lLillian was born in Graystone, Colorado, which is west of Sand Wash Basin, and raised at Cross Mountain, just south of Sand Wash Basin.
She shares so many wonderful stories I thought I would share one here.
When she was a child they raised chickens and her job was to feed them. She would take a dishtowel out with her to chase away the Greater Sage Grouse while she feed the chickens. She said the Greater Sage Grouse were everywhere. She said there were so many that when they flew off they would block out the sun!
We often see Greater Sage Grouse in the Basin, and it feels like there are tons. After listening to her story I realized that, even though we have a lot in the area, the numbers are not anywhere near what they were 100 years ago.
If you have read the Range Management Plan for Sand Wash Basin, you can see that the "powers that be" understood the decline in the Greater Sage Grouse numbers. That is why everything that happens in the Basin is really about the Greater Sage Grouse. Yes it is a Herd Management Area, and yes the Wild Horses are protected. The difference is that if the numbers of Greater Sage Grouse decline to the point of them being put on the Endangered List it brings with it a ton of new regulations to help increase their numbers.
I have spent a lot of time talking to the BLM about this, and no I don't really agree with the Greater Sage Grouse's importance, but after talking to my friend I have a new understanding of the changes that have occurred in her lifetime, and why "the powers to be" were concerned.
I wish the issues in Sand Wash Basin with the wild horses were simple, but the more I learn the more complex I find the issues really are.