“Call of the Wild”
American Elk – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
“It is a shame that our land management agencies
fail so miserably at the task of preservation,
originating in a pervasive inability to fully acknowledge
what there is to preserve and to place proper value on it.”
– Guy Tal, from his essay Canyon Time, “More Than A Rock”
As I read these words, I reflect on the inability of Park management to acknowledge and understand their failure to preserve the real and actual essence of Rocky Mountain National Park. Instead, they have, and continue, to over-manage this priceless parcel of nature. Its soul is no longer recognizable. Its wildness gone. Fences fill the landscape where deer and elk once roamed. Elk sparred from wasting disease, have been slaughtered by the thousands both inside and outside the Park . . . all in the name of management.
I am no longer able to go into the Park without recalling what it was like 20 years ago and this saddens me greatly. Rocky is but a shadow of its former glory. Its heart and soul are missing. Gone today are the herds of elk that filled its valleys during the annual rut. Only a hand-full remain.
Realizing their blunder, there’s now talk of reintroducing elk into the Park.
Tears, I’m confident, fill the eyes of Enos Mills, the Park’s champion and founder.