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To our supporters:

About three weeks ago we found posts on the Fort Discovery Facebook page advertising “fully auto” weekends at the Cedar Hills Recreation Area, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday this July. The posts say that up to 30 shooters can sign up each day by reservation, that this is recreational shooting with automatic weapons and ammunition, and that “We will have M-16’s and M-60’s to shoot at no cost.” An M-60 is a machine gun manufactured for the U.S. Army that fires belt-fed 7.62 mm rounds.

For additional information, see the ARTICLE by Lily Haight in The Leader.

Please let us know: How do you advise TRC to respond to this?


All of your emails, letters, petition signing, public testimony, and donations have paid off! On Monday, February 24th, the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed two new shooting range ordinances at the conclusion of five hours of deliberations. The new ordinances followed the Planning Commission’s recommendations that all new commercial shooting ranges be located indoors in commercial and industrial zones, and not be allowed in Jefferson County’s forests.

In addition, the commissioners carefully scrutinized the proposed ordinances to clarify language. Loopholes that existed in draft versions, now closed, would have allowed companies to develop large-scale gun ranges, claim that they were non-commercial, and escape regulation. The next step will be for TRC to meet with the County and the Growth Management Hearings Board in March, to discuss whether the current effort complies with the Washington State’s Growth Management Act.

CONGRATULATIONS! This is a momentous step for everyone committed to a future for Jefferson County that is focused on thriving farms, fish, forests, and families.  Raise a glass – you made the difference!

TRC President Scott Freeman addresses the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners on February 24, 2020.

Public: Indoor ranges are the future

Majority of citizens speak in favor of indoor gun ranges

- Port Townsend Leader headline for February 12, 2020

We are so close to agreement with the County. We ask only that the County Commissioners change two words of the Planning Commission’s recommendations so that both commercial and non-commercial ranges are required to have environmental and permitting review and so public health and safety are protected.  – TRC Attorney Alex Sidles

(35) “Indoor shooting facility” means a commercial shooting facility within a fully enclosed structure, including lawful incident sales of firearms, ammunition, component parts and accessories.
(46) “Outdoor shooting facility” means a commercial shooting facility that is not an indoor shooting facility.

Comments from many of the dozens of people in attendance also favored indoor ranges placed in commercial and industrial zones and not in forestland in holdings. The reasons for this are many. Backyard shooting would be unaffected.  County Commissioners will discuss the proposed new shooting range ordinance on Tuesday, February 18. Send a letter or email ahead of time, or attend the commissioner meeting public comment session in person at 9 am at the courthouse.

TRC Attorney Alex Sidles comments at the February 10 public hearing at the Fort Worden Commons.

Speak up for the Future of Jefferson County!

Attend the PUBLIC HEARING on Monday, February 10th, 2020 at 2:00 pm in the The Commons at Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way, in Port Townsend. Or, submit your comments in writing to the County Commissioners until 4:30 pm that day.


Historic barn in the Tarboo Valley.

We support the Planning Commission’s  recommendations (Alternative 4):

All future shooting ranges must be indoors,
and sited within existing commercial and industrial zones.


A fresh start for daffodils in the Tarboo Valley.

NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT: Attend the public hearing at Fort Worden on February 10th, 2020 at 1:30 pm or comment ahead of time to the County Commissioners

P.O. Box 1220
Port Townsend, WA 98368



In June of 2017, Jefferson County received a preliminary proposal from Fort Discovery Inc. to build a massive weapons training complex. The County realized that their current code was unprepared to deal with the proposal, declared a year-long moratorium on accepting permits for all gun ranges, and developed a “work program to assess the impacts of existing and future commercial shooting facilities on public safety, the environment, and land use compatibility.”  Fort Discovery’s owner was appointed as an “at large” member of the committee tasked with making recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC).

In response to these recommendations, the BoCC passed new ordinances that removed virtually all restrictions on the size and scope of commercial gun ranges in the county. In doing so, they discounted their own Planning Commission’s recommendations for clear and specific “bright line” regulations to limit impacts on public safety, the environment, and land-use compatibility.

Tarboo Ridge Coalition (TRC), a citizen’s group that opposes paramilitary training in Jefferson County, appealed the ordinances to the Washington State Growth Management Hearings Board by asserting that the ordinances were not in compliance with the county’s comprehensive plan or with the state’s Growth Management Act. The Hearings Board concurred, invalidated both ordinances, and ordered the County to come into compliance by March 2, 2020.


After a series of public meetings in fall 2019, the Planning Commission submitted a compelling recommendation that honors the Second Amendment right to bear arms while protecting our forest and tourist economies, minimizing environmental degradation, guaranteeing safe shooting, and simplifying permit and enforcement processes. Their proposal is simple: All future Jefferson County gun ranges should be built indoors, in commercial and industrial zones.

