Public Meeting Spotlights Dungeness Elk Herd
Management options for the Dungeness elk herd will be the focus of an informational open house and public meeting sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and its partners in elk stewardship on Feb. 24 in Sequim.
Both the open house and the public meeting that follows will be held at Guy Cole Convention Center at Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Ave., in Sequim.
The open house, scheduled from 1-5 p.m., will feature informational booths on various aspects of the Dungeness herd, made up of Roosevelt elk that roam the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula. The booths will be staffed by members of the Dungeness Elk Working Team, which includes representatives of various local, state, federal, tribal and volunteer groups involved in managing the herd.
WDFW will then hold a public discussion from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on plans for managing the herd during the 2004-05 hunting season and beyond. Public comments received at the meeting will be considered in developing both the hunting season and long-term herd-management strategies, said Jack Smith, regional WDFW wildlife manager.
“We would really like to work with area residents to reach a general agreement on the optimum size of the herd,” Smith said. “On one hand, we hear a lot of concerns about crop damage and highway safety. On the other hand, we hear from people who don’t want to see any hunting in the area. We’d like to enlist people in finding some common ground.”
In addition to comments received at the meeting, WDFW will also consider any written recommendations received on the issue by March 3. Comments should be addressed to Anita McMillan, P.O. Box 1686, Port Angeles, WA 98362 or sent via e-mail to email@example.com
Working in conjunction with other members of the Dungeness Elk Working Team, WDFW has implemented a variety of strategies in recent years for managing the herd, ranging from “hazing” elk out of agricultural areas to equipping animals with radio collars that trigger elk-warning lights on highway safety signs.
Responding to ongoing complaints about property damage and highway safety, WDFW adopted liberalized rules for the 2003-04 hunting season that resulted in reducing the size of the herd from 125 elk to about 75 elk, Smith said.
“We still have a healthy herd, but at a reduced size,” Smith said. “Now the issue we want to discuss with area residents and others at the meeting is what they would like to see in the future,” Smith said.
Joining in that and other discussions about the long-term management of the herd will be members of Dungeness Elk Working Team, which includes representatives from Clallam County, the City of Sequim, the S’Klallam Tribe, the U.S. Forest Service, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the North Olympic Land Trust, the Dungeness Valley Managed Agricultural & Wildlife Area, the Sequim Elk Habitat Committee and Eyes in the Woods.
Directions to the meeting:
Driving to Sequim from the east – Take the Sequim Ave. exit; turn right onto S. Sequim Ave.; turn right onto E. Washington St.; turn left onto S. Blake Ave. and turn right into the Carrie Blake Park.
Driving to Sequim from the west – Take the Sequim Ave. exit; turn left onto S. Sequim Ave.; turn right onto E. Washington St.; turn left onto S. Blake Ave. and turn right into the Carrie Blake Park.