(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) called on the U.S. Interior Secretary for help finding a common-sense solution to the issue of elk management at Theodore Roosevelt National Park – and secured support for a common-sense solution not only from the Interior Secretary, but also from the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Interior Department.
Dorgan brought up the issue of the elk herd, which is growing too large and threatening to damage its habitat, at a Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee hearing today. He told Secretary Ken Salazar that the National Park Service originally considered using professional sharpshooters and helicopters to kill the elk and remove the carcasses.
Dorgan told Secretary Salazar that the National Park Service has mishandled the decision-making process for an issue that would “take you and me about 10 minutes to come to a conclusion on.”
“Can you help us get to a conclusion that just allows the federal government to get the elk herd thinned without spending federal money, and allows qualified hunters to come in and take the meat home?” Dorgan said.
Secretary Salazar replied that he would work with Dorgan to find a “common sense” solution to the issue. Dorgan said he would continue to push for a solution that allows qualified hunters to volunteer to thin the herd and take the meat home.
After the discussion between Dorgan and Secretary Salazar, Interior Appropriations Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also signaled support for a common-sense solution that would save taxpayer money by making use of volunteer hunters and allowing them to keep the meat.
“Why shouldn’t hunters be able to do some hunting on a regulated basis and take home the meat?” Feinstein said.