Dosewallips park grapples with growth
(Note: Compliant reporting is everything to "park
planners." One huge example is the failure to mention another
'alternative,' which is No Action. The local residents are right to be
alarmed by this expansion that includes their properties and makes them
'instant inholders' as the park continues to expand like a cancerous
tumor, gobbling up land -- and the natural resources on and under it --
with an insatiable appetite. Parks virtually never shrink; they grow,
and 'willing sellers' are created, 'by hook or by crook.' Read this for
more on the truth about 'willing sellers:' http://moosecove.com/propertyrights/thott/WillingSellerWillingBuyer.shtml The
following is also highly recommended reading:
http://www.moosecove.com/propertyrights.shtml Some links may no
longer work in this list.)
March 15, 2006
By Kasia Pierzga [email protected] or
360-385-2900 Ext. 102
Port Townsend Leader
Port Townsend, Washington
To submit a Letter to the Editor: [email protected]
or [email protected]
Proposed expansion plans at Dosewallips State Park near Brinnon have
drawn opposition from some nearby property owners.
Concerned about a proposal to include private land in the park’s
long-term plan for expansion, about 30 local residents turned out at a
meeting organized by state park planners in Brinnon last week to gather
Brinnon resident Dan Ackerman said he attended the meeting to voice his
opposition to any park plans that include private property within a
proposed expansion boundary.
Ackerman and his wife, Kathy, own seven acres just north of the river,
where they maintain a small fruit orchard and raise vegetables and
flowers for sale at farmers markets.
Ackerman said he grew concerned about the proposal after realizing his
river-delta property -- including adjacent tidelands -- is
among several privately owned parcels that parks planners say they would
like to see added to the park at some point in the future.
“They talk about it like it’s a vacant field,” Ackerman said.
“They seem to place no recognition that this is our home.”
No plans to take land
While Ackerman said he and his wife want to remain on their land, he
said he is worried the state agency could find an excuse to exercise its
right of eminent domain -- the power of government to take private
land for public use, paying the owner fair-market value.
But according to State Parks planner Lisa Lantz, the
agency isn't interested in taking land from unwilling owners. Including
private property in the long-term park boundary simply means that when
the owner wants to part with the land, State Parks would step up as a
“We are not interested in acquiring
property that people aren't interested in donating or selling,” she
said. “In no scenario are we going to be taking people’s
At the meeting, fellow parks planner Peter Herzog said the use
of eminent domain can't be ruled out. But condemning
adjacent property is considered a last-resort option that would be used
only when the land is being developed for activities that are extremely
incompatible with parklands, or when the land is considered vital to the
“very functioning of the park,” Herzog said.
“Neither of these appear to be the case currently at
Dosewallips,” Herzog wrote in an e-mail message to a Leader reporter
But Ackerman and other neighboring property owners who are concerned
about the agency’s proposal to include their land within a
possible expansion boundary say the whole idea makes them
“All of us along the water feel like until we get a letter in our
hands that says ‘we're not going to do this,’ we're all going to
feel like we've got to put our lives on hold,” Ackerman said.
Parks planner Lantz said public comment made at the recent meeting in
Brinnon will be included in the long-range plan for Dosewallips to be
considered by the Washington State Parks Commission when it meets at
Fort Worden on May 18. The commission is expected to approve a plan for
the park at that meeting.
“People had very strong opinions, and we know that now,” Lantz said.
More visitors coming
Population growth throughout Western Washington is placing increasing
pressure on state parks, with double-digit increases in visitors
expected in the next few years as more baby boomers reach retirement
During the 2005 season, Dosewallips saw 37,000 campers, including 16,000
who arrived in recreational vehicles requiring electrical hookups. The
park also saw some 336,500 day-use visitors, many of whom used the boat
launch at Triton Cove or the small dock at Pleasant Harbor, which are
managed as satellite parks.
With the number of park visitors expected to grow, developing a
long-range plan for state parks is critical, planners say.
And with the near-pristine quality of the Dosewallips watershed
environment, the park warrants careful attention, park Manager Doug
“There is so much here in terms of natural resources, including the
river and tidelands and their relationship to Hood Canal water quality,
we need to have a plan,” Hinton said. “It’s better than just
And with a proposed plan for a large master-planned golf resort near
Pleasant Harbor now working its way through the Jefferson County
land-use process, now is the time to identify ways to protect
the park from encroachment by development, Hinton said.
