MEDORA, N.D. (KXNET) — Senator John Hoeven, this week, requested the National Park Service to extend the deadline for public comment on the park’s proposed options for managing the wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
The comment period is set to close on October 25, but Senator Hoeven requested an additional 30 days. The agency agreed to extend the comment deadline to November 24.
He says the extra time will allow the public to truly evaluate the environmental assessment, and give meaningful feedback.
“Which is reasonable because people need to be able to provide their comments,” said Sen. Hoeven.
Wild Horse advocate Chris Kman says this extension is important.
“Because the park has not made all of the documents they cited in the draft environmental assessment available to the public. They did give us just about 80 different documents, but there are still some that people can’t view because they’re behind paywalls and everyone should have the chance to look at all the information that went into this draft environmental assessment,” said Kman.
But, the park’s Superintendent, Angie Richman says otherwise.
“There was one document that was referenced that was an internal deliberative document that was accidentally referenced and uploaded and so we have removed that one document, but the remaining, you know, there’s about 100 references that we used and the rest of them are all still there for people to review,” said Richman.
Senator Hoeven, along with many other supporters, continue to push back on efforts to remove the horses. He says the wild horses should be maintained in herds consistent with the period when Theodore Roosevelt was a rancher in North Dakota.
“What I’m hearing very clearly from people is they want the horses in the park and I’m very committed to working to make sure that we can keep horses in Theodore Roosevelts National Park,” said Sen. Hoeven.
Richman says she encourages the public to read the entire assessment.
“There are some misconceptions out there, one of which is that we are killing the horses, which is not our intent. And so when people provide comment on information that’s not actually provided in the environmental assessment, it’s that those are not comments that are gonna be as helpful for us,” said Richman
Kman says she does not feel hopeful at all.
“Because the park has pretty much stated that they aren’t going to keep any horses in the park. It shows no matter what, no matter what suggested they’ve got an answer for how and why they won’t be allowing the horses to stay up to and including if a judge says that they have to keep them,” said Kman.
This is a developing story.
Wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park have existed in the park for decades, consistent with the historic scene during Theodore Roosevelt’s time in North Dakota.