The Bronson Forest wild ponies are now safe, but the protection plan is for ponies only, says Allison Wall in a post for the Meridian Booster.
The wild ponies of the Bronson Forest are now safe, but protected area status for the region is a different issue.
Late last week the Saskatchewan government passed Bill 606 to protect the wild ponies of the Bronson Forest, with the new law stating ‘No persons shall in any way willfully molest, interfere with, capture or kill any of the wild ponies of the Bronson Forest.’
“We are happy we have now protection on the ponies of the Bronson Forest,” said Saskatchewan MLA Tim McMillan in an interview with the Booster. “It was … a lot of work to get to that point and to get it passed was I think a very good thing for our area of the province.”
In recent years, Saskatchewan residents have pressured both the Saskatchewan and federal governments for protected area status, and a variety of groups have expressed significant interest in the developing it as a tourist location.
Since being elected more than two years ago, McMillan said he has never been approached with a proposal for protected area status.
“I don’t want to say that I wouldn’t look at anything because if it’s good for the province absolutely, but I know that currently those horses are living in fantastic environment that is being utilized by many other interest groups that are all getting along very well, and … there would be questions why would you want to change that,” said McMillan. “It’s being used by ranchers that are utilizing it for grass and feed and trappers and hunters (are using it too). I think that any plan … would have substantial hurdles because of those issues.”
But McMillan said the process with Bill 606 has been very positive.
“The number of people from across Saskatchewan that didn’t even know about our wild horses was shocking to me, and even locally I’ve got a lot of people that have contacted me and said ‘this is great, this needs to be done, but the truth is I didn’t even know we had them,’ so I think that they got a little more exposure and will probably have a few more tourists out to look at them in the coming years,” he said.
Related Reading from CBC News, Canada:
- Law passed to protect wild ponies, 26 Nov 2009
- No quick vote on pony protection law, 12 Nov 2009
- Bill to protect Saskatchewan’s wild ponies introduced, 5 Nov 2009