Community Meeting on No Shooting Zones in Thurston County – June 17

A Community Meeting on No Shooting Zones in Thurston County will be held Thursday, June 17th, 5:30pm to 7:30pm in the Thurston County Courthouse, building 1, room 152. 2000 Lakeridge Dr SW, Olympia, WA 98502.


The Board of County Commissioners has received requests from Thurston County residents who live along or near Eld, Henderson, and Budd Inlets to prohibit the discharge of firearms in the vicinity of their homes. The Board seeks your input on this important issue.

For more information, contact Danielle Westbrook, assistant to Commissioner Karen Valenzuela, at (360) 786-5414.

Click here to read past posts on this blog, regarding the issue of shooting on Eld Inlet.

Prickly Issue of Hunting on Eld Inlet Continues to Stimulate Discussion

If you read this blog, you have probably already learned of the efforts by some area residents to end hunting on Eld Inlet. A focus of at least one local web site, Eyes Over Eld is to reduce or eliminate the shooting on the Inlet. Last spring, a message thread appeared on, to discuss the topic. On July 30, a community meeting was held. Hunters, area residents, representatives from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and county officials discussed whether a No Shooting Zone or a Controlled Shooting Zone should be established for the southwestern shore of Eld Inlet. Following that meeting, Commissioner Karen Valenzuela committed to engage with hunters, local residents and regulatory bodies in order to, it is hoped, resolve the matter.

For the most part, opinions have come from relatively predictable perspectives. Shoreline residents have complained of noise, water pollution, and even risks to personal safety. Reports of gunfire, shells casings floating up on beaches, and even pellets raining down on the roofs of homeowners have been made public. Hunters have argued they are safely hunting in-season and in the areas permitted by law.

Recently, we received email from an area resident that brings a perspective somewhat different from those we’ve heard, to-date. This resident writes that many people may not realize important funding for wildlife habitat comes directly from hunters and fishermen. “Licenses and taxes on hunting and fishing gear generate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for wildlife work.”

“Alas, the purchase of a bird field guide or binoculars does not raise even a single thin dime for conservation.”

Residents opposed to hunting on Eld have brought up the status of Eld Inlet scoter ducks. There is material, online, which documents a population decline in these ducks. However, “scoter ducks nest in the boreal forests of Canada — and the single biggest contributor to the purchase of lands to protect nesting habitat has been Ducks Unlimited — a duck hunter’s group. Audubon works very hard on education and legislation but it is generally not in the business of purchasing and protecting scoter habitat.”

I spoke, at length, with one of the young men who quickly admitted he was one of the shooters blasting away one Sunday morning. Everything he did was within the laws of the land. However, one can be law abiding and still be rude. He seems to realize that he stirred up a hornets nest with his shooting. It sounds like he and friends will consider hunting further from houses this year. I hope people will give the young men an opportunity to pursue their sport one more season and see if a bit more sensitivity comes with this season.

I have a master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management and worked for several years for the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. In my last job for them, I was the Big Game Project coordinator. Although I did not oversee waterfowl hunting, I did oversee data collection and season reviews for 13 big game species. I am not a hunter myself but I came to see what role hunters have in wildlife conservation.

Local residents concerned about the environmental impact of hunting would do well to ensure their own house is somewhat in order. The author of this email continues:

Truthfully, Eld Inlet residents who care about wildlife conservation should do the following:

  • Remove bulkheads from waterfront property
  • Make sure septic systems are not leaking
  • Keep cats indoors — always
  • Pick up dog feces from areas within a hundred yards of any water
  • Trade powerboats for sailboats or kayaks that do not use gasoline engines.

I write to you as a liberal. To truly be a liberal, in my opinion, is to tolerate those whose value sets and traditions may be different than my own. Eld Inlet fans should keep an open mind to those who see Puget Sound in different ways. Frankly, those who cherish life on the water in winter tend to be duck hunters and oystermen. Their way should be accommodated when possible.

As more information on County action becomes available, we’ll be sure to transmit that along, either on this blog or on the web site of the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

What are your concerns regarding shooting on Eld Inlet? Do any of the points made, in this article, resonate with you? Click the “COMMENTS” link, and leave your thoughts, for others to read.

Local Resident Creates “Eyes Over Eld” Web Site

Local resident Gail Sheikhizadeh, an extremely active and wonderful person, has created a new online resource for homeowners living on or interested in Eld Inlet. Gail has created Eyes Over Eld, at I urge you to become an active follower and to give your input whether you agree or disagree with the topics at hand so that progress can be made for the good of all.

Gail is working hard gathering facts and support for the need of a no shooting/controlled shooting zone and to convince the Commissioners it’s overdue in Eld Inlet and the surrounding area. Work is being done with Karen Valenzuela and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish not only a no shooting zone in Eld Inlet, but a safer shooting zone on the interior lands of the area.

