Navy training proposal
Update June 21, 2022: “There will be no appeal of Judge Dixon’s decision. The commission’s months-long effort to accommodate the Navy’s request to continue Navy SEAL training at state parks has come to an end. It’s time for us to focus on getting ready for what we anticipate will be a record number of visitors in our parks this year. We are confident that the Navy will find alternative training sites, and we wish them the best of luck.“ - Mark O. Brown, Commission Chair
Update Jan. 29, 2021: The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission voted 4-3 to approve the Navy proposal at its regular meeting on Jan. 28. During the meeting, staff introduced an amendment to their recommendations that added more stringent criteria for consideration, and the commission added their own as well. The new parameters will likely rule out many of the parks during the permit application process. State Parks does NOT have a list of which state parks will be permitted. Staff will begin the permitting process soon, and the process will be done incrementally on a park-by-park basis.
For more information, please view the news release.
Staff of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has issued a SEPA threshold determination for The United States (U.S.) Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) request to conduct special operations training at 28 state parks and found the proposal does not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment. Pursuant to WAC 197-11-350(3), the Navy’s proposal has been clarified, changed, and conditioned to include necessary mitigation measures.
The SEPA threshold determination and associated documents can be found here.
STATE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT (SEPA) CURRENT PROJECTS PAGE
- Combined written public Navy Proposal comments received through Dec. 18, 2020
- Combined written public Navy Proposal comments received after Dec. 18, 2020
Related Commission meeting Agendas and Items
- March 12, 2020 Regular Commission Meeting Agenda
- Nov. 19 2020 Remote Regular Commission Meeting Agenda
- Jan. 26, 2021 Remote Special Commission Meeting Agenda
- Jan. 27, 2021 Remote Regular Commission Work Session Agenda
- Jan. 28, 2021 Remote Regular Commission Meeting Agenda
- Item E-1: Naval Special Operations Training in Washington State Parks
- Naval Special Operations Training in Washington State Parks REQUESTED ACTION Staff Presentation
- Item E-3 2021 Commission Priorities Presentation
- Item E-5 January 2021 Commission Legislative Report
- SEPA Final Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance
- Pre-Arranged Speaker- PDA Reorganization Summary
- Pre-Arranged Speaker - WSPF Presentation
- Feb. 11, 2021 Remote Special Commission Meeting Agenda
- View All Agendas and Items
Documents, presentations and reports
- 2014 Letter of Permission
- 2015 Right of Entry permit
- Parks response to draft Environmental Assessment (3-22-18)
- Navy application (2-12-20)
- Navy Special Operations - WA State Parks Commission letter (3-12-20)
- Navy Special Operations permit extension request (4-2-20)
- WSPRC response to Navy extension request (4-27-20)
- State Parks news release (2-19-20)
- Letter from Gov. Inslee (3-23-18)
- Agency Director's information request letter to Navy (11-30-20)
- Navy Response Letter to Agency Director's information request (12-4-20)
Commission Meeting Minutes
- Minutes of the Nov. 18 and 19 Remote Planning Session and Regular Commission Meetings
- DRAFT minutes of the Jan. 26, Remote Special Commission Meeting
- DRAFT minutes of the Jan. 27, 28 Remote Regular Commission Work Session and Meeting
Commission meeting Videos
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (*UPDATED FEB. 19, 2020)
*This page will be updated periodically to include additional questions/answers as needed.
Is the Navy currently using State Parks for Special Operations training?
No. The Navy’s Right of Entry permit expired in May 2020
Does State Parks have the authority to permit Navy use of State Parks?
Yes. State law allows the Commission to govern state parks for both public recreation and public benefits if there is no direct conflict with laws. (RCW 79A.05.030(1))
Commission authority to cooperate with federal government agencies and issue permits to use state parks:
• RCW 79A.05.070
Commission administrative rules on the issuance of permits:
• WAC 352-32-300
Commission policy and delegation to staff to issue permits, including rights of entry:
• 25-07-1 Delegations of Authority for Real Estate Transactions & Service (authority delegated to Director from Commission).
• Delegation of Authority Memorandum dated Sept. 16, 2013, revised Nov. 6, 2013. (Authority delegated from Director to Assistant Director)
Have there been any Navy personnel/trainee conflicts in the parks resulting from these trainings?
No. We are not aware of any conflicts between the Navy and the public during training’s in Washington state parks. The Navy has protocols in place to stop exercises if a member of the public enters the training area.
Will State Parks be compensated by the Navy for training activities?
The Navy is responsible for paying the required application processing fee outlined in State Parks’ Real Property Agreement fee schedule. (WAC 352-32-300)
How does the Commission make decisions on these types of requests?
Commission decisions consider several factors including agency policy, staff recommendations, environmental review and public input. All decisions are made in an open public meeting.
Does the Navy’s request include simulated munitions in state parks?
No. The Navy has not included the simulated building clearance training (which uses simulated munitions) in their application.
Does the Navy’s request include use of Unmanned Aircraft (drones) in the state parks?
No. The Navy has not included the use of unmanned aircraft systems in their application.
Will State Parks conduct environmental review?
Yes. State Parks must consider the environmental implications of its decisions consistent with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Some decisions may be exempted from the statutory requirements of a threshold determination if they meet the criteria of either a statutory (RCW 43.21C) or categorial exemption (WAC 197-11-800). Agencies are not required to document categorical exemptions. An agency can adopt National Environmental Policy Act environmental documents for consideration under SEPA (WAC 197-11-610). However, State Parks has requested the Navy prepare a SEPA checklist as part of its request that Parks intends to issue a threshold determination.
Can the public participate in this process?
Yes. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission welcomes and encourages public involvement. Comments can be provided electronically through the link on this web page, mailed into the address provided on this web page, or in person at any of the regularly scheduled commission meetings.
All comments will be provided to the Commission for consideration.