BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Governor Doug Burgum is urging National Park Service (NPS) Director Charles Sams to allow wild horses to remain at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP), stressing their importance to the state’s tourism industry and their deep historical and cultural connections to the park and Roosevelt himself.

According to a press release, Burgum spoke on the phone today with Sams regarding the proposed management plan for the less than 200 wild horses in the national park’s South Unit and 12 longhorn cattle in the North Unit.

The NPS has indicated its preferred plan for managing the wild horses involves gradually reducing the herd to zero, a plan the governor opposes.

The NPS’s public comment period closed on Tuesday, Jan. 31. The agency says it will update its proposed management alternatives based on the public input and then provide additional opportunity for public engagement and comment on its environmental assessment this coming summer. Sams said he would take the input from today’s meeting into consideration.

North Dakota legislators also are considering a resolution urging the NPS to preserve the wild horses and longhorns in the park and the U.S. Congress to assist with the preservation.