JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A federal judge has invalidated a 2015 U.S. Forest Service decision that reauthorized a state of Wyoming elk feedground permit in the Jackson Hole area.

The ruling issued last Friday by U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal found that the Forest Service didn't properly follow established procedures when it approved a long-term permit for operation of the Alkali Creek Elk Feedground.

The ruling sends the matter back to the Forest Service to address the issue.

The feedground is located on the Bridger-Teton National Forest but is operated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to help sustain elk over the long, harsh winters.

However, conservation groups and others contend the feedgrounds can potentially spread diseases like chronic wasting disease among elk when they congregate in close quarters.

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