Indigenous people called area the “Smiles of the Gods” but settlers named it Devil’s Garden

Ponderosa Pines in spring on Devil's Garden.

Where the wild ones live

The Devil’s Garden lies in the heart of the Modoc Plateau, according to the Forest Service. The Modoc Plateau is a mile-high expansive prehistoric lava flow, with areas of sparse vegetation, rough broken lava rock, juniper trees, and sagebrush flats in a semi-arid region covering about a half-million acres. The plateau is thought to have been formed approximately 25 million years ago. The name Devil’s Garden was given to the area when the first European settlers traveled to this region in the 1800’s. In contrast, the Native people called the area, “The Smiles of Gods”.

While it’s dry most of the year, in the early spring the Garden often looks like the “land of lakes,” as all of the water holes fill. In the spring, after the snow melt, the rocky Devil’s Garden produces a veritable carpet of wild pink pansies, pink and red owl clover, yellow primroses and pink shooting stars. Purple lupine, yellow mules ear and the shiny green leaves of manzanita complete the rainbow of color that lasts well into the summer.  The farther north you travel, the Garden’s dryness gives way to conifer forests and is home to some of the biggest mule deer in the area.

Ducks on the water of Beeler Reservoir with treelined shore in the background aThe Devil’s Garden lies directly under the Pacific Flyway. During their migration from Alaska and Canada to Mexico, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl use the wetlands as rest stops. Several of the reservoirs on the district are stocked by the California Dept of Fish and Game with bass or trout. The Garden is also shared by Rocky Mountain elk, pronghorn antelope, sage grouse, turkeys, coyotes and wild horses.

A herd of mares and foals graze the dry, late summer grass.

The Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory is well known across the US for the wild horses it produces. Historically, horses have run on the plateau for more than 140 years. Many of the early horses escaped from settlers or were released when their usefulness as domestic animals ended. In later years, like many areas throughout the west, local area ranchers released their domestic horses out to graze, and then gathered them as they were needed. Not all were ever captured. Learn more about Devil’s Garden wild horses at

With the passage of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act (PL 92-195), private horse roundups ended. In 1974, as an initial step toward management, the Forest Service inventoried the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse population for the first time. The Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory Management Plan, completed in 2013, set an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of a maximum of 402 total horses.

Four of the five developed campgrounds on the Devil’s Garden charge no fees for camping, day use or boat launching. Even so, these facilities rarely fill to capacity and are considered the perfect getaway by the few who venture there.

Information provided by the Forest Service.

Protect Mustangs is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of native and wild horses.

Save GAIA (#8402) beauty of the West

PM IA GAIA #8402 Carson July 2016

Elegant wild mare with at least one strike facing a second

GAIA (#8402) is available through the internet adoption only at this time. This means BoLM  could ship her out closer to you and you pick her up from the BoLM location or you can pick her up in Nevada should you be close. GAIA has spent most of her life in captivity so with love and patience you can build trust using gentle training techniques. She is sensitive and delicate with a floaty trot. GAIA is not halter-gentled. She’s untrained but with a very kind eye.

This is what the Bureau of Land Management says:

Sex: Mare Age: 4 Years   Height (in hands): 13.0

Necktag #: 8402   Date Captured: 06/10/12

Freezemark: 12618402   Signalment Key: HF1AAAAAB

Color: Bay   Captured: Jackson Mountains (NV)


This is an untouched mare with no training.

NOTE: This mare is only available through the Internet Adoption. She is not available for advanced viewing and can not be adopted directly from the Northern Nevada Correctional Center.

This horse is currently at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, NV. For more information please contact Jenny Lesieutre at or call 775-861-6594.

Pick up options (by appt): Palomino Valley, NV; Delta, UT; Elm Creek, NE; Pauls Valley, OK; Ewing, IL.

Other pick up options: Waterloo, IA (October 21); Unadilla, GA (November 4).

Please share her page and ask your friends to do the same so together we can find a loving home for GAIA (#8402)

Watch GAIA’s video

Don’t let shipping hinder adopting GAIA (#8402). You have options. There are groups like Fleet of Angels who help hauling rescued horses for a low cost. GoFundMe or YouCaring are Crowd-Funding sites that can help you raise the money for GAIA’s haul to her new home in California or New York with a rescue or traditional hauler.

It’s generally cheaper to haul 2 horses so please consider adopting a second wild horse so GAIA would have a wild cousin with her forever.

America’s mustangs are going to stop being rounded up at some point soon. The Congressional sell outs to fracking, the TPP, etc. want them managed to extinction and quickly! We all saw them in action in the shamefully biased House subcomittee meeting on Wild Horses and Burros on June 22, 2016.

This is your chance to welcome a pair into your life forever and protect them from a horrible fate.

Remember sharing is caring


Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.