The Tres Rios Field Office in Dolores, Colo., has honored Pati and David Temple with an award that recognizes their dedication during the last 15 years to the mustangs of Spring Creek Basin.
In 1997, Pati and David joined the board of the newly formed Colorado chapter of the National Mustang Association. They have served continuously on the board since then.
Some major projects have been completed in Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area at Pati and David’s urging:
* The water catchment in the basin was funded by NMA/CO – about $18,000. Although there are several ponds and seeps/springs, the catchment provides the horses with the only clean water source in Spring Creek Basin (the others being, at the least, very salty because of the alkaline soil).
* About a decade ago, NMA/CO raised $40,000 to buy cattle AUMs from a rancher who held grazing rights in the basin and, after a five-year struggle, succeeded in retiring those AUMs. Not only that, a grazing EA was prompted, which reduced the remaining AUMs and changed the grazing season to dormant-season grazing only (Dec. 1 until Feb. 28). The National Mustang Association, based in Utah, was instrumental in finally accomplishing this goal.
* Because of Pati and David, magazine subscriptions, horsemanship training videos and countless pairs of boots have been donated by NMA/CO to the inmate training program at the Canon City prison facility, where BLM has a short-term holding facility.
* Pati and David have assisted with the removal of old fences and wire from within the basin as well as construction of new boundary fences and the repair and maintenance of fences.
* For close to a decade, San Juan Mountains Association has hosted University of Missouri students during alternative spring break, which has included projects in the basin. David is an arborist, and NMA/CO regularly has funded chemical spray (Garlon) for tamarisk removal. David (pictured below at right) also has volunteered his time and expertise to help with eradication efforts.
* Because of Pati’s single-minded determination and her refusal to give up on him, when Grey/Traveler was sent to Canon City at the end of the 2007 roundup, we got him back. Pati and David hosted him at their ranch for three weeks (quarantine) until he could be returned to Spring Creek Basin (pictured below). Long-time readers of this blog will know that he not only rebuilt a band, he has the largest band in the basin at the tender age of “aged,” as aged at the last (2011) roundup.
* Pati and David represent NMA/CO in our coalition advocacy group Disappointment Wild Bunch Partners. They bring to Wild Bunch – and BLM – all their historical knowledge of BLM management of Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area, as well as modern visions that fit with our advocacy goals, which they use to encourage new projects to benefit the horses. With the previous herd manager, one project Pati and David suggested and we convinced BLM to undertake was digging out ponds to increase storage capacity. Some hadn’t been dug out since the 1980s. In 2009, two ponds were dug out. In 2010, three ponds were dug out. In 2012, three ponds were dug out. All but two ponds in the basin have been dug out, and at least one of those still is on the priority list to BE dug out. Currently, in a desperately dry year, all but three ponds have water. To further illustrate how impressive this is – how visionary – ranchers throughout the region are hauling water to their cattle because water sources on their grazing allotments are dry.
* Also as members of Wild Bunch, Pati and David are an integral part of the partnership with BLM that resulted in the Tres Rios Field Office being awarded $25,000 as part of the Director’s Challenge this year.
* NMA/CO always has championed the use of fertility control. In 2007, NMA/CO paid for five doses of PZP-22 to be administered to the released mares. In 2010, NMA/CO signed on to the proposal submitted to BLM for the implementation of a program to use native PZP in Spring Creek Basin to slow population growth and reduce the need for frequent roundups. Also in 2010, NMA/CO paid for my PZP training at the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Mont. Then they paid for the darting rifle. When fertility control using native PZP was approved for the Spring Creek Basin herd ahead of the 2011 roundup, we were ready to volunteer.
* Pati and David have adopted several mustangs over many years (including those they’re riding in the photo of the plaque above). In 2011, they adopted yearling Rio (Grey/Traveler or Twister x Two Boots) and renamed him Sherwood, in honor of one of the founding members of NMA/CO. Pati is a genius at groundwork, and at 2 years old, Sherwood loads readily into a trailer and accepts a cinched saddle, among other things.
* In 2012, Hollywood and Piedra had a filly. She was named Temple in honor of Pati and David.
Pati and David are true mustang angels in every sense of the words. Their passion about and commitment to mustangs, particularly Spring Creek Basin mustangs, is legendary in our part of the world. Personally, I am grateful to Pati and David a million-fold for their support and friendship. Their work has laid the foundation for the excellent health of the herd today and into the future. This list hits just the highlights, but I hope it conveys how inspiring they are and should be to mustang advocates everywhere. In addition, they are two of the nicest, most generous people you’ll ever know.
The plaque reads: Presented to David and Pati Temple. Thank you for your many years of unselfish commitment and dedication to the Spring Creek Basin Wild Horses and the Herd Management Area. The support that you have provided to the BLM has been invaluable to the long-term goal of a sustainable and healthy herd area in Disappointment Valley. Without your devotion to the horses, advocacy, hard work and persistence, many maintenance, enhancement and fertility control projects would not have been accomplished. November 2012. Bureau of Land Management Tres Rios Field Office.
The photo on the plaque, taken by Durango photographer Claude Steelman and featured in his book Colorado’s Wild Horses, shows Pati on Bandolier and David on Concho, their Sulphur Springs mustangs.
With appreciation beyond words and always grateful for you both, thank you, Pati and David, for your generosity, commitment and passion. It is contagious and has infected us all! And thank you, Tres Rios, for honoring Pati and David for all they have done for our mustangs.