Seattle Times: Sequim elk in urban squeeze

Seattle Times:

Nothing defines this sun-soaked Olympic Peninsula city quite like its herd of Roosevelt elk.

Visitors to the town of 4,700 pass welcome signs adorned with a steel elk sculpture and metal elk silhouettes. Elk sit atop street signs downtown. There are elk-crossing signals on the highway, elk-viewing signs on the roads, elk figurines in shops and giant elk statues advertising strip malls.

But in the past two years, elk in Sequim have become such a pain in the buck that the nearby Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe last month asked the state to consider moving the herd dozens of miles away. And city officials are considering making the same request.

As more and more retirees discover Sequim, the elk are being hemmed in by all the development. Rather than migrate through the city on the way to and from the moss-draped forests all around, the 1,000-pound beasts now hang around town all year, eating crops, tromping through gardens and city parks, and ignoring biologists who have tried firecrackers and gunfire to scare them away.