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County to hold meeting on shortened hunting season at Island Center Forest
King County officials will take feedback on a recent proposal to close Island Center Forest to everyone but hunters for two weeks in October at a public meeting next week.
The county developed the proposal for a shortened hunting season after some Islanders last fall raised concerns about the safety of hunters and pedestrians sharing the thick, low-visibility forest.
The proposed hunting season would occur Oct. 15-31, during which time the forest would be closed to all other uses. Hunting would not be allowed at the 81-acre natural area within the boundaries of the forest.
A two-week comment period on the proposal begins today. At the meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 20. at Vashon High School, county officials will explain the proposal, answer questions and hear comments from Islanders, said county natural resources manager David Kimmett. Attendees will also have the opportunity to give written feedback at the meeting.
“For those people that use Island Center Forest and want to hear more about this proposal or have concerns or support it, we welcome them to come to the meeting,” Kimmett said.
Kimmett said he believes the proposal is a good compromise for both the hunters who wish to keep using the forest and the walkers, runners and equestrians who are concerned about their safety during hunting season.
The 17-day season will be a pilot program, Kimmett said. Afterwards, the county will evaluate the season's success, including how many hunters visit the forest and how many animals they take
“It's something that's rare,” Kimmett said of closing the park to other uses. “But we still think this is the best way to ensure everyone's safety and still allow hunting. We want to acknowledge this historic use of the sight for hunting, but we're concerned about everyone's safety.”
For more information on the proposed hunting season at Island Center Forest, see www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/trails/backcountry. Click “Island Center Forest” on the left, then “Hunting Proposal FAQ” on the right.
The public meeting on the proposal will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Vashon High School commons.
The public can comment on the proposal until Sept. 28 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending comments to Kevin Brown, King County Parks, 201 S. Jackson Street, Suite 800, Seattle, WA 98104.