Yes, too many elk
In reference to what should be done about elk overpopulation in Yellowstone Park (HCN, 5/30/94), a study is the time-honored delaying tactic to postpone a decision that is certain to be politically unpopular.
The summer of 1991, I took my grandchildren on a visit to the park. As a retired BLM range con, it was obvious that the northern portion of the park was overstocked with elk and probably buffalo as well. Trees were highlined, meadows were slicked off, wetlands were trampled, stream banks were caved and browse was hedged to decadence.
With little migration out of the park and no control by predators of consequence, it is a given the park will eventually reach a point of debilitating overuse. But not to worry: The next hard winter will solve the problem.
Dale A. Dunn
The writer worked as a range conservationist for the Bureau of Land Management.