Superior Court rules against military use of state parks

Judge James Dixon of the Thurston Co. Superior Court ruled that WA State Parks Commissioners were arbitrary and capricious when they allowed the military to use our state parks for military training.  He agreed with Zak Griefen (Bircklin and Neumann) that there was no better word than “creepy” that citizens would feel in parks with military around.  He cited the RCWs under which Parks is allowed to operate and that Parks decision was clearly erroneous and violated its purpose in this case; they violated provisions set forth in the SEPA Act.

The citizens are entitled to attorney fees.


Background on this, years ago, when the military first proposed this, it was argued to the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (of which I was the chair) and which included one of the “good old boys” from the Port, that this was outrageous and should be challenged by us and denied by the Port. The Port Commissioner just laughed and said that he could see “nothing wrong” with the idea. No one else in the MRC thought it was worth challenging though it was our charter to protect the waters of the county. It’s nice to see that the legal system stood up for our rights when finally taken to court. As has been said many times here, it appears the only way to really protect the environment is to take the offenders to court. There seems to be no appetite by most of the “environmental” community on the Olympic Peninsula to take public sides against these outrageous acts. The days of environmental groups fighting for our environment seem long gone, except for a few exceptions. You can help by funding the ones that still fight in court. That will do far more than anything else you can do.

9 Responses

  1. Hi Al,

    This is super interesting. Do you have access to the final summary judgement in this case? I’d be interested to read it. In particular, I am trying to get a better understanding of when SEPA is working to meet its intent and when it tis not and what instances the Courts are actually finding the State violated SEPA/ they don’t defer to agency opinion.

    If not, can you point me in the right direction? Thanks for all you do. I truly feel more informed on local issues from your coverage. Also, stay tuned for an update on the net pen issue later this week.

    Best, Emma

    On Fri, Apr 1, 2022 at 4:03 PM Olympic Peninsula Environmental News wrote:

    > Al Bergstein posted: ” Judge James Dixon of the Thurston Co. Superior > Court ruled that WA State Parks Commissioners were arbitrary and capricious > when they allowed the military to use our state parks for military > training. He agreed with Zak Griefen (Bircklin and Neumann) tha” >

    • Thanks Emma. I understand that the lawyers for the plaintiffs were waiting on a final judgement. Not sure when that will happen. Maybe it already has.

  2. Good Job

  3. Excellent news! Thank you to those who defended the rights of the citizens to use the parks without military training being a part of it. Thanks Al for the work you do and this newsletter that keeps me informed on things I have little time to research myself. I truly
    appreciate what you do.

  4. Wow!! Best thing I’ve heard in days! THANK YOU to Al for the getting the word out – and to all who worked hard to make this happen!! ❤

  5. I hope this in for real and not an April Fool’s joke!
    Kathy D.

  6. This has been a spectacular win for the people! My thanks to the “Not in Our Parks” group. And huge thanks to Karen Sullivan who put the entire Statement of Case together back in 2015 and shared it with many legal representatives.

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