Coastal city ends hunting in forest reserve

CANNON BEACH, Ore. — The Cannon Beach City Council has voted to end hunting in a city-owned forest reserve of more than 1,000 acres.

Council members said hikers worried about getting hit, and only five hunters had used the reserve in the past two years, none of them residents of the coastal vacation and tourist town.

The council’s 4-1 vote Tuesday reversed two decisions, the Daily Astorian (http://bit.ly/1q7G3G4) reported.

The city gained control over the reserve in 2012 after voters approved a $4 million bond issue and the city acquired the bulk of the land from the state Department of Forestry. The reserve has springs that are the city’s primary water supply.

The council voted in 2012 to allow bow hunting that year for deer and elk, and the next year shotgun hunting, both decisions described as experimental and to run for five years.

Council member Mike Benefield, appointed to fill a vacancy several months ago, said a survey conducted when the reserve was initially proposed showed a majority of residents wanted only passive recreation. He described himself as a hiker and called the idea of hunting intimidating.

“I think the City Council made a mistake allowing hunting on the property, and I will vote to eliminate it,” he said.

Hunting supporters said it’s hard to get a state-issued tag for the area that includes the reserve. They also said the fee the city charged was a deterrent. The city charged $200 for a hunting permit during the first year and $50 last year.

Herman Bierdebeck, a biologist for the state department of Fish and Wildlife, said land such as the reserve where hunting has been allowed for generations is increasingly being put off limits to hunters.

“You can continue this experiment,” he told the council. “There haven’t been any problems that we’re aware of, so why not let it continue?

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