To Rural Landowners, Government Types, Interested Parties and the News Media:

Woe be to the rural landowner who becomes a target of government bureaucratic enforcement, whether it be from King County's DDES, or the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA), or the State Department of Ecology (DOE), or the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), or State Fish and Wildlife (DFW), or any other federal, state or local government agency whose job it is to come down hard on rural landowners for daring to touch their own land, that now belongs to government by fiat, regulation, restriction, law, act or ordinance.  Except the landowner gets to pay the taxes on that land but has little or no rights to it.  A small minority, who has little or no representation in government, falls to the tyranny of the majority, socialists, radical environmentalists and the government that aides and abets them.
Just yesterday, we learn of another rural landowner victim in the King County Journal, above-the-fold headline, who has to spend thousands of dollars to defend themselves against their own government, for doing what should be their constitutional right to do on their own land.  Now Gwen Bartol and her family can join the ranks of Charles Strouss, Dave Dahlin, Karl and Diana Lechner, Stan Powers, Paul Hiatt, Ron Rowe, Ken and Barbara Miller, Klamath Falls area farmers, loggers, mill operators and wood products employees and hundreds (if not thousands) of rural landowners who have run afoul of unconstitutional environmental laws, or eminent domain abuse.  The Bartol/King County Journal article appears below this message.  You won't believe it.
Every day new victims of government abuse and excesses come to light and every day these abuses and excesses will continue until the "people" wise up and take back their government, as WE THE PEOPLE and the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. 
But notice that most of these government bureaucratic attacks are perpetrated on rural landowners.  Just rural landowners, no one else.  If you live in a house on a lot in the city, you might own your land.  But if you own acreage anywhere, the government owns your land, you don't.  If you have ocean front or a stream, river, lake, trees, steep slopes or God forbid, a wetland on your property, don't think for one minute that one day, government won't come knocking on your door to fine you, penalize you, sue your, or send you to jail for just about any use you decide to do with your land.  Because you will soon learn the stark reality that whatever you plan to do or are doing on your land, violates some law and you will discover that you really don't own that land.  Government does.
All across America mMillions of words have been written, are being written and will continue to be written by well-meaning, knowledgeable individuals, on the vicious assault by government on our freedoms, liberties and property rights.  But the time for words is long since past.  The time for unified action is now. 
A freedom not defended is a freedom lost.  A government un-monitored is a government out of control.  If both are allowed to continue, abject socialism and radical environmentalism will rule and WE THE PEOPLE will become serfs to the Lord of the Bureaucracy.  We formed NARLO to start the process to regain our freedoms and property rights.  We know how to do it.  The question is, will enough of you be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to join with us in this effort, or will you leave us to dangle precariously in front of and be taken down by the all-powerful government?
Last year we reached in an helped Ron Rowe with his problems with King County Government.  It so befuddled King County's DDES that it took over 8 months before they decided to take Ron to court.  When the court reviewed the facts, the judged nixed King County in short order.  Ron Rowe won against King County because of our and two others direct involvement.
Last week we took action to defend Stan Powers and his family against bureaucratic abuse of power.  We shined the light of public scrutiny on the bureaucracies that are attacking the Powers family.  We have already (in just one day) received positive results from that action.  We can help you too, if you are under attack by your government.   If you would like NARLO to fight for you, all you need do is call and we will come out and discuss your issues and determine some course of action. 
If we come together, we can win.  If we fight separately, as way too many are having to do, we shall surely lose.
Ron Ewart, President
P. O. Box 1031, Issaquah, WA  98027
425 222-4742 or 1 800 682-7848
(Fax No. 425 222-4743)

The National Association of Rural Landowners (NARLO) is a non-profit corporation, duly licensed in the State of Washington.  It was formed in response to draconian land use ordinances that were passed by King County in Washington State (Seattle) in the late Fall of 2004, after vociferous opposition from rural landowners.  NARLO's mission is to begin the long process of restoring, preserving and protecting Consttitutional property rights and returning this country to a Constitutional Republic.  Government has done a great job of dividing us up into little battle groups where we are essentially impotent at a national level.  We will change all that with the noisy voices and the vast wealth tied up in the land of the American rural landowner.  The land is our power, if we will just use that power, before we lose it.  We welcome donations and volunteers who believe as we do, that government abuses against rural landowners have gone on for far too long and a day of reckoning is at hand.  To learn more, visit our website at
President Roosevelt, in his 1933 inaugural address said, “…. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.  I maintain that the only thing we have to fear is unbridled government.  The only way unbridled government can exist is if WE THE PEOPLE allow it.  Unfortunately, we have.


