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Local legislator may move to take back property at Dungeness Spit

December 20th, 2012 - 6:22am

(Sequim) -- A local state representative may ask the state to take away property if the federal government doesn't readdress a plan to ban horseback riding and jogging on Dungeness Spit.

24th District Representative Kevin Van De Wege says he's looking into legislation allowing the state to retake control of part of the Spit.

The state gave easements to the federal government to develop the wildlife refuge area.

Van De Wege says he has received many calls from constituents upset at a draft comprehensive plan for the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge would ban riding horses and jogging.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service says such uses disturb wildlife, something Van De Wege calls shaky at best.

Van De Wege would rather see signs along the trails to educate Spit users about protecting wildlife. He says most visitors to the Spit are walkers and hikers rather than joggers.

As for horseback riding, Van De Wege says an incident earlier this year along a shared trail between a horse and pedestrian resulted in serious injury to the pedestrian.

Van De Wege says that incident is behind the federal government's proposal to ban all horseback riding. But it was a rare event, and he thinks there are other ways to handle it.

Van De Wege expressed his concerns in a comment letter to Fish and Wildlife on the proposal.

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