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WildEarth Guardians v. National Park Service

703 F.2d 1178 (1997)

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WildEarth Guardians v. National Park Service

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

703 F.2d 1178 (1997)

Facts

Because of a ban on hunting, the elk population in Rocky Mountain National Park (the park) grew out of control and threatened the plant life. The National Park Service (NPS) (defendant) prepared an environmental-impact statement (EIS) setting out alternatives for a new elk-management plan. NPS evaluated introducing a natural wolf population as one alternative. After considering public comments and expert opinions, NPS determined that introducing a natural wolf population was not feasible and excluded this alternative from the EIS. NPS explained in the EIS that the park was not suitable for wolves because it was smaller than other parks where wolves had been successfully introduced and too close to residential and urban areas. These features would necessitate costly wolf management and help from other agencies, which NPS could not secure. WildEarth Guardians (plaintiff) sought judicial review in federal district court, arguing that NPS lacked a reasonable basis for excluding the natural-wolf-population alternative from the EIS. WildEarth pointed to evidence that this alternative was feasible and provided some benefits to the park’s vegetation and tourism. The district court ruled in favor of NPS, and WildEarth appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tymkovich, J.)

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