this just came out from Senator Dorgan’s office
(WASHINGTON, DC) — U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced today that the National Park Service has finally agreed to a common-sense plan to thin the elk herd in Theodore Roosevelt National Park – that will use volunteer hunters to thin the herd under the supervision of the Park Service.
Dorgan has been pushing the Park Service to adopt the plan ever since news broke more than two years ago that the agency was considering a number of alternatives including using professional sharpshooters and helicopters – at significant cost to American taxpayers – to cull the elk. He said today’s announcement by the Park Service is a victory for North Dakota hunters who have shown a willingness to help the national park thin its elk herd, which is growing too large and threatening to damage park habitat.
“This is a good solution that will save taxpayers money, and allow qualified North Dakota hunters to play a part in this elk management plan,” Dorgan said. “This process has followed a long and tortured trail, but I appreciate the willingness of the new Secretary of Interior and the head of the National Park Service to settle upon a common-sense solution to this issue.”
Last month, Dorgan added a provision to the Interior Appropriations bill to solve the issue. His provision would require the Park Service to use qualified hunters to thin the elk herd.
Under the plan announced today, the National Park Service will use volunteer hunters, under supervision, to thin the elk herd for two years, with a goal of harvesting 275 elk per year. If, after two years, the goal has not been met, the use of volunteers will continue but could be supplemented by periodic roundups and euthanasia.
In a letter to Dorgan today, the National Park Service clarified that after the elk carcasses have been harvested by volunteers, ownership of the meat would be turned over to the state of North Dakota or another approved organization. “If the state then wanted to give some of the meat to the volunteers that helped in the removal effort, that would be their decision,” wrote the Park Service. Dorgan said he will work with state officials to ensure the meat is in fact turned over to the volunteer hunters who want to retain it.
Dorgan has pushed the Park Service to save the taxpayers’ money and use some common sense in thinning the elk herd. This solution will help save taxpayers’ money and give qualified hunters an opportunity pitch in to help thin the elk herd.”
“This is a victory for common sense,” said Dorgan.