News Release

National Park Service Seeks Public Comments on Environmental Assessment

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Date: April 13, 2018
Contact: Cristy Brown, 970-529-4608

The National Park Service (NPS) released an environmental assessment (EA) for a 30-day public comment period on April 13, 2018. The EA is meant to address the presence of trespass livestock in Mesa Verde National Park.
The preferred alternative identified in the Livestock Removal EA includes a phased approach to removing all livestock, which presently consists of approximately 12 cattle and 80 horses over five years; and improving the park’s boundary fencing over the next 10 years to prevent livestock from reentering the park.
“We are working on how to humanely remove livestock from the park and identify potential homes for captured, unclaimed livestock,” said Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent, Cliff Spencer.  
The NPS does not permit livestock grazing within Mesa Verde National Park in accordance with NPS management policy. When the park was designated in 1906, there was no boundary fencing to exclude livestock from entering the park. Since then, the NPS worked to establish fencing along its boundary; however, the number of trespassing livestock – particularly horses - has increased in the past 20 years. 
Based on public comments and suggestions received during the scoping process conducted in 2015 and 2016, the NPS developed a range of alternatives. The EA analyzes the impacts of each alternative. The primary capture methods identified in the preferred alternative includes baited pen trapping and horse-back roundups. The NPS will coordinate with the Colorado Brand Inspection Division and local brand inspectors to identify possible owners of the trespass livestock, and will follow the most humane methods as defined by the American Veterinarian Medical Association. 
The 30-day public comment period for the draft Livestock Removal Environmental Assessment opened Friday, April 13, 2018. Comments are requested by Sunday, May 13, 2018.
The NPS uses the Planning, Environment and Public Comment site for public involvement in the planning process. The easiest way to view and comment on the document is online at
A printed copy will also be available for review at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center Library, please call the park at 970-529-4465 to make arrangements for reviewing a paper copy of the document.
Comments may also be submitted by mail to the following address: Superintendent, Mesa Verde National Park, PO Box 8, Mesa Verde, CO 81330-0008.



Last updated: October 2, 2018

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Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330


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