A survey conducted by the University of Minnesota and funded, in part, by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation shows 77 percent of those contacted support restoring wild, free-ranging elk to the forests of northeast Minnesota. On top of that, 79 percent of landowners also support the idea.
“We assumed that the issue would be of more interest to landowners than perhaps many in the general public who might be living in towns and cities without direct contact to rural land,’’ David Fulton, University of Minnesota professor who oversaw the opinion survey, told Pine and Lakes Echo Journal. “The proportion of landowners who engage in hunting and other outdoor activities also tends to be higher than among the general public. With all that said, the response rate among landowners was 10 percent or so higher than I expected based on recent survey attempts. I do think the high response rate indicates the level of interest in elk among landowners in the area.”
Though a decision on moving forward is yet to be made, wildlife managers are focusing on three possible restoration areas – the Cloquet Valley, Nemadji-St. Croix and Fond du Lac state forests.
(Photo source: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)