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Public to debate whether elk herds are friends or foes

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north cascades elk

State Fish and Wildlife holds meeting tonight to discuss North Cascades elk. Photo courtesy of science.nature.nps.gov.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to know what the public thinks of increasing the elk population in the North Cascades.

The department is hosting a public meeting Wednesday evening to talk about proposed updates to the elk herd’s management plan.

The proposed plan would increase the herd size to nearly 1,500 animals between Skagit and Whatcom counties. It would also re-establish tribal and non-tribal hunting seasons and increase awareness of public elk viewing.

According to the Skagit Valley Herald, the elk can cause thousands of dollars in damage as they move from field to field, eating grasses, crops and breaking fences along the way.

The plan would authorize the state Department of Fish and Wildlife monies to reimburse property owners for elk-related damage. The recommended cost of the five-year plan is $830,900.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Sedro-Woolley Community Center.

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