Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | We’ll exercise our rights

To the editor:

Public use of Deer Lagoon’s Dike 4 for passive recreation at all times of the year is something we take for granted on South Whidbey. Access to the dike was upheld by the court in Brown vs. H&H Properties in 1993, and we’ve been walking there ever since.

The county-owned portion of Deer Lagoon is under the administration of the department of public works. Public — as in “open for the equal benefit of all.”

So know this: We will exercise our right to walk on the dike, regardless of whether or not shooters, who are not legally privileged in their enjoyment of the lagoon, are present. We will exercise our right to kayak, wade and skip rocks on the lagoon, whether or not shooters, who are not legally privileged in their enjoyment of the lagoon, are present.

And by the way, we cannot guarantee our children won’t find their way to the lagoon on their own some foggy winter morning when visibility is down to 30 yards.

Island County commissioners cannot legally protect non-shooters by excluding them from the lagoon. By the same token, they cannot legally exclude non-shooters unless they exclude shooters as well.

So what are they going to do about that? When a non-shooter engaged in passive recreation on the lagoon gets injured by an accidental shotgun blast, are county officials going to say “Too bad. You got what you deserved”? Do they really think that will stand up in court? Are they willing to have that on their consciences? Are hunters willing to compensate victims of their not-very-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things “hobby”?

For the love of God, commissioners, stop this madness! Have the courage to do the right thing.

Paul Thompson


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