“If the resort is developed, the whole Brinnon area would be a changed
landscape,” he said.
Parks planners are considering two alternatives for Dosewallips State
One emphasizes natural resources and would leave much of the park’s
land undeveloped. In that scenario, a new trail could eventually link
the park to hiking trails in nearby Olympic National Forest.
Another alternative is to emphasize recreational use of the park,
with more amenities for park users such as campsites with electrical
hookups for visitors using recreational vehicles.
Whichever alternative is pursued,
increasing the size of the park will allow it to accommodate a growing
number of visitors without becoming overwhelmed, Hinton
“The park doesn't necessarily have to
expand,” he said. “But as the years go by, it will probably be
better if it did.”
For many people, owning property adjacent to Dosewallips and other state
parks is considered an asset. It’s not unusual for people to donate or
sell land to state parks to protect it from development, or to establish
conservation easements or management plans for their land to provide
Businesses also generally view nearby parks as an asset, with park
visitors pumping money into the local economy when they visit shops, gas
stations and restaurants. The Quilcene-Brinnon Chamber of Commerce, for
example, has expressed support for developing a long-range plan for
Dosewallips State Park.
Standing on a viewing platform above the broad, grassy delta where the
river empties into Hood Canal, Hinton points to a rooftop high up in the
hills at the south edge of the park.
The man who lives in the house plans to leave his property to the park
in his will, Hinton said. The land could eventually provide camping
space to replace lowland sites that are in danger of eventually being
swallowed by the river.
Making plans for protection and eventual expansion of the park is key to
its continued success, parks planner Herzog said.
“We’re doing this in response to previous criticisms that State
Parks isn't looking long-term,” he said. “Hopefully people 100 years
from now will be saying, ‘Wow, they had some foresight.’”
Copyright 2006, Port Townsend Leader.
Washington County Alliance
Save a Way of Life
Preservationist Agencies and the Myth of the
“Willing Seller Willing Buyer”
A Survey of the Not So “Willing”
by Bo W. Thott, Cutler, Maine
This classic study by Bo Thott of the Washington County Alliance,
Maine shows how the Federal Government uses eminent domain to
force property owners to become “willing sellers” under threat of
condemnation. The study was done in response to a
disingenuous claim in the New York Times by George Frampton,
head of the Wilderness Society and later a high-ranking Clinton-Gore
Interior official. Frampton wrote that there is no threat of eminent
domain against private land owners by Federal preservationist agencies
and accused those of opposing the national environmentalist lobby's
arrogant plans for the National Park Service and other Federal
agencies to take control of most of rural Maine as “whip[ping] up
hysteria” over the threat to private property rights. He dishonestly
implied that those forced to sell to the National Park Service had no
personal interest in their property and so should be of no concern.
The pages below show that based on a national survey, private
landowners ostensibly selling their properties to the National Park
Service as allegedly willing sellers are in fact not bona fide
“willing” sellers but instead give up their title to escape the
futility of legal expenses against a foredoomed condemnation that
cannot be legally stopped. Government agencies and their apologists
then disingenuously publicly proclaim that the acquisitions are from
“willing” sellers because the victims were not legally condemned
in court. Some property owners, due to their particular circumstances,
did sell willingly to the government, but the fate of the others
demonstrates that none had a choice.
Reading through the sad comments of the victims (I have all the
originals and have spoken with people affected by this all over the
country) makes one wonder how on earth those running and promoting
these preservationist government programs can live with themselves.
How can they do this to another human being – and then cynically lie
about it, dishonestly promoting themselves publicly as "white
hats" so they can do it again to someone else? The
environmentalist ideology – their vision of man and his subservient
role to "nature" and raw political power on its behalf –
is a rising threat to everyone as these politically well-connected
activists continue to gain power.
The Thott study is based on a survey of names obtained under the
Freedom of Information Act (and a law suit when the US Fish &
Wildlife Service refused to comply) and discussions with property
owners. It was first published in 1993 and reformatted for the web in
2001. This version is again reformatted, partly by the Property Rights
Foundation of America, which also continues to make this classic study
available to the public.
