Reduction on track: 270 elk successfully removed from Theodore Roosevelt National ParkThe Theodore Roosevelt National Park elk reduction program is halfway over and the goal is in sight.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Theodore Roosevelt National Park elk reduction program is halfway over and the goal is in sight.
There have been 270 elk removed as of Tuesday and Valerie Naylor, Theodore Roosevelt National Park superintendent, said the second-year program has been a success.
“Last year we removed 406 elk during a 14-week period,” she said. “We are on track to take the same number of elk as last year or close to it.”
How tough is participation in the reduction program? So far, the program has had 82 volunteers from all around the country in the first five weeks of the reduction. There were 10 people that left early, because it was too tough, so 72 people completed the mission.
Naylor was told in feedback received Tuesday that the terrian is brutal.
“I had a note from a guy from Michigan on Tuesday that said, ‘It’s obvious that you have a well-trained staff committed to the mission. The description of brutal as it applied the effort required was right on target. I’m glad to have had the experience, but there’s not enough money to get me to do it again,’” she said. “Brutal is the word that we hear a lot, because it is so
The reduction started Oct. 17 and goes until Dec. 23. In the reduction’s first season, it lasted for three extra weeks going until the second week of January. Despite having less time, the weather is one factor that has made the reduction easier.
“The weather has just been beautiful,” Naylor said. “They’ve had a great opportunity out there. It’s a lot easier than when there’s 8 inches of snow and 20 mile an hour winds, which is we had quite a lot last year.”
The main goal of the program is to maintain the population of elk, so the park doesn’t get damaged and the animals aren’t evading each other spaces.
In addition to keeping a population that’s beneficial for the park, the program has donated over a total of 26,000 pounds of food. Naylor said that more than 14,000 pounds of meat were given to Native American tribes and more than 12,000 pounds to North Dakota Community Action for Sportsman Against Hunger.
Every little bit helps and numbers like that help out a lot.
The side mission throughout the programs length is to keep everyone accident- and injury-free. Naylor said there have been a few accidents, but nothing too serious.
“We’ve had one accident with a volunteer,” she said. “It was pretty minor, but last year we didn’t have any accidents or injuries.”