Decision on goose hunt right one to make

On a 3-2 vote this week Alpena Municipal Council agreed to reinstate a goose hunt within city limits this fall.

While we appreciate a spirited debate such as that which occurred Monday, ultimately we believe the decision was the correct one.

For decades Alpena has dealt with an increase of the Canada goose population within the city. While no one would argue the birds are beautiful and an important part of our natural resources, most also would agree that as the population swells, the birds have a tendency to become a nuisance.

Over the years various attempts have been made to address the problem and discourage the birds from frequenting public areas, but nothing seemed to work. Several years ago city officials enacted a public hunt, and that helped curb the growing problem. The last public hunt held in Alpena was in 2009.

We agree with those who said the goose population is again at pre-2009 levels. Something needed done, and we believe this is the best option.

While we appreciate the dissenting votes of Shawn Sexton and Cindy Johnson, we should point out the problem with geese in municipalities seems to be a universal one, and not just unique to Alpena.

Earlier this week a story out of South Bend, Ind., centered on the killing of 400 geese in the Lake Mishawaka area. All the alternative controls discussed Monday in Alpena also had been tried there, but none worked. One of the real problems experienced there was the goose poop was causing high bacteria levels in the city’s Splash Fountain – to the point where the city was forced to shut the fountain down for days on end.

As Alpena grows as a tourism attraction, it needs to address issues of concern and find good solutions to resolving them.

On one hand the geese are an asset while on the other a detriment. Finding a healthy balance between “too much” and “not enough” seems to be the goal here.

We believe a limited hunt, with clear objectives as to the number that should be taken, will help provide that balance for the community.