I am writing this letter to oppose the WNWR Alternatives 2 and 3. I am a fourth generation cranberry farmer who manages our familys 85-acre farm. We have five separate farms on the Peninsula. We have two on 55th and Jim Street that would be greatly affected by removing the dikes. We have an elk problem already and by removing habitat for the elk, it will put more pressure on our farms and would cause us and other cranberry growers more economic damage with no plan to mitigate it.
Ill take an excerpt from the WNWR Draft page 89 220.127.116.11 Big Game Hunting Rationale Across Washington elk and deer are increasingly causing damage to private and commercial property including orchards and landscaping. As a result few if any places are willing to accept relocated deer and elk. So why would we force them out of an area where they have protection when there is already a known problem in this state? Those elk at the Riekkola Unit typically come down in that area on 55th and Jim Street in the fall and then get pushed back into the refuge. My worry is that if their habitat is gone, where will they go when they get pushed around by hunters and if those fields arent there all year would they spend more time on our farms? Those fields are home base for those elk.
I am also very concerned about pushing those elk out of the Leadbetter Unit with proposed hunts. We have three farms between Cranberry Road and Pioneer Road. I can remember 15 to 20 years ago having an elk problem there. Those elk that were there either went south to the Riekkola Unit or north to the Leadbetter Unit. I believe most of them went north to Leadbetter. If they get pressured theres only one way for them to go and thats south, back in our farms where we dont want them.
I think anybody who does any gardening or landscaping wouldnt want elk tearing everything up thats for pleasure. Our farm is how I support my family and pay the bills. With the cost of business going up, why make it harder for local farmers to survive? I would assume the cranberry industry plays a major part of the local economy and wouldnt want to hurt that.
Im not against WNWR at all. I know lots of good people that work there and I think WNWR has done a good job over the years. Our farm has donated to the Friends group in the past and some of my family are members. Option 1 (no action) I feel is the best option as I understand it. There is no loss of jobs or cutbacks with option 1, just maintaining and enhancing what you already have. I appreciate the chance to view my concerns,
Tucker Glenn, Manager