The Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation (MLSF), the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) today announced plans to conduct an extensive public opinion survey to determine the viability of elk reintroduction to Western Maryland. Elk once roamed Maryland, but have been absent since the 1700s.
Social, cultural and economic questions will dominate the survey, which is scheduled to begin in February and conclude with a final report and analysis in April. The survey will reach a sample of residents across Maryland with a focus on residents of Western Maryland. Consensus from DNR’s experts and impacted stakeholders will be necessary for the final decision.
“We are pleased to announce this important step toward evaluating elk reintroduction in Western Maryland,” said MLSF Chairman David Sutherland.
The MLSF signed a contract with Responsive Management, a professional survey firm that specializes in public opinion and attitude surveys on wildlife management issues. The RMEF will underwrite the survey through a MLSF grant. DNR will assist with the technical review of the survey instrument and the final report.
“We recognize the need to ensure a scientific review of public opinion on this extraordinary and important question,” said David Allen, President and CEO of the RMEF. “Restoring elk requires a supportive community. We are pleased to be a key partner to that end.”