ELKO — In a coast-to-coast ride, cowboys hope to deliver a message to Washington, D.C., aimed at drawing attention to federal overreach on public lands.
On behalf of Elko County residents, commissioners submitted a resolution Thursday to be included in the journey that will begin in Point Reyes, California, around Sept. 26 and end about 20 days later at the Capitol. The event was organized by Commissioner Grant Gerber in response to the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to temporarily close grazing on areas of the Argenta Allotment due to severe drought.
Gerber said the theme of the 2,800-mile ride, which is to be completed with multiple riders covering five miles at a time, is “Regulation without representation is tyranny.”
Gerber said he hopes the outcome will be an increase in local voices for public land decisions.
“It’s extremely serious, but we’re trying to make it fun as we go,” he said.
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The resolution, drafted by Gerber and Commissioner Jeff Williams, touches on a range of land topics: water rights, raven’s protected status, and wild horse overcrowding, among them.
In its early draft, the resolution called for the BLM to allow the county to round up overpopulated horse management areas to be sold for slaughter.
The language was changed at the request of Commissioner Demar Dahl, asking the BLM to gather excess horses to be sold at auction as allowed by the Wild Horse and Burro Act.
Gerber said the route will follow beside freeways and on frontage roads. He has contacted state governments and highway patrol units to assure safe passage. A few vehicles will follow along the ride, and a veterinarian agreed to assist, as well.
“We’ll be riding from 13 to 24 hours depending on the moon and such. I expect most of the time we’ll be looking at (riding) 15, 16, 17 hours,” he said.
Information can be found at www.grassmarchcowboyexpress.com.