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Rocky Mountain Trying to Give Wetlands A Chance Against Elk


Elk are prevalent in Rocky Mountain National Park. NPS Photo.

With a fence officials in Rocky Mountain National Park are hoping to restore a wetlands that voracious elk have prevented from sprouting in Horseshoe Park.

Ever since the so-called Lawn Lake flood blasted out the wetlands 25 years ago, elk have prevented willows from taking a stand by nibbling them down. Now a fence keeps elk out of a 32-acre patch where willows and sedges will be planted next month and where officials hope beavers will return to help restore the wetlands with their dams.

For more details, check out this story in the Denver Post.


We went hiking this weekend on RMNP's Cow Creek Trail. McGraw Ranch, once a guest ranch and now part of the park's building inventory, is now a research facility reached by a small bridge across the creek. The beavers have been busy a short way upstream from the bridge. The park service has fenced off the area where the water flows under the bridge, presumably to prevent the beavers from damming up the creek at that point too and eventually flooding out the retored cabins where researchers now live, so there's only so much wetland restoration by beaver effort that the park service wants there. It's light-handed and practical, and I suspect that the newer, larger fence will be so too.

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