North Dakota state officials are encouraged that the National Park Service has started recruiting volunteers to help reduce the elk population in Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s south unit.
The NPS announced details of the process July 19. Under the plan, volunteers will have an opportunity to harvest elk within the park using firearms. The plan includes having five teams, each consisting of one team leader and four volunteers, in the park each week for 12 weeks, beginning in November 2010. Therefore, a maximum of 240 volunteers may be needed.
“This is very close to the alternative we recommended to the NPS, and North Dakota citizens asked for,” said Terry Steinwand, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director. “We offer our support to the Park Service as this alternative is put into place, and we encourage North Dakotans to take the lead and submit an application.”
The NPS is the agency responsible for managing TRNP and is developing and implementing actions intended to reduce elk numbers in the park. The Game and Fish Department role as a cooperating agency is to provide technical advice and assistance to the NPS as it implements the process, and to facilitate the transfer of elk meat to the volunteers.
“We have worked to give North Dakotans an opportunity to help reduce the park’s elk population and keep part of the meat,” said Gov. John Hoeven. “Now we look forward to helping the Park Service succeed with this plan.”
In coordination with the park elk removal plan, Game and Fish has its elk seasons in units E3 and E4 outside the park open during November and December. In addition, the Department also plans to recommend an amendment to the proclamation that would allow licensed E3 and E4 elk hunters who were not successful during the regular season, to take cow elk outside the park in January.
Individuals who received a North Dakota elk license in the past are eligible to apply. In addition, participating in this elk reduction management plan does not eliminate someone from future consideration for a North Dakota elk license.
For more information on the application process, access the TRNPS website at www.nps.gov/thro/upload/Application_Instructions.pdf. A question and answer summary of the elk reduction plan is available at www.nps.gov/thro/upload/Elk-Reduction-FAQ.pdf. A link to the NPS website is also available on the Game and Fish website at www.gf.nd.gov.