Navy training proposal


UPDATE Sept. 15, 2020

Navy training proposal will not be included in the September 17, 2020 Commission meeting. This item has high public interest and we anticipate a large number of people will attend in person when this topic is before the commission. With public safety in mind, the commission plans to hold a public meeting on this topic later in the year when it is safer to accommodate large groups of people. We expect to make a decision on the Navy’s application at a regularly scheduled meeting in late 2020 or early 2021.

The U.S. Navy submitted a request to expand its Special Operations Training to 29 state parks. This page contains the most up-to-date information on that request.

Public comment

The public can comment on this proposal in person (limit of up to three minutes per person) at any regularly scheduled commission meeting, electronically through our online form or by mail to:

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
c/o Becki Ellison
P.O. Box 42650
Olympia, WA 98504-2650

All comments on this topic will be provided to the Commission for consideration.


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.