Washington State Judge Says No To SEALs

SEALs Unable to Train in Washington Parks

Recently, a request was provided to Washington State, asking for permission to use its public parks. Not for traditional recreation, however, but for military training. Due to the diverse nature of the parks – namely, large and cold bodies of water, the space was deemed desirable by SEALs.

Essentially, the seamen would get into the frigid waters and practice their various training exercises among the state’s 28 parks. For them, it was a win-win. Training space in proximity, and the ability to take on more, high-level exercises.

These locations were preferred as the terrain creates key cold water environments, while the coast comes with added dangers and variables, such as unpredictable currents. Therefore, fresh water is preferred. In recent reports, SEALs have named Washington conditions as an important part of their training routine.

Opposition from Locals

However, the public wasn’t so sure about the operation, with more vocal opponents citing fear that SEALs would pop out of the water, scaring guests, or spy on unsuspecting people from a distance.

The fears were so real among citizens that they filed paperwork, taking the matter to a state judge. And ultimately, the people have won. In their lawsuit, it was ruled that SEALs cannot use the public parks for their training exercises, no matter how convenient they may be.

The reason? The “creepiness factor.” County Superior Court Judge James Dixon ruled on the case, after the request was initially approved by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

Dixon said it was not within the commission’s territory to determine if parks could be used for military training. And then denying the access, as it could keep visitors from using the parks.

Rather than a calming piece of nature, he said, visitors might be wondering if there are SEALs somewhere hiding underwater. That “creepiness factor” could even deter people from coming to the parks, lessening their purpose and potential.

What’s Next?

For the greater public of Washington state, not much has changed. They can continue to visit various functions, without the fear that a SEAL is actually underwater at any given time.

For SEALs, however, it’s a missed opportunity for important training that needs to be completed. Instead, they will have to find somewhere else to train, which means either traveling, extreme expense, or training in various conditions that might hinder skill building.

In other words, they are right where they left off. It was a creative solution, we’ll give them that. But ultimately, the law rings true. Parks were meant to be enjoyed by the masses, and intended or not, training presences may hinder the ability to do so.

The Need for Cold Water Training

SEALs carry out missions in all environments, including frigid temperatures. It’s important for their bodies to be able to adjust and learn how to adapt to swimming in cold temperatures. In fact, it’s one of the more important areas of underwater training.

Time will tell if SEALs come up with a new creative solution to training; stay tuned.


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