FWP Commission Extends Elk Plan Comment Period

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The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission agreed today to extend the comment period on the wildlife agency’s draft elk plan and environmental assessment. Comments will be accepted through Dec. 6.

The original 45-day comment period closed Nov. 8. That deadline was chosen to ensure that FWP could analyze the comments and submit a revised final plan for commission approval in December.

“The commission still needs FWP to submit the plan for approval at its Dec. 16 meeting," said Chris Smith, FWP’s chief of staff in Helena. "The commissioners need to use the elk plan to set tentative regulations for the 2005 seasons."

The draft elk plan, which has been generally well received at more than 20 public meetings, provides a new, adaptive framework for elk-harvest management that’s been under development with public involvement since 2002.

"The additional time will allow people who have been busy hunting elk for the past few weeks to get their comments in," Smith said. "We want to respond to the many requests for additional time to comment and still meet our responsibility to consider each comment and deliver the plan to the commission on Dec 16." Smith said.

The Elk Plan and EA are available on-line at www.fwp.state.mt.us. To request a printed copy contact: FWP, Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

Public comment will be taken through Dec. 6. Send written comments to: FWP Elk Plan Comments, Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. Send E-mail comments to: fwpwld@state.mt.us.