Ours seems to be one of few states that have no regulations on how far away a hunter needs to be from a residence for hunting practices. With rapid population growth in our area, this is a much needed change in how we look at hunting laws as they exist today in this state. What has been learned so far is that it’s up to individual counties to decide on a safe distance for hunting and then have it implemented either for that county alone or to take it to the next level to get it enacted as a state regulation. This is in no way a measure to impede your rights to defend your property, take care of domestic animals or to go “plinking” in your backyards (in moderation, please) but rather, a way to have a say in where hunting can and cannot take place in this ever growing peninsula which extends via water to Cooper Point and other areas.

As an attendee of the recent meeting at the Griffin Fire Station concerning this matter, it has become all too apparent that we need reform or, at the very least, hunter enlightenment. And it has also become all too apparent that there are waterfowl that may need to be placed on the protected species act instead of having their declining numbers completely ignored, allowing hunting of them into extinction.

No one is trying to abolish hunting; this is a simple matter of safety. I hope that all of you will either contact our county commissioners via email in support of this effort, or voice your concerns about this proposed change. All thoughts and opinions need to be fairly considered before a decision can or should be made.

If you agree with this endeavor, please go in and sign the online petition (all links are provided on Eyes Over Eld). Thanks to all of you who have already signed both the paper and online version of the petition. For anyone interested in getting their name on the petition but not on the online form, there will be an email link coming soon and I’m sure that a paper petition can be brought in your direction upon request.

This is going to be an ongoing topic for our commissioners in the months ahead and we need to thank Gail for having the guts to get this topic on the agenda with a public meeting at Griffin Fire Hall. The meeting was attended by Commissioners Karen Valenzuela and Cathy Wolfe (Commissioner Romero was out of town that day), Sheriff’s Dept’s Deputy John Snaza., WDFW agent Duane Mackoviney, Robert Smith from Thurston County Development Services, and Mike Gaffney (the Associate Director of the WSU Deptartment of Governmental Studies & Services).

Thank you, Gail, for building this new website with the advantage of bringing up any and all other topics for this area that do not belong on the agenda of the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

As Gail continues saying, “It doesn’t get any closer to home than this.”


Local residents can also join the social networking site, “Eld Shoreline Community,” created by Gabrielle Byrne, Community Educator for People For Puget Sound. Click here to see our prior post describing Eld Shoreline Community.

Community Meeting to Discuss No Shooting on Eld Inlet – July 30

Should a No Shooting Zone or a Controlled Shooting Zone be established for the southwestern shore of Eld Inlet? That’s the question area residents can help the Board of County Commissioners answer at a community meeting on July 30th.

“The Board of County Commissioners has received requests from several residents who live along or near the southwestern shore of Eld Inlet to prohibit the discharge of firearms in the vicinity of their homes. Others have spoken out against the zoning change,” according to a press release from the Commissioners.

In addition to the Board, Representatives from the Thurston County Planning Department, Sheriff’s Department, and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife will be on hand to educate residents on the current policies and procedures and to answer any questions. Mike Gaffney, Associate Director of the Washington State University Department of Governmental Studies and Services will act as facilitator.

Community meeting on No Shooting Zone in Eld Inlet
Thursday, July 30th, 7 – 9pm
Griffin Fire Department, 3707 Steamboat Lp NW, Olympia, WA 98502

Click here to read our previous piece regarding a petition to ban hunting on Eld Inlet.

Local Residents Call on Commissioners to End Hunting on Eld Inlet

The end of duck hunting season in late January brought a new controversy to the table for residents both inside and out of the Griffin area. Many fueled by this event have taken a stand in the form of a petition and a plea to the County Commissioners to end hunting in Eld Inlet and on its surrounding land due to population density and the concern for safety and quality of life.

Click here to read an article which ran in The Olympian on May 10. Click here to read the May 12th clarification The Olympian ran, regarding that article.

Paul Taylor, of Taylor Shellfish, ran an article in the May 30th issue of The Olympian. Click here to read that one.

Click here to read a letter to editor, published May 21st, from local resident Warren Arnold.

Local residents calling upon the County Commissioners to end hunting on Eld Inlet have already circulated a petition, by hand, and many signatures were collected. An online version of the petition is now available. The petition reads, simply:

To: Thurston County Commissioners

The signatures contained herein petition for the Thurston County Code, chapter 10.04-Discharge of Firearms: “except for self-defense or slaughter of domestic animals or target shooting” to extend to include the area of the entire body of water named Eld Inlet and the land surrounding Eld Inlet in Olympia, Wa., Thurston County.

Click here to add your name to the online petition.

Where do you stand on hunting on Eld Inlet? Have you signed either the hand-circulated or online petition? Click on the link below to leave your comments.