I was asked that question by the New York Times videographer Clare Major as she was held back at the “public observation” area and not given the same access as her colleagues just days before.
I let her know that even though I had submitted press credentials prior to the gather, and was present the day her colleagues were there, yet I was NOT allowed access. That on the day she was there my editor, Steven Long of Horseback, had resubmitted what BLM now called credentials and if she got access… so would the Team from Horseback.
That day only two horses were gathered. Two geldings from a supposed previous gather that I have not seen since.
Here is the NYTimes video:
Here is mine.
I finally did get access. But it took me 12 days and an awful lot of gymnastics. I still have not been allowed to approach the gather pens that the Times footage shows they did. 12 day… it took the NYTimes 24 hours.
During that twelve days Jeff Fontana (BLM) and I had a dialogue that began every morning that started like this… “So Jeff, let’s start the dance.” I have to say that Jeff was in a tough spot. He had pressure from every side, but he continued to try. That’s more than I can say for most Field Offices.
This week we are back in Nevada… no more California.
Tom Gorey of the BLM has been out here. He said he is going to work on a National observation protocol and try to use California as a model. Yet of course he added the “disclaimer” that it “will take time.”
Time we don’t have. Not with the current “I know the brakes don’t work but I’m hitting the gas anyway” mentality in the bureau right now. If this years gather schedule completes and what we see shaping up for 2011… Salazar will have pushed his “few treasured herds” proposal through without Congressional approval.
We NEED this protocol to STOP. A Moratorium MUST accompany any study done on a 30 year old program based on guesswork that has flawed data plugged in to create irreversible damage to our symbol of American Freedom.