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Livestock Removal

Mesa Verde National Park » Livestock Removal » Document List

The National Park Service (NPS) has completed development of an environmental assessment (EA) to address the presence of trespass livestock in Mesa Verde National Park (MVNP). Park programs and practices, including maintaining fencing along its boundary, have not been effective at removing and preventing livestock from entering the park. There are approximately 80 horses and 12 head of cattle distributed throughout the park; no burros, goats, sheep, or swine are currently in MVNP. The number of trespassing livestock, particularly horses, has increased in the past 20 years.

The purpose of the action is to remove trespassing livestock and to prevent more from re-entering the park. Trespass livestock need to be removed from the park because the NPS does not have the authority and does not permit livestock use within MVNP in accordance with NPS management policy.

Based on public, interagency and Native American tribes' comments and suggestions received during the scoping process conducted in 2015 and 2016, the NPS developed a range of alternatives. The EA analyzes the impacts of each alternative. The preferred alternative in the EA includes a phased approach to removing all livestock; and improving the park's boundary fencing over the next 10 years to prevent livestock from reentering the park. The primary capture methods identified in the preferred alternative includes baited pen trapping and horse-back roundups that could progress to more assertive removal methods over a five-year period or until trespassing livestock are removed from the park. The NPS would coordinate with the Colorado Brand Inspection Division and local brand inspectors to identify possible owners of the trespass livestock, could collaborate with partners during capture and to identify potential homes for captured, unclaimed livestock and would follow the most humane methods as defined by the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

The environmental assessment (EA) was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide a decision-making framework that analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives, evaluates potential issues and impacts to park resources and values, and identifies mitigation measures to reduce the degree or extent of these impacts.

Public participation is an essential component of the planning process. The NPS encourages your review and input on the EA. If you would like to share your thoughts with the planning team, please click on the "Open for Comment" title found under the PROJECT LINKS column on the left side of this page. Comments must be received by May 13, 2018 in order to be considered during finalization of the EA.

Before including your address, telephone number, electronic mail address, or other personally identifying information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment (including your personally identifying information) may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Cliff Spencer

Contact Information

Cristy Brown
Public Information Officer
(970) 529-4682