with the U.S. Forest Service’s recent announcement about roundup plans for the wild horses of the Salt River, the removal of wild, free, peaceful animals from their rightful range.

There are more threats, epidemic threats.

Just as so many of Arizona’s citizens have in the past week, Arizona Highways implores the Forest Service and you, our representatives, to be the stewards of the land that you are charged by duty to be. That means being stewards of the wild horses that roam the Tonto National Forest along the Salt River. Please hear the voices of the people who have joined the movement to protect these iconic Arizona animals and work with experts to devise a comprehensive, humane management plan for the Salt River horses.

You have a chance to halt the epidemic. Protect Arizona’s wild spaces by protecting the wild things in them.

Please listen to the people of Arizona so they and generations after them will have something left — a wild space where their own wild hearts, minds and spirits can go to run.


The editorial staff of Arizona Highways magazine


Thank You Arizona Highways Magazine. I have been taking photographs of these magnificent animals since 2010. I see the family unity in the bands of horses. I see the mares tend to there newborns. I see the stallions protect the bands. when I read that horses don't belong in the desert I wonder if that is the person that leaves their trash, on the ground, in the campground, in the river etc. My girlfriend and I remove other peoples trash all the time. Our horse loving friends can be seen frequently removing the trash that humans leave behind. I thank God, Mother Nature for the privilege of seeing these horses.

I request that you make it a law that these horses will be protected in their current location on the Salt River and not moved or disturbed in any way. They should remain there for the public to view and appreciate them.

Horses have been used for a long time for those who are emotionally distraught, like PTSD people coming back from war. Here at the Salt River many can visit and feel their love. That's why there's such an uproar! These horses are therapy for many!!!

Please allow these beautiful, spiritual animals to remain in their natural habitat along the Salt River and surrounding desert where they have thrived for many generations. They bring pleasure and peace to many who observe them. Thank you Arizona Highways for supporting the Wild Horses.

Killing horses is tricky, they do not die in the same way as cattle. They are much more difficult to kill, so are often butchered while still alive. Especially in the slaughterhouses of Mexico. Pls do not round them up and take them there. Leave OUR American horses alone!!! They deserve to live, with their families in Peace.

For too long America's wild horses have been called anything but. They've been called Farrell, strength, escape livestock, and even test and rats by ranchers & often times government employees. after witnessing tens of thousands of wild horses rounded up year after year, I'm certainly glad to see that there is a large enough gathering of people taking a stand against removing this special herd. There's plenty of room across America for all the wild horses. The war on America's Horses needs to come to a stop. Finally it is time to listen to groups of people who have alternatives for these magnificent animals to maintain their homes. Thank you Arizona Highways Magazine.

They've been called feral, strays, pests and escaped livestock.... and even pests and rats.... Thank you

Please leave the horses alone. There are babies as well.... I've heard of a round up and taking them to slaughter being told.... Horses are such gentle giants... These horses need to be left alone. We, as humans, are so selfish and already have enough. Why do we have to take their home too? Would you like to be rounded up and taken away from yours? Let them be so us Arizonans, and visitors, can enjoy them for more years to come. Thank you.

The Salt River Herd of horses is perhaps the best known of the state. If you take the time to look on Arizona Highways social media and you will see the evidence of that is overwhelming. Start educating people visiting and living in the state of Arizona, Wild means wild and our wild lands are not petting zoos. We should not have to move wild life and sell it off to stop litigation resulting from uneducated behavior. Thank you.

Please protect these National Treasures! They have every right to roam free has they have for generations! They have been able to care for themselves for generations also! Thank you for your help.

As collectors of Native American Art, our family has always had stacks of Arizona Highway magazines. Going back to the early travel editions, through the 1970's turquoise jewelry revival to the current editions. How refreshing to see Arizona Highways join the Salt River Horse defense! There is hardly a more beautiful sight to represent than these wonderfully adapted horses splashing in the Salt River! Thank You, Arizona Highways for bringing the beautiful American Southwest into our living rooms, all these years'

Thank you, Arizona Highways for your poignant message to our leaders. While I know none of the facts, nor the research, or lack thereof, behind the decisions made by our Forest Service, or legislators, I do know there are two sides to every story. I implore you, as a publication that has always shown the beauty and diversity of our state, to do the investigation necessary to reveal the truth, facts, politics and research behind these and future decisions. Our family has been in Arizona for 5 generations, and I pray we will have a government and community that can come together and end the "sale" of our beautiful lands and unique ecosystem. Once it is gone, it will never return. Never. The responsibility to be good stewards of the land falls squarely on all of our shoulders. Please use your literary voice to protect our great state!

I'm a resident of New Jersey, I was asked by a friend to support this cause because it affects free roaming animals. Here in New Jersey because of over development, we now have bears, coyotes, and deer roaming in residential area's causing damage to personal property, and being killed by cars and residents because they are being forced out of their natural habitat. I implore the State of Arizona not to do the same with these majestic horses. They have been here much longer than most residents, but don't have a voice of their own to defend themselves. Please don't let another part of American Culture become non-existent. Thank You for your cooperation.

Thank you for your letter, I attended the news conference at Butcher Jones Beach. I was very happy to see how many people came at the last minute and in the heat. The other points are on target, I am afraid the beauty of our state is taken for granted. I would like to add that Jack Dykinga is my favorite photographer! Virginia Woolf Mesa, AZ

as an old Arizona native, I've seen lots is changes and mostly disappointing ones. These are our sacred lands use them tenderly, protect them, don't sell them off to the highest bidder please

Thank you, Arizona Highways, for taking up the cause of the future of the wild horses in Salt River Canyon. They are a part of Arizona's heritage and should be protected.

As a former Arizona resident, I was appalled to hear that these animals were in danger of being removed from their home! Reading these heartfelt letters, it's obvious that the majority has spoken... The People want the Salt River wild horses to not only be allowed to remain free, they want them PROTECTED! Please do what we ask... It's the right thing to do and the government does so little of that lately! Thanks, Arizona Highways for standing by these iconic wild horses!

Ms. Frost clearly write without checking into her subject. Sounds like another typical journalist with an agenda. We in the Verde Valley do not want the monument designation for our community and it has been voted down and law now protects from this land grab by a bunch of overzealous liberals intent on ruling our communities. Next time, Ms. Frost, do your research.


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