- Erich Veyhl
TAKING OF SMALL PARCELS
WILLING SELLERS of land to federal agencies are indeed
willing just as those agencies proclaim. But with few exceptions they
are not selling; they are instead subject to takings.
The “sellers” are as willing as robbery victims handing over
their wallets when under the gun. The reason for their willingness to
sign — going to court over a small piece of land generally means a
further loss — is not explained by the land agencies. Instead they
are trumpeting throughout the nation that their acquisition is not
through eminent domain but through sales.
Most of those willing “sellers” are under restrictions,
preventing them from improving their lots. Their land has become
useless to them and commercially worthless. The only way to recover
part of the investment is to have the feds take over the property and
pay for the value as if there were no restrictions, as required by the
Fifth Amendment. Some landowners are even desperately willing when the
park agency is holding off paying for years, either for lack of
appropriation from Congress or to pressure the landowners to accept
low prices by having them continue paying real-estate taxes and
interest on the mortgage while waiting.
A sale, as understood anywhere but in federal land agencies, is
voluntary in that both parties agree on the price and no sale is
mandated; no honest person able to both take the land and dictate the
price would call it a sale. But park bureaucrats claim to deal with
“sellers” who are told that their land will be taken in any case,
the only question being whether they should take the risk spending
time going to court and pay added unrecoverable legal costs or sign
the document put before them.
Here is a 1993 example of parkspeak in a Fish and Wildlife folder,
unchanged for years and used, with variations, by other land agencies
as well. The writers of this kind of language unblushingly turn logic
on its head:
“Service policy is to acquire land through condemnation” only
in order to:
“settle a difference of opinion of value....
Or: Accept our offer or we take you to court.”
Flimflam logic is hard to refute but the key in this case is the
false use of the term SELLER instead of LANDOWNER SUBJECT TO TAKING.
One may illustrate the absurd use of the term SELLER by reversing the
roles, giving the landowner the authority to both dictate the price to
the federal buyer and force him to buy.
TAKING OF LARGE PARCELS
WILLING SELLERS of large tracts of land are generally more
eager than small-lot owners to have the feds take over because more
money is tied up in their useless land, and their mortgage payments
and property taxes are greater. Furthermore, because of the generally
larger discrepancies between the amounts offered by the feds and the
owner-claimed values, the cases tend to be taken to court.
Fred Rullison had received subdivision approval by the town of
Gouldsboro in Maine years earlier for his 24-acre half of the Bar
Island off Bar Harbor in the Acadia National Park. The Park owned the
other half of the island.
Congress had reneged on the commitment to the Rockefeller family
not to take, by eminent domain, private land located inside the park
that had been donated to the Park Service in the twenties. By a law of
1986, private land inside the park boundary can be condemned if the
owner is planning improvements that the Park disapproves of.
Rullison's land had become worthless.
In 1988, Rullison became impatient and as he had done in the past,
threatened to build the planned four houses, this time seriously
enough to induce the Park to take action. The Park offered half a
million but Rullison requested $1.2 million. To get things moving,
Rullison demanded court action and the Park reluctantly agreed. The
Park superintendent did not wish the case ending up in court; it was
Rullison who insisted, he pointed out.
With the large sum at stake it made sense for Rullison to risk
taking on the additional expense of legal advice. And it paid off:
after the case had gone to the US District Court in Bangor, the Park
settled out of court in early 1990 for $1,000,000. By settling,
Rullison saved time and money; the Park sought to save face.
The Park press release announcing the event used the term RECORD
PURCHASE in the headline and the term PURCHASE twice in the text. One
euphemistic sentence reads: Due to a disagreement in price, the
federal government presented the matter to the federal court for
Not once do the terms eminent domain or condemnation appear. To
this day, the Acadia Park claims officially that it has not used
eminent domain. Such a claim is standard Park procedure whenever
settlement is reached during a court fight. Rullison settled out of
court and is thus labeled a willing seller. On this basis are
Park acquisition statistics presented nation-wide.
2. The Occasion to Set the Record Straight
to Property Rights Home
Bo W. Thott died on December 23, 2005, at age ninety. Always a
fighter, his work -- of vital importance to property rights -- will be
preserved by Erich Veyhl and others.
Additional recommended reading, especially for those in Washington
State that are fighting for their property rights, but also for others
who have yet to feel the steamroller in their neighborhood: