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Grand Canyon removing grass that attracts elk

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September 16, 2013 09:57 AM EST | AP


GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. — The lawns surrounding hotels and lodges at the Grand Canyon are being removed as part of a plan to keep elk and visitors away from each other.

Elk regularly jam up the park's road, graze on the lawns and can become aggressive, particularly during the fall rutting season.

Park officials want to reduce interactions with humans by depriving the elk of the food and water sources that lure them to popular tourist gathering spots.

The plan is to replace nonnative grass with native vegetation that is abundant throughout the park, so that the elk don't necessarily prefer one area over another.

The two-day project to remove the lawns using herbicide is set to begin Tuesday, weather permitting. Native plants will become part of the landscape beginning next year.