Mesa Verde National Park denies public access to horse roundup

The Journal (Cortez): Planning has begun on a roundup of “trespass” horses at Mesa Verde National Park, and a public adoption process will follow. But the park has denied a request by The Journal to report on and document the roundup process.

Other horse roundups on federal land have included public and media viewing areas, and courts have ruled that media have a First Amendment right to witness federal government activities.

Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer banned media coverage of the roundup in an email April 24, stating that roundup representatives informed him they did not want anyone not involved in the roundup to be present because “the distraction would negatively affect the behavior of horses.”

The park is drawing up a memorandum of understanding with the Colorado Chapter of National Mustang Association, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit, to assist with the roundup and conduct the adoption process. And Tim McGaffic, an expert in low-stress roundup techniques, has been contacted by the park to run the roundup.

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