WARRENTON, Ore. (KOIN) — Herds of elk are magnificent to see but they can also pose a danger when they come in contact with humans — or when humans come in contact with elk.
City leaders in Oregon coastal towns are joining forces to come up with creative solutions to limit those negative interactions.
Warrenton Mayor Henry Balensifer told KOIN 6 News they’re working to minimize those interactions – such as car and elk collisions, destroyed gardens, golf courses and other property, trampled and killed dogs — through a regional collaborative.
“We had instances where children have been charged by elk in this park. We’ve also had instances where people get stuck in their homes because elk won’t let them to get into their cars to go to work, elderly individuals have had this as well,” Balensifer said. “We’ve had people get trapped on the trails. One person was gored, one person was knocked on their behind.”
Gearhart resident Tony Coulombe said their residents aren’t allowed to feed the elk. “But people will get mad because they have their hanging flowers and potted plants and the elk will pull those out and destroy them. But we don’t have any of those in our yard because we know the elk are here.”
The mayor said the trendlines show interactions between elk and humans have increased over the past few years.
Leaders are working with Oregon Solutions from PSU to create suggestions for a management plan. Among its stakeholders are Balesifer, Gearhart Mayor Matt Brown, law enforcement, the state fish and wildlife employees and others.
KOIN 6 News will keep following this story.