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BLM set to capture 300 Beatty burros

There may be gold in the hills around Beatty, but one thing there is way too much of, according to Tim Coward, is wild burro population.

Coward, Field Manager of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s field office in Tonopah, attended the June 11 Beatty Town Advisory Board meeting to give a report on the agency’s activities in the area.

He spoke briefly about the various gold exploration projects companies are conducting in the area and said that at least one, Rockford Mining, which is working in Fluorspar Canyon, appears to be moving toward mining operations.

As for the burros, Coward said that the maximum number of wild burros the management area is supposed to have is 91 and that the current estimated population of the animals is 700 to 800. The allowable number has to do with protection of native vegetation and desert tortoise habitat, as well as the ability of the desert to provide adequate water and forage for the animals.

The bureau will be setting trap pens in July to capture 300 burros, which will be transported to a holding facility in Utah, where they will be available for adoption. This will, of course, not reduce the population to the desired maximum, but will provide some relief.

Coward also said that the bureau will be looking to improving some springs in areas away of town to help provide water and vegetation for the animals.

He also spoke briefly about off-road races scheduled in the area, and Donald Jackson of Best in the Desert Racing was on hand to seek the board’s blessing, which he got, for the “Vegas to Reno” event in August, and the Pahrump Nugget race in December.

Board member Randy Reed did have one concern regarding post-race grading of the race course. He said that the grading after last year’s race left such high berms at the entrance of side roads off the course that he could not get over them with his vehicle. He wanted to make sure that this was taken care of this time.

Sheriff Sharon Wehrly appeared before the board to seek approval of her plan for expending Public Safety Sales Tax funds. Much of it was planned for reoccurring costs for equipment, with some set aside for overtime for a deputy in Beatty.

After some discussion, the board voted 4-1 to approve an amended version of the plan, with the nay vote coming from board treasurer Erika Gerling.

Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.

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