Proponents of reintroducing elk to western Maryland say the animals would generate $4.4 million a year in tourist dollars.
The Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Foundation released the economic assessment Friday. The group is working with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the state Department of Natural Resources to explore the possibility of establishing an elk population in Garrett and Allegany counties.
The proposal has drawn a skeptical response from local residents. The Garrett County Commissioners oppose the idea. And some farmers have raised concerns about crop and property damage.
Proponents say residents shouldn't overlook the social and economic benefits of a Maryland elk herd.