Valley elk suffered during hot spell
October 3, 2008 · Updated 12:38 AM
The recent record-breaking string of hot weather stressed the local elk population. Even though the Upper Valley appeared green, it is obvious from the actions of elk on our farm above the mill that the overly dry forage was not providing full nutrition.
After standing on their hind feet and reaching up in our fruit trees as far as they could to harvest all within reach - we had elk standing in the orchard for hours, just waiting for our yellow transparent apples to fall from the tree.
As the local herd continues to grow and expand, we need to be willing and able to control the population of these magnificent animals or they will suffer the consequences. During a particularly harsh winter in the mid '40s, 20 of a major herd of introduced Montana elk died of starvation in the Upper Valley.
Thanks to the increase of elk kept safe in the Seattle Cedar River Watershed, we now have native elk in abundance. However, population control, including hunting, must be promoted by King County and both Upper Valley cities or we will soon have another disaster on our hands.