The Planning Commissioners are nine citizen volunteers from all corners of Jefferson County, appointed by the BoCC. They noted that indoor range technology is currently in use at over 16,000 sites throughout the United States. These facilities are good neighbors, and pose no threat to human health or the environment when they are properly designed and operated. In contrast, the adverse impacts of outdoor ranges cannot be mitigated effectively—they disrupt neighbors, usurp other land-use opportunities, and put toxic metals into the environment. The Planning Commission passed its recommendation unanimously.


After a staff State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review, the BoCC will take up the Planning Commission’s recommendations and accept public testimony at a public hearing at Fort Worden on February 10th, at 1:30pm.

TRC strongly endorses the Planning Commission’s recommendation. It is thoughtful and legal. Indoor ranges protect our rural economy and support our rights to gun ownership and safe shooting.

We urge our supporters to make their voices heard.

Way back when

September 2010 News: …SSNW has indoor plan

READ The Leader article

Planning Commission Delivers Proposal for Indoor Commercial Shooting Facilities

“We found the public comments and current literature underscored indoor shooting facilities to be the advent for the environment and community. Human life and animal life may be impacted negatively due to the health effects of environmental noise pollution from weapons causing a range of well-being complications specific to shooting ranges in the out-door setting. Percussive noise pollution associated with shooting ranges and particularly persistent repetitive noise pollution has been linked to negative health impacts to humans and animals alike.”  – Michael Nilssen, Chair Jefferson County Planning Commission

READ the full statement from the Planning Commission’s Chair Michael Nilssen

READ or Watch the Planning Commission Briefing to the County Commissioners (10:15 AM on December 9, 2019)

Planning Commission INFORMATION from JC Department of Community Development

UPDATE: Listen to KPTZ’s Tossed Salad for more information on the Planning Commission recommendations for new shooting range ordinances. The Commission has some very good ideas for solving neighborhood and environmental issues.

Friday, December 6, 2019
3:30 – 4:00 pm
91.9 FM or listen live at

Planning Commission INFORMATION from JC Department of Community Development

A peaceful moment on Tarboo Lake last summer. Photo: Robert Tognoli

Planning Commission Recommends All New Shooting Ranges Be Indoors

The Jefferson County Planning Commission voted 7-0 with 1 abstention at their November 20 meeting to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) that the Jefferson County Sportsman Association range be grandfathered in as Jefferson County’s outdoor shooting facility and that any new shooting ranges be built indoors and located in industrial and commercial zones.

READ the reasons why.

READ about it in The Leader.

TRC urges everyone to write a letter to the editor. Is Jefferson County looking out for your interests or turning a blind eye? 

TRC urges everyone to write to the BoCC and encourage them to adopt the Planning Commission’s recommendation that all new shooting ranges be built indoors.

MORE INFORMATION from JC Department of Community Development
Board of Jefferson County Commissioners WEBSITE

1,227 VOICES Supporting Commonsense Shooting Range Regulations

Delivered to County Commissioners at November 5th Planning Commission Hearing:

1. No military training
2. No aircraft
3. No night shooting
4. 500-yard setbacks from public lakes and other shorelines
5. Security fencing
6. Sound barriers

THANK YOU, petition signature gatherers and signers!!!

MORE INFORMATION from JC Department of Community Development
Board of Jefferson County Commissioners WEBSITE

JEFFERSON COUNTY DEMOCRATS pass RESOLUTION Unanimously on October 17, 2019:

Now therefore be it resolved that the Jefferson County Democrats urge the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) to:

• Abide by the decision of the Growth Management Hearings Board;

• Abandon the expense of an appeal to Superior Court of the GMHB’s decision;

• Request, as necessary, more time to work with the Community and the Planning Commission in facilitated community meetings to scope legal and enforceable regulations;

• Include county wide citizen involvement in the development process;

• Develop a new ordinance(s) which conforms with the individual right to bear arms;

• Define clearly what constitutes a commercial shooting facility;

• Conform the ordinances to all applicable Washington state and federal laws and include requirements for a full SEPA review;

• Require an operating permit;

• Place clear and concise “bright line” limits on the location, size, intensity and operating hours of commercial shooting facilities; and

• Include enforcement provisions and adequate safety measures.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Published in The Leader on 10/09/2019:

“…The December 2018 Title 8 and Title 18 ordinances opened up 76% of unincorporated land in the county to commercial weapons training facilities of unlimited scale and intensity. That is not the vision for Jefferson County that we and many, many others have been working toward. Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the commissioners and county staff, those ordinances turned out to violate state law. It’s time to learn from those mistakes, and develop a policy that protects the land and people of Jefferson County for generations to come.”

