Reader's View: Support wild elk restoration legislation

This inspiring project and plan, which was the tribe's idea, has been approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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Minnesota House and Senate committees have now agreed to move bills to fund wild-elk restoration on the Fond du Lac Reservation and the public Fond du Lac State Forest where elk were native. Both chambers moved the bills into an omnibus natural resources bill for later consideration (“ Bill has $4 million for Fond du Lac elk transplant to Northeastern Minnesota ,” Feb. 15).

This is great conservation news. This inspiring project and plan, which was the Fond du Lac tribe's idea, has been approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which has also supported and funded the project, testified in favor of the $4 million funding bill before the House committee. Tribal Chairman Kevin R. Dupuis Sr. and the House bill's author Rep. Alicia Kozlowski, DFL-Duluth, also testified.

Dupuis told the committee the tribe will work closely with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to be sure the transplanted elk, which will come from northwestern Minnesota, are healthy. Additionally, they will be released in small groups over time in the manner of the successful release in Tennessee, he said. A DNR staffer testified that local farmers, which are few, would be compensated for any damage the elk might do to their crops, mostly hay.

If you can, be a part of this historic effort by contacting your state rep and senator to support this important wildlife conservation legislation. You don't get many chances to help bring back such a charismatic creature as the mighty elk!

Mark Herwig


White Bear Lake, Minnesota

The writer is a landowner on the southern border of the Fond du Lac State Forest who lived in Duluth in the 1970s while studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This letter was updated on March 10 to include current legislative action.

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