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Author Topic: How to protect wintering elk  (Read 2529 times)

Offline Alchase

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How to protect wintering elk
« on: June 14, 2007, 06:46:10 AM »
This is an interesting article on wintering elk protection. I believe the meeting is tonight? Anyone going?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 9:39 PM US/Western

How to protect wintering elk?
senior writer
ELLENSBURG — Rural landowners and others in the community concerned with elk habitat and recreation are invited to a Thursday public meeting to examine proposals to protect elk on their wintering range in the Whisky Dick/Quilomene/Colockum wildlife areas northeast of Ellensburg.

    Two of the options up for review are partial or full closure of the state-owned areas to recreational use.

    The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Thursday in the Ellensburg High School Little Theatre. The session is co-sponsored by the Kittitas County Big Game Management Roundtable and the state Department of Fish & Wildlife.

    Anthony Novack, a state wildlife department deer-elk conflict specialist, said the proposals are being put forth in an effort to limit the amount of disturbance to elk caused by recreational activities on their wintering range during February-April 2008 and 2009. The goal is to reduce stress on the wintering animals and keep them from entering private property in the lower elevation areas of the Kittitas Valley.

    Novack summarized the options as the following:

    • No action — Nothing changes in the land-use pattern in the area, except the implementation of the Wild Horse coordinated resource management grazing plan. This option indicates that, without a change, there will likely be a long-term decline in the condition of the elk herd, and elk will continue to migrate early in the season on to private lands in the Parke Creek area and cause damage.
    • No motorized vehicles — All the elk winter range on the Whisky Dick, Quilomene and Colockum wildlife areas would be closed to motorized vehicle access between Feb. 1 and April 15. The seasonal closure affects roads east of the north-south route from Beacon Ridge Road to Powerline, Brewton and Colockum roads. Non-motorized access — foot, horseback or bicycle — would be allowed.

    • Complete closure — All of the above wildlife areas in the previously designated area would be closed to all public access between Feb. 1 and April 15. No motorized or non-motorized access of any kind would be allowed.

    • Whisky Dick closure — The majority of winter range on the Whisky Dick Wildlife area would be closed to all public entry for two years. Closure would be enacted Feb. 1 through May 1, 2008 and the same time in 2009. This seasonal closure would shut all access to the north of Vantage Highway, south of Quilomene Ridge Road and the area east of Beacon Ridge Road.

    A document assessing the options acknowledges that not allowing motorized vehicles allows some recreational use of the lands but targets one user-group disproportionately for closure. It doesn’t address the elk disturbance caused by non-motorized recreationists.

    The full closure provides maximum protection for elk, the assessment states, and shifts public use to the west of the winter range to block early migration.

    The full, public closure of only the Whisky Dick area maintains recreational opportunities in the other areas, but may result in concentrated and increased recreational activity in the other two wildlife areas, according to the assessment.

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Offline boneaddict

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Re: How to protect wintering elk
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2007, 10:48:25 AM »
Another stab at shed hunting. :'(
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Offline Buckblaster

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Re: How to protect wintering elk
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2007, 08:04:05 AM »
I've put many a mile quad riding in the Quilomene. I've wondered when it would be addressed. It's a big area with alot of remote canyons and ridges that have no roads. No doubt that closures would help the wintering animals but I hate to see it. It's pretty cool to go out riding in the early spring and see those huge herds of elk.
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