The Bridger-Teton National Forest is giving the public five business days to comment on plans to issue a one-year permit for the state to keep feeding elk on the Alkali Creek Feedground.
Bridger-Teton is proposing the temporary special-use permit for this winter. The proposal comes after a U.S. District Court judge overturned a longterm permit.
In September, Judge Nancy Freudenthal told the Forest Service to re-examine its decision allowing the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to feed elk on 91 acres of national forest above the Gros Ventre River. In her written ruling, she faulted forest managers for failing to take a “hard look” at phasing out feeding and key concerns such as disease.
Forest Supervisor Patricia O’Connor said the ruling did not prohibit a temporary permit in a letter inviting public comment, which will be accepted through Nov. 21. To see the proposal on the forest’s website go to: TinyURL.com/y8kf2bkf.
Comments may be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to Mary Moore, District Ranger, USDA Forest Service, Jackson Ranger District, P.O. Box 1689, Jackson, WY 83001.
“There is no question that Alkali Creek Feedground could become a reservoir for [chronic wasting disease] infection if it becomes established in elk populations in northwest Wyoming,” Freudenthal wrote in her ruling. “That potential is increased with the concentration of elk at feedgrounds.”
Similar to “mad cow disease,” CWD is a fatal prion disease that affects elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer and moose. The always-fatal disease causes animals to waste away and has no cure or vaccine.
Freudenthal’s ruling responded to a 2017 lawsuit from four environmental advocacy groups: Western Watersheds Project, Sierra Club, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates and Gallatin Wildlife Association.