We are very alarmed by the potential impact of two bills now in committee at the state Legislature, that may affect citizens’ use of Deception Pass State Park, South Whidbey State Park and 20 other Puget Sound and Washington coastline parks.
House Bill 2341 and Senate Bill 6456 gives priority to military land use over civilian land use, not only adjacent to a military base but if the land is in the vicinity of a military installation. Civilian use of land may be denied if development may interfere with the military’s current or future requirements. This language is vague and will result in military overreach in control of privately owned or publicly protected lands, such as state and other parks.
One hidden message in these proposed bills is that the U.S. Navy should be granted use of our parks as staging locations for shore and land assault practice for the Navy Seals. If allowed, Navy Seal assault teams will secretly approach the park shorelines in full weaponry, leaving whatever craft deposits them, to swim and creep onto the shore, avoiding detection and remaining in place to assess their success. The parks will not be closed to the public during these training sessions and may result in accidental confrontation with park visitors.
The U.S. Navy should use the miles of Puget Sound and ocean beach shoreline that they already possess for their U.S. Navy Seals training.
If you believe that our parks are needed for peaceful family recreation and quiet places of greenery and restoration of mind and spirit; and if you believe that this is encroachment of the military onto public parklands, please send your emails to U.S. Navy at firstname.lastname@example.org and to Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission at Commission@parks.wa.gov
This commission will make the final decision as to whether the U.S. Navy Seals will be allowed to use our Washington state parks for combat training.
Try to attend the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) public meeting 5-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Oak Harbor School District, ASC Board Room.