Other Peninsula sites in Army’s viewfinder

Three sites in the North Olympic Peninsula are on an Army Corps of Engineers list of places that may have unexploded ordnance.

In addition to the Port Angeles Combat Range in Clallam County — which will be examined for possible ordnance remnants — Fort Flagler and Fort Townsend in Jefferson County have been flagged as sites where live rounds were fired, and where cleanup may be needed.

The Army Corps of Engineers said that Fort Flagler offers a moderate risk to the public, although the area of concern is off the beaten path, and has recommended an investigation.

The Corps said that Fort Townsend appears to be a low-risk site.

Both are now state parks.

Two other sites — Fort Worden State Park in Jefferson County and Camp Hayden (Salt Creek Recreation Area) in Clallam County — are included on an Army Corps of Engineers list of former military sites, but they are not noted as posing any risk to the public.

The Army Corps of Engineers Formerly Used Defense Site program was initiated in the late 1980s to create an inventory of defense sites known or suspected to contain munitions.

When all site inspections are complete, a priority-based list of the approximately 1,700 sites nationwide will be presented to the federal Department of Defense, which is expected to review the list in 2010.

The Department of Defense will schedule cleanups based on the priority of expected safety concerns.

The status of listed Peninsula sites:

  • The Port Angeles Combat Range is scheduled for inspection.

  • Fort Flagler was inspected in 2007, and a report was filed for review by the Department of Defense in 2010.

    The Fort Flagler report found evidence of munitions and explosives at the range, and a moderate risk to the public.

    The exact location of concern is beyond the Fort Flagler Park and Campground, and is relatively inaccessible because of the thick, wooded area, the terrain and the thick brush.

    Park management has said that there is no concern to the public regarding use of the park.

    The Corps is recommending that a detailed investigation into the site take place.

  • Fort Townsend in Jefferson County was inspected last year.

    The report is still being written, but findings suggest that it is a relatively low risk site because the only munitions fired at the location would have been small arms such as rifles and pistols, said Mike Nelson, Corps project manager.

  • Fort Worden in Jefferson County is included on the list, but has a low priority, based on the historical information available, he said.

    The Corps does not believe the site poses a risk to the public.

  • Camp Hayden was inspected in 1997, according to a Corps list. Nelson did not know the results of the inspection.

    More than 300 sites in Washington state are being examined.

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