Nudists Duel With Gun Aficionados Over Proposed Sultan Basin Gun Range

There's a proposal by the Snohomish County Council to build a shooting range on Sultan Basin Road. A bunch of folks (including the councilmembers) support it, and a bunch of folks, including environmentalists and site neighbors, think it's a dreadful idea. But perhaps the most interesting group to take up a fight against the gun range is the Lake Bronson Club, a nudist group that does its let's-get-naked-and-swim thing about a mile or so from where the gun range is proposed to go.

The obvious take is that a bunch of nudists being upset about what a small group of hobbyists do in an isolated section of wilderness is a bit of a pot-calling-the-kettle-black scenario. But it should be noted that the nudists own their stretch of naked paradise, while the gun fans want Snohomish County to buy them theirs (although shooters would still pay each time they visited).

Bill Halfhill, Lake Bronson Club member and enemy of pants everywhere, tells Seattle Weekly on Monday that his beef (sorry) mainly comes down to location, and the fact that he says there are way more nudists than there are gun owners.

"Most of the (shooting-range) parcel is located on a hundred-year flood plain. It's simply the wrong spot," he says. "We're the Yosemite of the nude world. We have hundreds of members, and people come from all over the world to our spot. There are only a few gun owners who will actually go and pay money to shoot at some range. You don't kill people by being nude, and you don't foul up the land."

Still, gun owners like Stan Bernard of Lynnwood tell the Herald that "There's a huge, huge demand for a place to shoot ... the usage would be phenomenal, I'm sure."

The truth, as is usually the case, is likely somewhere in the middle--that's roughly the groin area, if thinking about the issue as two sides of a naked human body.

And at a Dec. 7 meeting of the state Board of Natural Resources in Olympia to discuss a possible property transfer of the range parcel to Snohomish County, both the armed and unclothed will be there to speak their minds (but not while not practicing their respective hobbies, we hope).

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