Elk standing ground at Rita Valentine Park | SteamboatToday.com

Elk standing ground at Rita Valentine Park

A cow elk confronts two dogs that have gotten too close to her and her calves in Rita Valentine Park. The elk was tranquilized Thursday and relocated to an area near the Flat Tops.

— A cow elk that prompted the temporary closing of some Rita Valentine Park trails was still standing her ground Thursday.

It is believed that the cow gave birth to two calves in the park Sunday night, and she is aggressively protecting them. The cow has charged humans and did a "tap dance" on a dog that got too close Monday night, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins.

"We're hoping she moves on," Haskins said Thursday. "We're hoping the calves are getting to the point where she can move them."

Haskins said he thought the elk would have already left the park.

The elk has been hanging out on a hill overlooking Hilltop Parkway, and Haskins said people have been good about avoiding the area. Signs have been placed there to inform people about the trail closures.

Haskins urged people to stay away from the elk, and dogs especially should be kept at a distance.

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"She'll get ugly," Haskins said.

Haskins said the elk is fine as long as people are not nearby.

"She certainly gets nervous when you get close to her," Haskins said.

All of Rita Valentine Park is an off-leash dog park, but dogs still are required to be under sight and voice command at all times.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland