BTNF approves use of Alkali Creek Elk Feedground

(Jackson, Wyo.) - Today the Bridger-Teton National Forest announced that Forest Supervisor Tricia O’Connor signed a Record of Decision approving the authorization of continued use of Alkali Creek Elk Feedground by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. Alkali Creek Elk Feedground is located within the Gros Ventre drainage northeast of Jackson along with two other State feedgrounds at Patrol Cabin and Fish Creek. The Commission uses feedgrounds as tools to reduce damage to haystack yards and winter pastures on private lands and reduce potential for transmission of diseases from elk to livestock. At the feedground, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) will maintain and operate one elk tagging corral, one horse corral, one tack shed, one haystack yard containing two hay sheds, and spring and trough developments including protective fencing and piping as part of their ongoing winter elk management program. WGFD personnel monitor the elk for signs of disease and also count numbers of branch-antlered bulls, spikes, cows, calves and the total number of elk on the feedground. This information is used to determine quotas for future hunting seasons. According to a Forest Service announcement released today, Forest Supervisor O’Connor intends to amend an existing special use permit issued to the Commission in 2008 for use at five other feedgrounds to add authorization for use at Alkali Creek. However, this amendment will not occur until the WGFD Chronic Wasting Disease Plan update is completed and it adequately addresses risks and management options for feedgrounds on National Forest System lands. WGFD recently released a draft of the Chronic Wasting Disease plan for public comment (view the plan here ). If this plan update is not completed and accepted by the Forest Service prior to initiation of feeding for the winter of 2015-16, a one year temporary permit will be issued for use at Alkali Creek. *Feature Photo: Elk Feedground near Jackson. h/t Vicki Patrek, USGS /