To the Editor:
I appreciate Josh's coverage of the commissioners meeting which addressed the increasing number of elk in Northwest Colorado. I understand that it is hard to report all ideas within the context the comments were intended, especially when my comments addressed two separate issues: Those as seen on Trapper Mining property and those seen on my family's private property not related to Trapper.
I would like to clarify my comments made at the meeting so interested parties understand my comments in relation to my employer Trapper Mine and me as a private property owner.
My comment addressing Trapper Mine's concerns was that if the numbers of elk keep increasing at the same rate as they have in the last few years, there could be detrimental impacts to Trapper's reclamation efforts. It might be hard to meet required federal and state reclamation standards such as the number of "woody stems" per acre. Even though large elk populations create challenges for both the mine and private land owners, Trapper Mine views the herds as more of an asset than a liability to the area.
Further, the mine prefers that animal control techniques not include mass killings by DOW officials as some land owners might suggest.
The impact I have seen on my family's property is that for the past several years, we have been unable to graze domestic livestock or harvest a hay crop on our property due to the several hundred head of resident elk that stay on the property year round.
The comment about the land being "grazed down to nothing" referred to our ranch property, not Trapper's property. As a private land owner, I also view elk as a valuable asset to the area; however, if numbers are allowed to grow, that asset may soon be a liability.