Advocates for wild horses and representatives of Comstock Mining Co. met and welcomed the new Carson City district manager for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Tuesday.
The wild-horse advocates and a delegation from Comstock in Virginia City were among nearly 50 people who showed up to meet Bernadette Lovato in the 5-7 p.m. session at the district offices, at 5665 Moran Hill Road just off Deer Run Road near the city’s east edge.
“She’s a wonderful lady,” Lacy Sheck, one of a trio forming the Deer Run Wild Horse Preservation Group, said of her impression of Lovato. “She looked us in the eye and was straight up.”
Sheck said Lovato pledged to meet with members of the horse-preservation group, which this year purchased 11 wild horses from the BLM after a roundup. Sheck and Michelle Miller, also in the group, said they bought the horses at auction for $80 to $120 each to keep them alive.
The group is filing 501 (c)(3) paperwork to form a nonprofit and continue the work.
The pair said they are working with Annie Jantzen, coordinator for the prospective nonprofit, and raised the money to purchase the horses from most of the 125 or so people who live along Deer Run Road.
Sheck also said she was concerned horses will return to the area because people feed them, even though it is against the law, as well as due to drought as summer progresses. She said her group’s members are like the wild horses in Nevada.
“We are not going away,” she said.
Also impressed with Lovato, who chatted informally with anyone who showed up rather than speak formally, was the head of the contingent from Comstock Mining Co. He is Corrado De Gasperis, Comstock’s president and CEO.
De Gasperis, after his time with the BLM manager, called her knowledgeable and methodical. He said she “appreciates the special history up at the Comstock.”
The mining company and the Comstock Residents Association have had some disagreements about mining in the area, which at one point included disputes over Comstock using roads and streets for hauling while BLM and Comstock worked through issues regarding Comstock using another route on BLM land.
The event’s sign-in sheet revealed that various stakeholders or representatives from the public and private sectors showed for the two-hour event.
Included were state Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, Carson City Parks and Recreation Director Roger Moellendorf and representatives from NV Energy, the Lyon County Commission, the offices of U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund.
Lovato came to Carson City from the Bishop, Calif., BLM office. In her new role, she will oversee more than 100 employees and 4.8 million acres of federal public lands in eastern California.