OLYMPIA – The public will have an opportunity to comment on a draft management plan for the south Rainier elk herd at an informational "open house" sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) next week in Morton.
The drop-in event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 14, and will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cowlitz Wildlife Area office, at 350 State Route 7, in Morton.
The South Rainier Elk Herd Plan, slated for completion early this summer, is a five-year planning document designed to guide the management of one of Washington's 10 major elk herds.
Numbering approximately 2,100 animals, the herd ranges from the Nisqually River south to State Route 12, between Interstate 5 and the Cascade Crest. The plan, which has been three years in the making, addresses a variety of issues, from elk mortality and poaching to winter-range habitat and property damage.
"This event will give people one more opportunity to comment on a plan that will guide our management of the herd over the next five years," said Fred Dobler, regional manager of WDFW's wildlife program.
Copies of the draft plan will be available at the meeting, where the public can ask questions of the authors and of state managers of the herd. Copies are currently available on the WDFW website for those with Internet access. Dobler said all public comments will be recorded and considered by the agency before the final plan is adopted this summer.