OLYMPIA - The public will have an opportunity to comment on a draft management plan for the Olympic elk herd during three public meetings scheduled over the next few weeks by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Slated for completion this winter, the plan is designed to guide management of the herd during the next five years. Issues addressed in the plan range from future hunting opportunities to initiatives designed to increase elk forage and minimize property damage.
All three public meetings will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the following dates:
- Aug. 25 - West End Sportsman's Club, 243 Sportsman's Drive, Forks
- Sept. 1 - Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main Street, Montesano
- Sept. 2 - KBH Clubhouse, Old Belfair Highway, just south of the Mason/Kitsap county line
"We invite people to come to these meetings and tell us what they think about our plans for the herd," said Jack Smith, WDFW regional wildlife manager.
A draft of the Olympic Elk Herd Plan for 2005-10 is posted on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/elk/olympic.htm. Written comments will be accepted through Sept. 30, 2004, and should be addressed to Olympic Elk Herd Plan, Wildlife Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., 98501-1091 (or to firstname.lastname@example.org via e-mail).
The Olympic elk herd is one of 10 major elk herds in Washington state, each with its own management plan. Ranging throughout the Olympic Peninsula, the herd includes approximately 13,600 elk, including about 5,000 animals that spend at least part of their lives inside the boundaries of Olympic National Park.
The WDFW management plan focuses on elk outside the park, since those inside park boundaries are managed by Olympic National Park and are not subject to hunting.