The great elk debate
There's no questioning the extreme popularity of elk in the Cataloochee Valley.
Since being reintroduced more than a decade ago, they've become resident rock stars, getting their photos snapped by thousands of eager visitors each year. As they've begun in to venture beyond the invisible border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, however, the elk have wandered into a continuing debate — especially here in Haywood County.
The more they hang out on private lands from White Oak to Maggie Valley, the more the question is raised: Are they a benefit to this place or a nuisance?
Teresa Hartrick, and many who make their home at Maggie Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation, see them as a welcome addition to town. Hartrick, the center's social services director, explained that her residents love ...