Opposition to hunting at RI wildlife refuge ramps up

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) — Plans to allow hunting at a federal national wildlife refuge in Rhode Island are getting pushback from area residents who say it’s too dangerous.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed allowing hunting at all sanctuaries of the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, including Sachuest Point in Middletown, according to The Newport Daily News.

The proposal is currently going through an environmental assessment, said Janis Nepshinsky, visitor services manager for federal wildlife refuges in the state.

The plan calls for the 242-acre refuge to be opened for hunting for three days in the fall or winter beginning in 2021, Nepshinsky said. The refuge would be closed to all other activities.

The draft plan says there is “a limited deer population” on Sachuest Point.

Katherine Carbone, of Newport, has started an online petition that has been signed by more than 50,000 people who do not want hunting at the refuge that’s adjacent to two town beaches.

Because the refuge is small, stray bullets from hunters could reach the beach areas, she said.

Carbone also said there are environmental reasons for not allowing hunting.

The town also sent a letter of opposition signed by Town Council President Robert Sylvia to the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge.

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