In January, 2013, the National Park Service invited public comment regarding a proposal to develop a management plan specific to controlling unclaimed trespass livestock in Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. In recent years, trespassing livestock includes between 100-150 horses and 10-20 cattle in and on the border of the park. The purpose of such a plan would have been to address the various issues trespassing livestock have on the park's natural and cultural resources.
The comment period ran from January 17, 2013 through February 28, 2013. About 3,500 comment letters were received by the park, most of which were form letters. The Park carefully evaluated the comments and has determined that the current course of action best accomplishes park goals while minimizing impacts to park resources.
Therefore, the Park will not pursue development of a specific management plan for trespassing livestock, but instead will concentrate on implementing existing measures utilizing available resources to address trespassing livestock in the following ways:
1. Physically exclude trespass livestock from entering the park using the most appropriate wildlife-friendly fencing designs available to us beginning in the highest priority areas.
2. Create passage ways in the park's boundary fence that allow trespass livestock already in the park to leave the park on their own but not return.
3. Deter trespass livestock already in the park from accessing natural and man-made (artificial) water sources in the park using wildlife-friendly physical barriers.
4. Capture and relocate in the park any trespass livestock that pose an imminent threat to public safety or park resources.
The Park also will continue providing information to the visiting public about the resource impacts and safety hazards posed by trespass livestock in the park.
For more information contact Paul Morey, Wildlife Biologist, at (970) 529-4617.