Kitsap Forest Theater Access Update

After being locked out of Kitsap Forest Theater by Keta Legacy Foundation, The Mountaineers was successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order to ensure its 100th anniversary season could proceed. Today, we share an important update about our ongoing access at Kitsap Forest Theater, and our efforts to reach a long-term resolution to this challenge.
Tom Vogl Tom Vogl
Mountaineers CEO
September 05, 2023
Kitsap Forest Theater Access Update

In May of this year, you may recall that I shared with you the news that Keta Legacy Foundation had tried to obstruct access to Kitsap Forest Theater, jeopardizing our 100th anniversary season. We were successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order to allow The Sound of Music and Seussical, the Musical to proceed for this season. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend both productions this summer and was thrilled to see so many people, across multiple generations, enjoying these wonderful shows and the idyllic setting of Kitsap Forest Theater. 

Unfortunately, a September 1 court ruling was not favorable to The Mountaineers. The court decided not to make its temporary restraining order permanent, thus calling into question future access to the Kitsap Forest Theater. We’re disappointed that Keta’s actions have led to this outcome, but we will continue working to try to ensure that future productions at Kitsap Forest Theater will not be disrupted. 


Without backstage access to the theater as we’ve always had, our ability to transport mobility-challenged guests, bring sets and other materials to the theater by vehicle, and provide easy, safe access for emergency responders would be compromised. We continue to hope that Keta will agree to put the Kitsap access issue, and other disputes related to use of The Mountaineers name, behind us. In the meantime, we are actively evaluating alternatives on The Mountaineers property that would address these challenges, without having to cross Keta’s property to the backstage area.  

Our organizations have worked together for decades and we never imagined that Keta would sue to remove our trademark rights or block our access to land we have historically used. We think it’s in the best interest of both Keta and The Mountaineers to sort this out and get back to the good work of our respective organizations. 


On September 1, I received a message from Keta’s board president, Jeff Wirtz, inviting The Mountaineers to meet later this month with the goal of reaching a settlement agreement. His message to me was also shared with some members of our community as an open letter. We have always been open to finding a reasonable path forward, and we were happy to hear that Keta was willing to discuss an amicable resolution to this long standing dispute. 

We’ve agreed to meet with Keta on September 22 and 23 for settlement discussions. Under Washington state law, settlement offers are confidential. But to further reassure Keta that we will negotiate in good faith, I have signed and shared a confidentiality agreement with Mr. Wirtz. 

While we won’t be able to share with our community anything substantive about our upcoming settlement discussions with our community (except whether or not they were successful), I can personally say that we’ll do everything we can to resolve this dispute amicably. We do recognize, though, that it may require the judge’s decision on the trademark issues (set for trial in March 2024) to achieve a final resolution.  

We continue to be committed to sharing updates with our community as we work to resolve these issues. As always, feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions or feedback. 

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