Sunday, March 27, 2011

Estes Park, Colorado's Big Elk Population Chasing Tourists

The elk bearing down on the man in the picture is doing so in Estes Park, Colorado.

Estes Park is a popular summer resort town and is where Rocky Mountain National Park's headquarters is located.

At last count Estes Park had a population of 5,858. And for much of the year nearly 2,000 elk join the human inhabitants of Estes Park.

Estes Park average elevation is 7,522 feet, located on the eastern front range of the Rocky Mountains at the eastern entry to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Built in 1909 the Stanley Hotel in on the outskirts of Estes Park. Stephen King was a guest of the Stanley Hotel, a visit which inspired him to change the locale of his novel, The Shining, calling the Stanley Hotel the Overlook Hotel.

The highest highway in the United States, Trail Ridge Road, runs from Estes Park west through Rocky Mountain National Park and then on to Grand Lake at the Continental Divide.

Below is a map showing the location of Estes Park. As you can see it is a fairly short distance northwest of Denver.

Below is a BBC YouTube video about the elk in Estes Park. I have seen herds of elk take over the town-like north entry into Yellowstone National Park. It is sort of an unsettling spectacle.

Below are a couple interesting comments about the Estes Park elk video....

I'm a Colorado native and the elk population is in a serious boom cycle because the land is not hunted AND the elk no longer have their natural predators (wolves) around to cull the herd. When I was younger, the elk stayed in the park and were not in town as they are now. Spoke with a park ranger and they've talked of just killing some and letting nature take care of the carcasses. At least with hunters, they could make money from the license revenue, plus the meat would not go to waste.

This is the same situation in Japan where the Shika deer no longer have their natural predators. It's a hunters' paradise since the government allows for a 5 month hunting season with no limit (limit of 1 deer a day per hunter applies). However Japan has far less hunter so the Shika deers are overpopulated and destroys crops and trees.

No comments: