Interview With Todd Jensen

From the interview with Todd Jensen, head ranger at Fort Worden State Park, conducted on January 4, 2007 by Patience Rogge at the Fort Worden History Center.  Here he discusses wildlife seen in the park:

“There’s lots of it.  Quite a few people have encounters with the coyotes that live here in Fort Worden or are passing through.  Deer are also a common sight.  Sometimes you’ll see coyotes trotting across the parade ground in the middle of the day; normally, they’re best seen around dusk or sunrise.  But the deer can be seen just about any time of the day.  There is a pretty good population of deer the park, although you can go days without seeing them and then see a half dozen or more.  It seems that both the deer and the coyotes have transient as well as resident populations.  There are bald eagles just about every year that are wonderful to see, and lots of different kinds of ducks, blue herons, and kingfishers and cormorants offshore.  We have both the Douglas squirrel and the gray squirrel, and raccoons as well, but I don’t see as many raccoons in this park as in any of the other parks I’ve worked in.  We do get more complaints about raccoons stealing people’s food in the summertime because they’ll leave their food out in the campsites.  There have been confirmed sightings of cougars in the park, I haven’t actually seen them myself.  I haven’t seen any bobcats either.  One of the most interesting animals I’ve seen is in the marten family, weasels. I’ve seen them go down the storm drains or crossing the road.  The other very interesting animal we have here is the river otter.  You see them frequently in the warmer months of the summer.  You can see them hauled out on the float down by the Marine Science Center, crossing the road, going up the hill.  I’ve seen them going under the JFK building too.  They’re kind of neat to see and fun to watch.  They can make a real mess when they get into somebody’s boat, and it is a real challenge for us to keep the moorage float cleaned off.  You just have to hose it off or use buckets of sea water—they’re not your clean animal.”

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