Running Banned at 3 Oregon Refuges

Brisk walking still a grey area

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John James Audubon, 1812.     Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

Oregon officials have planted "no joggings signs" at three national wildlife refuges in the Willamette Valley to discourage a pace that they say will disrupt wildlife. The signs have surprised some runners, but wildlife officials say that jogging can stress animal populations and disrupt breeding. Regulations also prohibit bicycling, horseback riding, and pets. Hiking, however, is allowed, as is hunting in the fall season.

"To allow hunting and not jogging really surprises me," said Tim Johnson who leads trips with the Salem Audubon Society. "I feel for joggers who just want to be out in a beautiful place, and I'm surprised that it's forbidden."

"It might be a new sign, but jogging has never been allowed in the (Willamette) wildlife refuges," Jock Beall, Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex biologist, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. "Activities with higher speeds can be disruptive and cause stress to the animals. We identify compatible uses on a refuge by refuge basis — we just look at which activities are best for each one."

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