As of August 2018, the elk near Maggie Valley, N.C., have an additional 500 acres of grazing area in the William H. Silver Game Land. This land grant was established by a partnership between the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit land conservation organization. Elk were reintroduced to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2001.
When the William H. Silver Game Land was established in 2017, it secured about 2,000 acres for North Carolina’s growing elk populations and other wildlife. The recent expansion around the Sheepback Knob area provides further space for the elk and other animals to roam. According to The Conservation Fund, preserving this land will help protect the area’s water resources and bring more economic opportunities to the Haywood County area.
Wildlife biologist Mike Carraway told WLOS News that the area “went from 52 elk on the initial release to somewhere around 150 to 160 elk.”
According to the news outlet, some elk have been spotted off the game land. “Ideally, we can create some good habitat on this new game land so the elk will have a good place to stay where they won’t be crossing roads or getting onto private property,” Carraway told WLOS.
— By Kennedy Kavanaugh