Judith Alexander
Michael Aubin
John Austin
Jean Ball
Patti Barrett
Will Barrett
Susan Biskeborn
Melinda Bryden
Dan Burden
Lys Burden
Mark Cooper
Sue Corbett
Richard Dandridge
Sarah Dean
Elaine Donato
Carolyn Eagan
Chris Eagan
John Fabian
Connie Gallant
JD Gallant
Bob Gebo
Jill Hamilton
Glenn Hartmann
Kathy Hartmann
Linda Herzog

Sue Heston
Lillian Hilton
Cindy Huffman
Manning Jacob
Lianna Johnson
Diane Jones
Patricia Jones
Ken Kiesel
Kris Kiesel
Kathleen Kler
Helen Kolff
Gerald Lasser
Susan Localio
Kristina Mayer
Elisabeth Mention
Jacqueline Mention
Gerald Merritt
Tom Moore
Bill Morris
Roxianne Morris
Stanley M. Nealey
Norm Norton
Andy Okinczyc
Cyne Okinczyc
Olympic-Environmental Council

Robin Ornelas
Ellen O’Shea
Karen Page
Jock Patton
Protect the Peninsula’s Future
Tom Richardson
Anne Ricker
Darlene Schanfald
Sierra Club North Olympic Group
Sarah Spaeth
Fred Stern
Sonia Story
Beth Stroh-Stern
Kerry Tremain
Laura Tucker
Richard Tucker
Phil Vogelzang
Hank Walker
Ann Waldron
Nicola Yarbrough
Carl Youngmann
George Yount

New Moratorium on Shooting Ranges Takes Effect on September 23, 2019

Our work is not finished! TRC appealed two County ordinances concerning new commercial shooting facilities to the state Growth Management Board (GMHB). On September 16, 2019, the GMHB found the ordinances in violation of state law and invalidated them. A public hearing will be held within 60 days. The Jefferson County Planning Commission has been tasked with making recommendations for changes to comply with the Board’s decisions.

Here’s a LIST of additional ways to help TRC. Scroll down to sign our two petitions online.


Growth Management Hearings Board sides with TRC.
“Commercial shooting facility” ordinances struck down.

This is great news for our communities.
Congratulations, Everyone!

Read the news HERE and the 21-page decision, issued on Monday, September 16, 2019 HERE.

Sign our petitions

TRC requests your signature on two petitions, both designed to stop Jefferson County from becoming the ‘go-to’ place for large, commercial weapons-training complexes.

TO THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS to implement the Planning Commission’s recommendations on the siting, design, and operation of gun ranges.

TO THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL to help the County respond to a blizzard of lawsuits.

When you sign, please share the petitions widely with Jefferson County residents and property owners who support TRC!

GMHB Grants Extension

On July 11th, 20919, County and TRC attorneys made arguments to the state’s Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) for and against the new shooting facilities ordinances. Watch the hearing.

Days later, the County and TRC jointly asked the GMHB for a 60-day extension. The extension is to provide for a reasonable amount of time to enter into settlement talks ahead of a GMHB decision.

The GMHB granted the 60-day extension and asked that they be informed of progress on September 10th. On August 7th, the TRC and the County met at the Courthouse. A TRC Board Representative and Legal Counsel presented our requested Title 8 ordinance changes to the County Civil Prosecutor and two Commissioners, in two separate meetings. We expect the County to respond to our requested changes sometime after August 25th.


On Friday June 7, 2019, the Tarboo Ridge Coalition e-mailed Jefferson County Commissioners a letter citing County documents and file photos of Fort Discovery Inc’s illegal construction and training activities. Without any permits, the Corporation has charged ahead, clearing and grading, filling wetlands, pouring concrete, siting old and constructing new buildings and burying a 2000-gallon tank full of sewage from commercial activity at the outlaw shooting range. Even more serious, the corporation has built a 50-yard range along its north property line with gunfire pointed outward towards a low berm, neighboring recreational land, and State Highway 104. To date the County has not responded to the Coalition. READ THE LETTER.

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition (TRC) believes that:

  • New commercial shooting facilities belong INDOORS, within EXISTING COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL ZONES, to prevent pollution and noise impacts to PEOPLE, PETS, LIVESTOCK, and WILDLIFE and to help PREVENT WILDFIRES.
  • LOCAL CONTROL IS PARAMOUNT! No military training activities at private commercial shooting facilities.
  • PUBLIC LAKES BELONG TO ALL OF US. Fishing, swimming and nature first. SHORELINES ALSO DESERVE SPECIAL PROTECTION. No commercial shooting facilities within 500 yards of lakes and navigable shorelines.


The Tarboo Ridge Coalition stands against the development of the “Cedar Hills Recreational Facility.” The TRC believes that any gun range, but particularly a military-style weapons training facility, is both disruptive and dangerous, and that siting any shooting facilities on the shores of Tarboo Lake is not in the best interests of the citizens of Jefferson County. The TRC’s goal is to educate and mobilize the community against this project and preserve the unique character of Tarboo Ridge.


TRC at the Jefferson County Fair – August 2019

WE HEARD IT AT THE FAIR The Tarboo Ridge Coalition’s Jefferson County Fair booth received many visitors over the August 11th weekend. And did they ever have questions!! In a nutshell most people were simply dumbfounded by the County Commission’s recent new ordinance that allows private, for profit military and paramilitary training in 76% of […]