Press Release on Muddy Creek & Sinbad HMA’s, Utah…Fight for Wild Horses & Burros to Have Water

June 6, 2020
By Val Cecama-Hogsett

Gus Warr, BLM’s UT Wild Horse & Burro Specialist, recently gave CAES a list of alleged natural water sources for wild horses & burros on the Muddy Creek and Sinbad HMA’s in UT.

You can see this rock tank, which is not accessible to horses and burros, is not very big, and certainly doesn’t hold enough water for 40 horses/burros.

We were not given GPS coordinates, but only names of these water holes, such as Cistern Canyon, we located them on maps ourselves and these photos are some of those that we found.
Cistern canyon 3
Our hikers had to crawl to get back up out of a slot canyon which was on the list. This rock is brittle and breaks away easily underfoot. It is not accessible to horses and burros (especially with foals).
Cistern Canyon2
It’s interesting that BLM threatened removal of the wild horses and/or burros IF the tanks weren’t removed. However, as you can see, this water source is ridiculously treacherous to get to by humans, let alone wild horses and burros (whether they have foals at their side or not). It goes straight down and rock deposits literally break away underfoot.
rock tank June 2020
While this kind of water source may be accessible to other hooved animals such as antelope and bighorn sheep, non-native cattle would never be expected to descend such deadly crevices in search of water. (Can you imagine…falling cows in the canyon???) It really sounds quite absurd, doesn’t it?
size comparison cistern
Which brings us to the entire reason that several of the 44 Muddy Creek wild horses and approximately 40 Sinbad burros were in the areas where cattle were (before they were removed) BECAUSE they were accustomed to accessing water PROVIDED by man to the cattle, in the form of a man-made dredge pond (dirt tank), or an old corroded water tank.
The BLM in their “Press Release” claims CAES is causing the wild horses & burros not to roam by providing artificial water sources, which are next to the artificial water sources that had, for months been provided by BLM/ranchers, and utilized by wildlife and cows. Was this not causing the horses and burros to depend on that water and not roam?
Why now does BLM not want the horses and burros in that particular area? Because the rancher wants to forage to grow for the next time his cows are there?
We know this has been going on for several years, not just the recent years that CAES has been documenting this area. Part of the heated issue between CAES and the BLM is that we have exposed this poor management for our wild horses and burros which heavily favors livestock.
What you see in these photos is what is called slot canyons. They are not being accessed by any horse or burro. Unlike places such as the Grand Canyon, where tourists may have ridden burros, here there are no trails. This indicates that these wild horses & burros instinctively know these vertical walls are too steep or unsafe for them to attempt.


Additionally, they are the first places that flood when the thunderstorms and monsoons begin. This excerpt was issued for part of Colorado and Utah just today (6-6-2020) by “The flash flood threat will be greatest across slot canyons, slick rock areas, normally dry washes, small streams in steep terrain…”
BLM is claiming the horses and burros have water, which tells us that there is no way they can remove them claiming drought. Also, they fall well under the appropriate management level. (Muddy Creek AML is 75 – 125, and Sinbad AML is 50 – 70) So the BLM should not use either of these reasons to claim they need to remove them.
Rather than being willing to work with us, as Gus Warr told people, they threaten us with legal actions, demanding we remove water tanks.


BLM instead worries about the perception of you, the public, and the number of calls they’re getting complaints about the water situation. Their response is to put out a “Press Release” with inaccurate and misleading information. They have not removed tanks, and are still demanding we do. And they tell you that there is water out there, but neglect to tell you that it is not safely accessible for these wild horses and burros.
While there was rain today where some of the wild horses/burros are you can see it only left a small bit of mud amidst the parched, cracked earth, in what was a man-made dredge pond (dirt tank) for the cattle, before they were removed.


We could not have saved lives without all of your support. It is really important that we continue providing water until the monsoon season. We should be issued a permit to do so if that is what BLM requires for us to provide this lifesaving water unless BLM wants to do the job themselves.

You can help by sharing this Press Release, with true and accurate information. You can volunteer to be part of the ground crew, or you can donate to CAES general fund for work like this and other work we do for wild horses & burros.

Most of all we just thank you for being part of the village it has taken to save these majestic, sentient beings.

2 thoughts on “Press Release on Muddy Creek & Sinbad HMA’s, Utah…Fight for Wild Horses & Burros to Have Water

  1. Great boots on the ground efforts! Amazing, invaluable volunteers. Great documentation! You are TRUE wild horse and burro advocates, CAES. Let this level of dedication be the standard by which others are measured.

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