Sheri Hanson walks her dog Rosie along the beach near the mouth of Chimacum Creek, which is protected by a no-shooting area that was updated by the Jefferson County commissioners Monday. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Sheri Hanson walks her dog Rosie along the beach near the mouth of Chimacum Creek, which is protected by a no-shooting area that was updated by the Jefferson County commissioners Monday. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Jefferson County commissioners clear changes to Chimacum Creek no-shooting area

IRONDALE — The Jefferson County commissioners approved changes to a no-shooting ordinance already in place around lower Chimacum Creek in Irondale in an effort to make the ordinance easier for law enforcement to enforce.

Both changes were approved unanimously by all three commissioners during a public hearing Monday after hearing comments from some of the roughly 20 community members in attendance.

“I do think this is a safety issue, not a hunting issue,” said Commissioner Kathleen Kler. “It’s our responsibility as commissioners to promote public safety.”

The no-shooting ordinance has been in place since 2008. The two approved changes now specify that shooting into a no-shooting area while physically outside the area is prohibited and sets a more rigid boundary along the mouth of the creek where it meets Port Townsend Bay.

A number of Irondale-area residents spoke in favor of the changes, citing safety concerns due to hunters shooting in and around the area, which is a popular recreation area for walking.

“There’s just too many people,” said Howard Learned. “It’s just not a good place. We’re not stopping duck hunting, we’re just stopping duck hunting in that area.”

A small group of hunters from Kitsap County came to voice their opinions against the changes. Paul Stevick called the changes “unnecessary, unenforceable and unfair,” and said at minimum the hunters from outside the county needed clarity on where they would be allowed to anchor their boats and hunt from.

“I think this is more about preventing hunting in the area than it is about safety,” said Mark Hanson, also from Bremerton.

A local hunter, Brian Werner, said the changes would take away the hunting that is a good thing for young people in the community and something that brings people to Jefferson County as counties farther south get more and more populated.

Commissioner David Sullivan said that hunting near Irondale and Port Hadlock is mostly out of the question due to the development plans for that area and the safety concerns over hunting near populated areas.

“I know people feel like they’re losing something but there’s an argument to be made that you lost it a long time ago when we started developing those areas,” Sullivan said.

Commissioner Kate Dean said the no-shooting ordinance, along with the combined land use plans of Jefferson County and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, has allowed lower Chimacum Creek to continue to be a mixed-use area for recreation, conservation and hunting.

“There has been shared use in this space for a long time,” Dean said. “It sounds like we’re not questioning the value of hunting. What I have heard is these amendments won’t impair the ability to hunt in a significant way.”

The new boundary, which is now a line drawn at roughly the low tide mark between two GPS coordinates, is actually closer than the original boundary, which fluctuated with the tide, making it difficult to enforce.

The boundary was redrawn with the help of Fish and Wildlife and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Both departments had complained in the past that the original boundary was difficult for them to enforce.

While there were suggestions of possibly putting buoys out as visual signs of the boundary, the commissioners said that should this new boundary still prove difficult to enforce, other solutions could be looked at in the future.

“Everything can be revisited,” said Kler. “If this doesn’t work I’m sure we’ll hear about it.”

The new changes go into affect in 30 days, on Dec. 6.

________

Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

The Jefferson County commissioners approved changes to a no-shooting ordinance at lower Chimacum Creek, which is meant to keep a safe distance between hunters and the community members who use the area for recreation. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

The Jefferson County commissioners approved changes to a no-shooting ordinance at lower Chimacum Creek, which is meant to keep a safe distance between hunters and the community members who use the area for recreation. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

More in News

Health warning lifted at East Beach on Marrowstone Island

Jefferson County Public Health has lifted the health warning from… Continue reading

Abby Counts, 8, with assistance from her father, Taylor Counts, an EMT with Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue, gives a newly acquired tender truck a ceremonial wash down during a push-in ceremony on Saturday at the district’s Station 22. The truck, tender 22, cost $459,439 and was paid for by the fire district’s 2020 levy lid lift. Saturday’s ceremony also included a blessing by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and a “push-in” of the truck into its berth. The tender replaces a 31-year-old truck that had reached the end of its useful life. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
New tender

Abby Counts, 8, with assistance from her father, Taylor Counts, an EMT… Continue reading

The 95 Port Townsend High School seniors walk through the rhody garden at Fort Worden State Park on their way to the graduation ceremony on Friday. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Graduation walk

Port Townsend, Chimacum ceremonies

Lands commissioner wary of federal plan to kill thousands of owls

Washington’s public lands commissioner, Hilary Franz, is voicing skepticism about a federal… Continue reading

Operations scheduled at Bentinck range this week

The land-based demolition range at Bentinck Island will be… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Matt Larson of Sequim, who uses the radio call sign KC7EQO, tunes into a ham radio satellite during Saturday’s Radio Field Day at the Clallam County Fairgrounds in Port Angeles. The annual event, hosted by the Clallam County Amateur Radio Club, brought together amateur radio operators from around the world in a contest to make as many radio contacts as possible in a 24-hour period as a test of emergency preparedness from remote locations. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Testing the system

Matt Larson of Sequim, who uses the radio call sign KC7EQO, tunes… Continue reading

Best of the Peninsula.
Voting round open for Best of Peninsula contest

It’s time again to vote for the Best of the Peninsula. Now… Continue reading

Port of Port Townsend focusing on five capital improvement projects

Stormwater improvement in permitting phase; construction may begin this year

Clallam County Sheriff Brian King, right, carries a ceremonial torch with Special Olympian William Sirguy, center, accompanied by his mother, Katie Sirguy, during Friday’s Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run along the Waterfront Trail in Port Angeles. The event, designed to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics movement, brought together law enforcement officers from Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties for a march across the North Olympic Peninsula. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Torch run

Clallam County Sheriff Brian King, right, carries a ceremonial torch with Special… Continue reading

Groups back natural gas initiative

Signature-gathering efforts end July 5

Pictured left to right, Ginny Wagner, Xxzavyon (XJ) Square, Ewan Mordecai-Smith, Elise Sirguy, Mahayla Amendolare and Mallory Hartman cut the ribbon of the little free library at Jefferson Elementary School on Friday. (Darlene Cook)
Students come together to promote reading literacy

Free library constructed near Jefferson Elementary