Snohomish County takes new aim at shooting range near Sultan

SULTAN — A long-awaited public shooting range in east Snohomish County is undergoing another change in plans.

Land the county acquired more than six years ago turned out to be too small to build the gun and archery facilities envisioned for the Sky Valley Shooting Park. Now, county officials are eyeing a larger piece of property on the other side of Sultan Basin Road, a few miles outside of Sultan. At more than four times the size, they hope the new parcel will be able to handle a wider variety of shooting sports, with less of an impact on neighbors.

“It’s a little closer to town and there’s better access off of Sultan Basin Road,” parks director Tom Teigen said.

To make it happen, the county needs to request a transfer of state-managed trust land. The County Council could give the go-ahead at its 9 a.m. meeting on Wednesday. The decision is on the council’s consent agenda, meaning there’s unlikely to be much debate.

The quest to build a public shooting range in the area has been ongoing since the 1970s.

The property switch won’t speed up the timeline, but local backers say it’s the right thing to do.

“We needed a bigger space and we needed it to be farther away from neighbors,” Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick said.

“This property will be so much better,” said Debbie Copple, director of the Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce. “I’m not unhappy about the way this is going. I think big picture, this will be way better for a lot of people.”

Ideally, the range could accommodate all of the Olympic shooting sports, including skeet and trap shooting. That could make it a good venue for competitions, Copple said.

The range, she hopes, also might cut down on some of the target practice at random spots along U.S. 2. Copple said people stop by the visitor center in Sultan regularly to ask where they can target shoot or sight a rifle.

An organized venue could be designed to improve safety, cut down on noise and limit pollution from spent rounds.

In late 2010, construction on the range appeared to be only a couple of years away, perhaps, after the county secured 146 acres from the state Department of Natural Resources. The state deeded the parcel to the county through a process known as reconveyance. The state had been managing the forest in trust for the county to generate logging revenue for local and state governments. It’s roughly 6 miles north of U.S. 2.

Some neighbors strongly opposed the plans for building the range on that site, and briefly pursued a lawsuit against the county. The nearby Lake Bronson Club Family Nudist Park led the efforts, with objections to potential noise and pollution.

Plans moved ahead, but more slowly than many shooting enthusiasts wanted. When county officials pored over surveys and more detailed park plans, they realized the site wouldn’t work out. On closer inspection, a stream and other wetlands would have left much of the land unusable, Teigen said.

The new site should address those shortcomings, the parks director said. It measures 640 acres and lies south of the other location. A timber harvest is still expected to occur on part of the site next year, even if the county takes control.

The county has budgeted $100,000 to process the land transfer, but expects the actual amount to be much less, Teigen said. The county intends to deed the other property back to the state. Private companies are expected to build out and operate the ranges.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Head-on crash in Everett leaves man with life-threatening injuries

A two-car collision in the 11600 block of Evergreen Way shut down southbound traffic Monday morning.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Now, students can take a mental health day without cutting class

A new law requires school districts rewrite their manuals to add mental health as a reason for an excused absence.

Everett man dies in motorcycle crash east of Verlot

Initial reports were that the man in his 20s crashed into a rock wall close to the Gothic Basin trailhead, according to police.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Man dead in shooting near Startup antique store

The man in his 30s was shot before noon Saturday. A man in his early 20s was in custody.

Arlington woman dies in crash on Highway 530

The Washington State Patrol says a Stanwood man ran a red light, striking Zoey Ensey as she turned onto the highway.

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. A leading doctor who chairs a World Health Organization expert group described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as "a random event" that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File)
Monkeypox case count rises to 6 in Snohomish County

Meanwhile, cases in the state have roughly doubled every week. Most of those have been in neighboring King County.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Snohomish County, cities announce $9.6M for mental health, shelter

Projects span from Edmonds to Sultan. Each city is using American Rescue Plan Act money, with the county contributing, too.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Suspect in custody after man’s gunshot death, standoff

Deputies responded to a domestic violence call and found the suspect barricaded on the property near Snohomish.

A view of the proposed alternative station location to Everett Station located east of the current BNSF rail tracks in downtown. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could light rail station under Pacific Avenue and over railroad work?

A group representing people around Everett Station wants Sound Transit to study the idea.

Most Read