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Local state rep., Audobon Society present new proposal for Dungeness Spit

January 18th, 2013 - 6:49am

(Sequim) - A local state representative and the Audubon Society have agreed on a proposal that would allow jogging and horseback riding on parts Dungeness Spit.

The agreement came after members of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society were concerned about Representative Kevin Van De Wege's position on a proposed management plan for the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge.

The US Fish and Wildlife Department has proposed banning jogging and horseback riding.

Van De Wege said that went too far and he'd pursue taking back state easements to the federal government at the refuge in order to preserve horseback riding and jogging in the area. Van De Wege tells KONP, that position ruffled some Audubon Society members though. He met with the society members earlier this month and they hammered out a joint proposal to submit to the feds.

Van De Wege says their plan recommends horseback riding continue on the beach southwest of the base of the Spit, and be banned on beaches leading toward the lighthouse.

The agreement also would prohibit jogging from the upland paved trail to the beaches and on the north, northeast spit beaches leading toward the lighthouse to avoid disturbing birds. Jogging would still be allowed on the beach southwest of the spit access trail, toward McDonald Creek.

The public comment period for the federal government's draft conservation plan, which includes the proposed complete ban on jogging and horseback riding, has been extended to the end of February.

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