Above: the Oaks to Wetlands trail in southwest Washington's Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, which also features the Cathlapotle Plankhouse.
Postscript (Jan. 27, 2010) -- A story about a loose bull, a SWAT team, and another nature preserve in Ridgefield is making national news today. An excerpt from The Columbian:
The bull, which had a hump like a Brahman, was killed after sheriff’s deputies, riders and its owner spent several hours trying to lasso it.
“It wouldn’t let us get near it,” said Sgt. Steve Shea with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. “We were chasing it all over the place.”
He added, “The worry was that, if someone came down the road at 50 mph and hit the bull, people could get hurt or killed.”
About 8:40 a.m. Tuesday, someone called 911 to say the bull was on a road creating a traffic hazard near Northwest 21st Avenue and 179th Street, near the fairgrounds.
Deputy Tommy Green arrived to find that someone left a gate open and the young bull was in an area that was mostly fenced. The bull had long, sharp horns and Green tried to keep it where it was.
Deputies summoned the bull’s owner, a property renter whose name was not available, to the scene. Deputies hoped she could walk close enough to rope the bull, but it was too skittish.
The owner tried putting grain in a can and shaking it, but the bull only allowed her to approach to an estimated 20 feet before bolting. Other people could get only an estimated 50 yards from the bull as it roamed the area.
Deputies also asked 911 dispatchers to call for someone with a tranquilizer gun, but no one authorized to deal with cattle was available, Shea said.
The bull wasn’t charging at people, Shea said. “He just wanted to get away from us.”
Melissa Williams of Ridgefield said she’d come to the park with a friend, Caitlynn Ralston, to ride their horses in the 300-acre park, which has more than four miles of trails.
Ralston, a Brush Prairie resident, offered to try to capture the bull with her horse, Zip, which is trained for herding cows, and her dog, Smoky, a blue heeler.
In a pasture, Williams said, “The horse got spooked about the bull and bucked her off.”