Decision Authorizing Naval Training on Olympic National Forest

Release Date: Jul 31, 2017  

Contacts

Stephen Baker (Forest Service), (503) 808-2690
Michael Welding (Navy), (360) 257-2286

Forks, WA – U.S. Forest Service officials have released a decision authorizing issuance of a special use permit to facilitate Naval training on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. The permit would allow the U.S. Navy to conduct ground-to-air training using mobile electronic transmitters from eleven designated roadside locations on the Pacific Ranger District of the Olympic National Forest for a period of up to five years.

Transmitter van of the type that will be used in Olympic NF by the Navy.No significant public health or safety impacts would occur as a result of the training exercises due to the permit terms and conditions, Forest Service project design features, and the Navy’s standard operating procedures outlined in the special use permit. Consultation was conducted between the Navy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine the potential impacts of the proposed project on wildlife. The project effects are not anticipated to result in significant disruption to species. The decision is not expected to significantly impact users’ recreation experience.

On a typical training day, up to three mobile emitter trucks would each drive to one of the 11 training sites. Mobile emitter trucks could be in place for 8 to 16 hours a day. Training would not typically occur on weekends and would not occur on Federal holidays. As an added measure of safety, the special use permit requires that emitters be shut down or moved if people are within the 100-foot safety zone around the trucks. Approval of this special use permit would not increase the number of training flights by more than 10 percent, or one additional flight per day, from what the Navy is currently conducting.

Public input received during the designated scoping, comment, and objection periods was considered in making the decision. Input received outside of these official periods was also considered. The main concerns profiled were potential impacts to public health and wildlife. The Navy worked closely with the Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to analyze potential impacts and address concerns.

National Forests are managed for multiple uses and military training activities are within statutory authority. In addition, the Forest Service works cooperatively with other government agencies, including the Department of Defense. A 1988 Master Agreement between the Department of Defense and the Department of Agriculture established procedures for military activities on National Forest System lands. The Forest Service recognizes the importance of supporting the U.S. Navy in the commitment to the security and defense of this country.

More information, including the 2017 Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range, can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=4275


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