ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK WILLING TO CONSIDER USE OF SPORTSMEN AND WOMEN TO CULL ELK HERDS
Congressman Mark Udall (D - Eldorado Springs) released a letter today from the National Park Service responding to his letter urging the Park Service to consider using qualified volunteers at Rocky Mountain National Park in their proposed program to cull the overpopulated elk herds.
"I am pleased that the Park Service is willing to consider using our licensed sportsmen and women who are interested and willing to help to address the overpopulated elk problem," said Udall. "I will continue to be involved in this process to make sure that the sportsmen and women are give a fair shake as the Park Service moves this process forward. Our sportsmen and women have been responsibly managing wildlife on our lands for nearly a century. I see no reason why they cannot be considered as part of the options and am glad that the Park Service will do so."
Cong. Udall has argued that the Park Service has the authority to use qualified sportsmen and women and has introduced legislation that would make clear that they have this authority and can use it at Rocky Mountain National Park. On March 12, 2007, he wrote to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne urging that the Secretary get involved and recognize that licensed and qualified sportsmen and women can and should be considered for this proposed effort. In a response dated June 1, 2007, the Park Service acknowledged that it has the authority to use volunteers, such as licensed and qualified sportsmen and women, and that it will be considering these types of individuals as the process moves forward.
Specifically, the June 1st response says this, "With regard to who might participate in culling activities, we are currently reviewing various options including . . . Personnel from cooperating agencies (such as the CDOW [Colorado Division of Wildlife]) . . . and qualified volunteers. We believe that we have existing authority to use any of the above where deemed appropriate. The final plan will evaluate the possible roles for each of these and outline the circumstances under which their use would be appropriate."