All of Pierce County should be able to play and enjoy the Fort Lewis Golf Course for the foreseeable future, the Pierce County Council declared this afternoon (May 29).
By a 4-0 vote with Councilmember Barbara Gelman abstaining, the council passed a resolution (R2007-62) asking the U.S. Army not to sell 514 acres along Interstate 5 that includes the golf course and to continue operating it as a military-owned facility. Councilmember Dick Muri says any reduction in Fort Lewis’ territory would constitute encroachment that could affect the post’s long-term ability to perform its mission.
“Any encroachment on Fort Lewis and McChord is unacceptable,” said Muri, the measure’s prime sponsor, whose Council District 6 includes both military bases. “Fort Lewis is a very small, increasingly urbanized installation and it needs all the land it has — and then some.”
The Nisqually Indian Tribe has expressed interest in buying the golf course, which was part of 70,000 acres that Pierce County donated to the U.S. Government to create Camp Lewis in 1917. The land would revert back to Pierce County if the military ever stops using it, the council’s resolution states.
The Fort Lewis Golf Course was voted one of the nation’s top 10 military golf courses and provides an important recreational outlet for soldiers, their families and veterans, Muri said. The course’s profits — $168,000 in 2006 — fund other morale, welfare and recreation programs for soldiers and their families. Since it is open to the public, he noted, the course also benefits the entire community.
“I don’t care who wants to buy it,” Muri said. “This land, as far as I’m concerned, is not for sale.”