Hoeven: Interior Deputy Secretary Nominee Commits to Work on Genetic Diversity for TRNP Wild Horses

After Securing Agreement to Maintain Horses at TR National Park, Senator Continues Efforts to Ensure Healthy Herd

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today, Senator John Hoeven secured a commitment from Shannon Estenoz, the nominee to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Interior, to work with him, National Park Service (NPS) officials and local stakeholders to ensure the genetic diversity and health of the wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). This follows Hoeven’s successful efforts calling on NPS to terminate its proposed removal of horses at TRNP under the environmental assessment (EA) process initiated in 2022.

            “We worked hard to maintain the horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, consistent with the public’s wishes and the historic scene of the region,” said Hoeven. “Moving forward, we need the Park Service to adopt policies that ensure a large enough herd that is healthy and genetically diverse. I appreciate Ms. Estenoz’s commitment to work with us on this priority, so that this important aspect of the park is preserved to benefit visitors and local residents for years to come.”

Maintaining the Wild Horses

            Earlier this year, Hoeven announced he had reached an agreement with NPS to maintain TRNP’s wild horses. To this end, the senator had worked to:

  • As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, pass a provision in annual funding legislation directing NPS to maintain “the historic scene commensurate with the historic herds during the period when President Theodore Roosevelt was a rancher in the area.”
  • Secure a 30-day extension of the public comment period on the agency’s proposed options for managing the herd, giving the public additional time to submit feedback to the agency.
  • Advance this priority with NPS officials, including Director Charles Sams, Midwest Regional Director Bert Frost and TRNP Superintendent Angie Richman.
    • The senator repeatedly pressed NPS to strongly consider the broad public support expressed by North Dakotans and other stakeholders for maintaining the wild horses.