Maryland To Study The Potential Reintroduction Of Elk In Western Maryland

Annapolis, Md. (August 22, 2011) — The Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation (MLSF), the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) are pleased to announce the formation of a partnership to determine the viability of elk reintroduction to Western Maryland. The biological, social and economic feasibility assessments will require a minimum of 12 months to complete and will be thoroughly evaluated before any decision is made.

“Elk once roamed Maryland but have been absent since the 1700s,” said MLSF Chairman David Sutherland. “We are pleased to initiate the first steps toward evaluating elk reintroduction in Western Maryland.”

The Sportsmen’s Foundation will contract with a professional consulting group to conduct a formal survey of public opinion on the question of returning elk to the State. DNR will oversee development of the survey — which will include outreach to farmers and other stakeholders that may be impacted by a return of the species — and assist with analysis of the results. In addition, the agency will conduct an assessment of potential elk habitat in western Maryland.

“As with all of our ecological programs, science and informed public input will be our guide,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Consensus from our experts and all impacted stakeholders will be a prerequisite to this decision.”

“There is no higher calling in conservation than restoring an extirpated game species to healthy, hunt-able populations,” said David Allen, President and CEO of Montana -based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF). “Far Western Maryland offers ideal habitat for elk, but we all agree that citizens must be supportive. That is why this partnership, the first step for gauging support in Maryland, is so important.”

   August 22, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell