Tell the Navy No SEALs Training Exercises in Washington State Parks

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Washington State Parks are public outdoor refuges where people enjoy recreational activities, commune with nature, and seek spiritual renewal. But now US Navy SEALs have proposed using our State parks for training purposes.

Our State parks are inappropriate venues for military exercises.

Navy SEALs arriving on the shores of our parks in combat gear, with simulated weapons; doing insertion, extraction, surveillance, reconnaissance, and direct action exercises could harm plant, bird, and animal habitats, as well as diminish the sense of sanctuary people have always sought and found in our parks.

 What's at stake?

Risks to plant and animal life: The SEALs training is described by the Navy as "non-invasive." But we question the Navy's internal biological assessment, which claims that training operations would have zero impact on the environment and its inhabitants.

Restriction of public access: It is against Washington Parks and Recreation Department policy to restrict public access to State parks. SEALs exercises could require park closures and/or a safety buffer of 1,600 to 3,200 feet, maintained by Navy personnel for 2 to 72 hours at a time, up to eight times per year, per site.

Public safety: Encountering adults in combat gear could be extremely frightening for children enjoying our beaches. Chance encounters with Navy SEALs could trigger painful and dangerous flashbacks for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, who often seek solace in parks. Kayakers and other human-powered crafts could be vulnerable to bad weather, currents, etc, upon finding beaches closed for Navy exercises.

Diminished park fees and over-burdened staff: Already busy parks staff would be responsible for closure notifications, monitoring Navy training effects on plants and animals, and interfacing between the public and the Navy. Park closures for SEALs trainings could diminish already shrinking revenues from park visitor fees.

Let's say "NO" to Navy SEALs training exercises, and retain the peacefulness, in our public State parks.

> We, the undersigned, request that the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission institute a policy denying Navy SEALs renewal permits and future Right of Entry permits for military exercises in State parks. We also ask the Commissioners that any future applications from the Navy for renewals or for additional Right of Entry permits to State parks include a process of public notification that would allow opportunities for public comment.

> We, the undersigned, request that the Navy hold its trainings in the 29,819,492 acres of Department of Defense lands in the US, which includes 438,938 acres in Washington State and 43 miles of Washington coastline.

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