Property cleanup leads to court battle: Covington woman removes trash, tires from land, gets cited for conducting 'unlawful' project

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Gary Kissel/Journal

Gwen Bartol of Covington is being prosecuted for trimming blackberries and removing old tires and garbage along a section of Soos Creek that runs through her property.


By Jamie Swift
Journal Reporter

Gwen Bartol thought she was beautifying her property by cutting back bushes and removing dozens of tires and a washing machine from Soos Creek, a salmon-bearing stream that meanders through her expansive Covington estate.

"I was proud of myself," she said. "I thought I was doing environmental cleanup."

But according to the state, Bartol was committing a crime.

The 54-year-old real estate agent is scheduled for a jury trial in September in King County District Court on the charge of conducting an "unlawful hydraulic project" on the creek, which is a Green River tributary.

The violation is a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Bartol was cited by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife more than two years ago. That was after living on the property with her husband for more than 20 years.

Years ago, the couple built a fort for their children on the banks of creek, as well as a small wooden bridge that spans the stream — activities that would not be allowed without a permit under modern environmental laws.

Since the citation was issued in 2004, Bartol has been embroiled in a contentious and confusing battle with the state over exactly what she's done wrong — and how to mitigate the alleged damage she's caused to the wildlife habitat on her property.

King County Prosecutor Leah Altaras, representing the state, said the fish and wildlife department "alleges they offered more than one warning" to Bartol and that "she did not heed their warnings."

That's why this case is headed to court, a rare occurrence for such violations, which in most instances are settled with warnings and fines.

In fact, of the 1,289 contacts fish and wildlife officers made in 2005 regarding reports of unlawful hydraulic projects, only 78 resulted in any level of action — and just 26 of the cases were filed with prosecutors across the state.

What's proved frustrating for Bartol's attorney, Scott LaFranchi, is the broad nature of the law under which she is being prosecuted. RCW 77.55.00 states that "any work that will use, divert, obstruct, or change the natural flow" of a stream requires approval from the state.

Under that rule, LaFranchi said, you can't put your foot in the water.

"I understand why the law exists," LaFranchi said. "But is that the intent of the law? To go after people like Gwen for removing trash, tires and a washing machine from a creek.

"The fact that jail time is even on the table seems extreme to me," he said.

Bartol has spent thousands of dollars, first trying to do what the state wanted her to do, and more recently fighting prosecution.

In that time, the stress of the situation led to her divorce.

"It was just too much," Bartol said. She visibly shakes when talking about her frustration with all that has transpired.

Bartol said she didn't know she was doing anything illegal when she cleared blackberry bushes along her property line to remove garbage that motorists had discarded over the years.

Bartol also said she had no clue that removing old tires, a washing machine and other trash from Soos Creek, or placing boulders around a man-made creek diversion, were violations of a state law aimed at protecting salmon-bearing streams.

Bartol disputes the state's claim that she removed several trees and salmon berry bushes that provided shade and erosion control for Soos Creek.

"I'm not doing anything different I haven't done for 22 years," she said.

But all of these activities require permits, Altaras said. "(The state) doesn't discourage people from pulling garbage from streams, but they prefer you get a permit.

"The point of the legislation is to protect fish and there are a lot of salmon in the stream that goes through her property," she said.

Bartol said when she was approached in 2004, she was amenable to performing remediation — removing the rocks, planting trees, installing woody debris in the creek — but at some point, a working relationship with state officials turned adversarial.

The state wanted her to perform remediation on the property and accept a deferred sentence, basically a plea bargain confessing to the crime. The deal called for her to be on probation for a year and pay a $3,500 fine.

"No way I was going to sign that," she said. "I'm a proud woman. I'm not going to bend over."

Bartol said she doesn't believe a jury will send her to jail for trying to improve her property.

Bartol and her ex-husband had planned on retiring and preparing the property to be a bed-and-breakfast and a place to host weddings. But those designs have been put on indefinite hold, because as long as there are pending violations, no permits can be obtained.

"It's a lose-lose situation for everyone," LaFranchi said. "Because the more situations you have like this, the harder it is to pass regulations that will actually serve to protect the environment."

Jamie Swift can be reached at or 253-872-6646.