Mesa Verde wants to keep livestock out of park grounds

Officials looking at alternatives to protect vegetation

The National Park Service is looking for public comment on ways to protect native vegetation and cultural resources from cattle and horses that trespass in the 52,000-acre preserve near Mancos.

Among alternatives are methods of keeping the trespassers out of the park, returning them to the owner or selling them at auction.

“Livestock has been documented out-competing native wildlife for water, damaging facilities and creating confrontations with park staff and visitors,” Betty Lieurance, a park spokeswoman, said in a statement.

There are currently 100 to 150 horses in the park and on its borders, Lieurance said. Ten to 20 head of cattle roam the park at a given time, she said.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed plan to reduce threats to natural and cultural resources, people and facilities.

Public comment is welcomed during drafting of the plan, now under way, and again after the release of the environmental assessment being done as required by the National Environmental Protection Act.

People who comment should be aware that information identifying them may be made public.

First-phase comment must be received by Feb. 28. Comment may be made at or mailed to Trespass Livestock Management Plan, P.O. Box 8, Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330.