Elk in the Smokies are Declared a Success

Bull Elk - 090826

After 10 years, the National Park Service has decided that the reintroduction of elk is a success. Or to be more exact, they found that the elk have had no significant impact on the environment. So the elk reintroduction is no longer considered an experiment.

The research findings from the experimental elk release indicated that the elk population was sustainable, had minimal impacts on the Park’s resources, and human-elk conflicts were manageable. So they can stay.

Of course, the elk are staying. There would be a lot of disappointed volunteers and visitors if the elk had to leave. From about 50 elk, the park now has about 140 and growing.

Some have moved to Oconaluftee Visitor Center where they’re creating traffic jams there and eating corn at the Mountain Farm Museum.

If you want to learn all the ins and outs of this Environmental Assessment, go to the park website. Then scroll down to the Elk issue. It’s worth your time to learn how this all works.

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