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Trespass Livestock Management Plan

Mesa Verde National Park » Trespass Livestock Management Plan » Document List

The National Park Service is proposing to develop a management plan for controlling unclaimed trespass livestock in Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. There are currently between 100-150 trespass horses in and on the border of the park. Trespass cattle have ranged in number from 10-20 in recent years. Park staff has documented severe impacts to archeological sites, native vegetation, and soils. Trespass livestock has also been documented out-competing native wildlife for water sources, and damaging park facilities. There have also been dangerous confrontations reported between trespass livestock and park staff and visitors.

The proposed plan goals are to: 1) reduce negative impacts to the park's natural and cultural resources, 2) reduce threats to staff and public safety, and 3) reduce facility damage by trespass livestock. Management alternatives may include a variety of methods to reduce the impacts livestock have on the park's resources and facilities and public safety. These could include improved methods of excluding livestock from the park, returning the livestock to its owner, and auction.

An Environmental Assessment for reducing the adverse impacts of trespass livestock will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide the decision-making framework that 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives, 2) evaluates potential issues and impacts to park resources and values, and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

The National Park Service encourages public participation throughout the NEPA process during which the public has two opportunities to formally comment on the project; once during initial project scoping and again following release of the Environmental Assessment. We are currently in the scoping phase of this project and would like to hear thoughts and concerns. The scoping period will run from January 17, 2013 through February 28, 2013.

We invite you to submit your written comments online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at You may also mail your comments to the address listed below. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold this information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Please address written comments to:

Mesa Verde National Park
Attn: Trespass Livestock Management Plan
PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330

I thank you for your interest in Mesa Verde National Park and look forward to receiving your comments.


Cliff Spencer
Superintendent, Mesa Verde National Park

Contact Information

If you have questions about the project or would like more information, please contact Paul Morey, Wildlife Biologist, at (970) 529-4617 or