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Running, horseback riding on Dungeness Spit to disappear – Comment period to end soon

Op/Ed by Sue Forde

Posted 12/5/2012

Clallam County, WA – No more jogging?  No more horseback riding?  Walking may be next?  The US  Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)  has offered three possibilities for the future of the Dungeness Spit – where residents and tourists used to be free to walk, run, and ride their horses – all without any harm to the wildlife there, which always seems to adjust to the presence of people.


The Spit, now known as the “Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge“, is operated by the USFWS, which has issued plans for change in the use of the once-open and enjoyed area.  Their preferred option is to remove the right of people to jog and ride their horses on the Spit.  They plan on exchanging that freedom for more “environmental education”.


President Woodrow Wilson established the Refuge on January 20, 1915 by Executive Order as a refuge, preserve, and breeding ground for native birds.  Executive orders themselves are a questionable practice, as they have never been authorized by the U.S. Constitution.  The USFWS has managed Wildlife Refuges, according to their website, for the purpose of “planning a better future for wildlife and people on National Wildlife Refuges.”  The order – first wildlife, and then people – might be a clue as to why  the federal agency might want to take away the pleasures of folks from around the area and the tourists who often visit.  USFWS manages an amazing array of U.S. resources, as can be seen listed here:


The reasoning is to for “the reduction of the …carbon footprint”, among other things.  And what is the “carbon footprint”?  That’s a buzzword for – you guessed it! – you and me!  “Carbon footprint is defined as “the amount of greenhouse gases and specifically carbon dioxide emitted by something (as a person’s activities or a product’s manufacture and transport) during a given period.” (Miriam-Webster Dictionary).  Carbon dioxide is the air we exhale.


So now the air that we breathe is called “greenhouses gases”?  No wonder there are those who would like to see the earth greatly depopulated. (Just type is “depopulation” into any search engine on the Internet and start reading.)  This, by the way, is one major goal of UN Agenda 21 – Sustainable Development – which has weaved its way throughout every government agency, and is being implemented as a change of governance other than what our founding fathers gave us.  According to the ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (formerly ‘International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives’) website which promotes the concept of Agenda 21 – Sustainable Development worldwide, “The ecological footprint of humanity on this planet has become unsustainable.”


Another is “the consideration of climate change.”  Excuse me – our climate changes almost every day! (Notice it is no longer called “global warming” or “global cooling”, since each of those dire predictions came and went, and have been exposed by real scientists.)


The USFWS has offered three alternatives.  The first – and best, in my opinion – will leave things just the way they are now.  The second – their “preferred” option – cuts out all horseback riding and jogging, and limits boat landing hours.  “…[J]ogging is not appropriate due to wildlife disturbance and therefore would no longer be allowed,” says the USFWS bulletin.  The third alternative would restrict people from being on the Spit even further, while “wildlife viewing and interpretive and environmental education programs would be slightly more frequent.”


Every horse organization, owner and/or rider knows there aren’t all that many places left where you can ride a horse on a beach. Unless there is an extension of time to comment,  this will be the last opportunity to comment to be able to continue accessing Dungeness Spit on horseback, unless enough people contact the USFWS and request an extension of time.


The three alternatives and the maps can be seen here.  You should also download the full plan from the USFWS website if you want to have more to comment on.  Comments have to be submitted no later than close of business December 27, 2012.

Here’s how to contact the USFWS:

U.S. mail:
Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex
715 Holgerson Road
Sequim, WA 98382
Please include “Dungeness NWR CCP” in the subject line of the message.
Phone: 360-457-8451
Fax: 360-457-9778

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

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