U.S. Navy Proceeds with Plans for a
Permanent Electromagnetic Warfare Range
on the West Side of Olympic National Park

[updated 10/15]

Map by Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, Wash. Used by permission.

The Navy is in the late stage of planning a permanent electromagnetic warfare training range on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula. If approved, Navy Growler jets could ply the airspace over Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest as well as tribal, public, and private forest lands and coastal areas for 12 to 16 hours per day, 260 days of the year.

Olympic National Forest is poised to issue a special use permit allowing the Navy to field ground-based electromagnetic emitter trucks on Forest Service roads. OPA and other conservation groups have demanded a complete environmental impact statement (EIS) from the Navy fully disclosing impacts on residents, visitors to the park, and forests and wildlife. The Navy's existing environmental analysis (EA) was done without public review and is wholly inadequate.

In a further move to militarize the Northwest, the Army announced a proposal to allow combat helicopter training exercises, including landings, 365 days a year in the Cascade Range and southwest Washington's coast. The scoping comment period on this proposal closes on November 3.

Opposition to the Navy's plan is overwhelming. In September a petition signed by more than 110,000 individuals opposing the Navy's plans was delivered to Olympic National Forest.

To learn more about this ill-conceived plan to militarize the Peninsula's airspaceóand to find out what you can do to help stop itóclick here. To read OPA's comment letter to Olympic National Forest, click here. To read Olympic Forest Coalitionís analysis of the issue, click here. To comment on the Army's proposal, click here. To visit the West Coast Action Alliance's informative website, click here. And watch this site for future updates.

Work Progresses on Olympic Mountain Goat Plan
[updated 10/15]

Work is progressing on Olympic National Park's Mountain Goat Management Plan. More than 100 public responses have been evaluated. Management alternatives have been revised, and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement with a preferred Alternative will be published early in 2016.

Mountain goats are not native to the Olympics; they were introduced by hunting interests in the 1920s before the park was created. With the absence of natural predators and in the mild, coastal climate of the Olympics, their numbers soared. By the 1980s the population reached more than 1,100 animals. Destructive impacts by goats on sensitive alpine and subalpine environments from feeding, trampling and wallowing became both visible and profound. A live-capture and translocation program, begun in the 1980s, reduced the population significantly. A 1990s planning effort, which proposed to remove remaining goats by aerial shooting, was placed on hold.

Findings from the park's earlier draft EIS and subsequent studies and reviews have confirmed that:
  • Goats are not native to the Olympics.
  • Even small numbers of goats do measurable damage to alpine plants and soils.
  • Goat impacts on Olympic marmots and other endemic and sensitive alpine animals remain unknown.
  • Chemical contraception is not a viable means of eliminating goats.
  • Habituated non-native goats can pose a danger to park visitors.
The Current Plan
The current planning effort will consider a range of alternatives including: no-action, live-capture and translocation, lethal removal, increased nuisance control, and combinations of the above. OPA and a number of conservation organizations supported the park's proposed action of lethal removal of remaining goats during the earlier planning process. We remain committed to finding a workable solution through the current plan that will result in removal all non-native goats from the park.

What You Can Do
Help preserve the Olympics' stunning alpine habitats for the native plants and animals that have made it their home for millennia. Please write to Olympic National Park and express your concerns to park planners. Urge them to develop a workable scientific approach that will remove non-native goats from the national park.

Olympic National Park, 600 E Park Ave., Port Angeles, WA 98362-6757

To view OPA's scoping letter to Olympic National Park on the Mountain Goat Management Plan/EIS, click here. To review OPA's 1995 detailed analysis of non-native mountain goats in the Olympics, click here.

To view the park's Mountain Goat Management Plan planning page, click here. And watch for future alerts and postings from OPA.

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