Proposed Livestock Removal at Mesa Verde National Park

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Date: December 15, 2015
Contact: Cristy Brown, 970-529-4608

The National Park Service is proposing to remove trespass livestock, including but not limited to cattle and horses, from Mesa Verde National Park.

Mesa Verde National Park was designated in 1906 to preserve, research, and interpret the archeological sites and other works and relics of prehistoric inhabitants in its boundaries. Trespass livestock, which enter into the park from adjacent properties, have been prohibited in the park since 1908. Currently there are approximately 80 horses and 12 head of cattle that are distributed throughout the park. The park will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze removing trespassing livestock and preventing them from re-entering. Capturing and removing trespass livestock from the park would be done humanely and would comply with NPS policies and regulations.

The park is seeking suggestions from the public on ways to remove trespass livestock, prevent future trespassing, and related issues or concerns, which will be incorporated into different alternatives analyzed in the EA. An alternative is defined as a reasonable way to fix the identified problem or satisfy the stated need. Within the alternatives, the Park will also analyze the No Action alternative, continuing current programs and practices. Some preliminary alternative ideas for the proposed project are as follows:

· Capture, removal and exclusion: wrangler round-up, baited pen capture, fencing, fertility control, etc.

· Post removal holding: on site or off site areas

· Post removal placement: public sale, private sale, adoption, donation, etc.

Interested parties can submit written comments online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at The deadline to submit comments is January 8, 2016. Commenters should be aware their entire comment, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. Commenters can request the National Park Service withhold this information from public review, but removal cannot be guaranteed.

Anyone wishing to receive future updates on this project, can email e-mail us and include your email address. Public comments will not be accepted at this email address. The mailing list will be used solely to communicate information related to the Mesa Verde Livestock Removal EA.

Additional Information

Since the 1930's, the NPS has constructed and maintained fencing along the park's boundary, but
livestock continue to enter and multiply in the park.
Existing park programs and practices, including maintaining existing fencing, have not been effective at removing livestock. The number of trespass livestock, particularly horses, has increased in the past 20 years.

There is no legal authority to allow livestock use in the park. According to federal regulations at 36 CFR 2.60, "The running-at-large, herding, driving across, allowing on, pasturing or grazing of livestock of any kind in a park area or the use of a park area for agricultural purposes is prohibited." Mesa Verde National Park does not have any reserved rights associated with livestock use and it is not designated as a necessary and integral part of the park's recreational activities or historic scene. The horses in the park are not protected under the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WFRHBA) and the National Park Service is not oneof the agencies designated to manage horses under the WFRHBA. The park's only legal authority is to remove trespass livestock.




Last updated: December 15, 2015

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PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330


(970) 529-4465

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