OLYMPIA – July 13, 2015 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will have its regular meeting next week in Poulsbo on the Kitsap Peninsula.
The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 23, at Poulsbo City Hall, 200 Moe St., Poulsbo. A full Commission meeting agenda is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/agency/commissionmeetings/. (Directions: http://mapq.st/1DhI7OF) Time for public comment is provided at this and all regular meetings. The Commission meets seven times a year at various locations around the state.
The Commission will consider adopting land classifications, a long-term boundary and a facilities concept plan for a 141-acre State Park property known as Fudge Point, on Harstine Island in South Puget Sound. The public land-use planning process has been underway for the past nine months.
During the planning process for the Fudge Point property, public comment primarily focused on protecting private lands from trespass on the beach and preventing pedestrians from intentionally gaining access to private beaches and shellfish beds by going through the park. Public comments from neighbors indicated they preferred the long-term boundary be limited to a lagoon area and not to provide a land-based link for pedestrians on the beach between McMicken Island State Park and Fudge Point. The plan to be considered by the Commission reflects these preferences.
The Fudge Point plan will consider the following land classification designations:
- Resource Recreation: 116 acres under current park ownership and 166.4 of lands included within the long-term boundary—the majority of the park. This classification balances appropriate levels of recreation access with protection of natural resources and preservation of the park’s natural shoreline. Staff recommends signs to educate visitors to respect natural resources, neighboring properties and aquaculture activities.
- Recreation: 20.3 acres of uplands in a flat area away from the water, with opportunities for access by car, bike or foot, development of day-use parking, flush comfort stations and potential future picnic shelters, campsites and cabins. Also, a Recreation designation would be placed on .8 of an acre, to allow for sanitary facilities and ADA-compliant beach access.
- Natural Area: 10 acres, including the lagoon, mouth of the stream and associated feeder bluffs. While retaining access to the beach, this classification limits development to interpretive signage and pedestrian trails or boardwalks to enhance protection of the area, which includes critical habitat for sand lance and smelt.
State Parks expects that the first development within the park would be the parking area located in the Recreation zone, if the Commission adopts the plan.
State Parks prepares Comprehensive and Management Plans (CAMP) for state parks using a multi-staged public participation-based planning process that culminates with Commission consideration and adoption of land classifications and long-term park boundaries. The purpose of identifying a long-term boundary is to establish what lands outside of ownership might make sense for the long-term conservation and recreation mission of a park. The long-term boundary process allows State Parks to identify which properties within the boundary should be retained or considered surplus and to express possible future interest in such options as management agreements, easements and future purchase from willing sellers.
In other business, the Commission will consider finding a 31.4-acre property on Squaxin Island without public access as not being advantageous for park purposes and authorize its sale to the Squaxin Island Tribe. The property was acquired by the state between 1961 and 1965. Between 1961 and 1993, the Tribe authorized park visitors to cross the tidelands for access to the uplands, and it was a popular destination for boaters. In 1993, public access over tribal tidelands expired, and in January 2005, as part of a process to assess parks for consistency with a long-term vision of the park system, the Commission determined that without access the property was not useful. The Tribe owns a significant portion of Squaxin Island and is actively working to acquire the remaining property. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently negotiated the sale of state trust lands on Squaxin Island to the tribe and assisted State Parks in determining an appropriate valuation for State Parks lands on the island. Sale of park lands to the Tribe would generate approximately $45,090 and may be used only to acquire other lands for park purposes.
The Commission will also consider an adjusted land classification at Riverside State Park to include the adjacent Trautman Property owned by Spokane County. State Parks is considering a long-term agreement with the county to manage the property as part of Riverside.
In addition, the Commission will consider adoption of its 2016 regular meeting dates and locations and will be presented several reports with no requested action, including: financial and legislative updates; a 2014 Kukutali Preserve Annual Report; a report on the Central Whidbey area and Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve; and a report on the process for 2016 supplemental budget and request legislation.
Wednesday Work session: A Commission work session is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, at Poulsbo City Hall, 200 N.E. Moe St., Poulsbo. Work sessions are open to the public, however, no public testimony is heard, and no formal action is taken at work sessions.
Topics on the work session agenda include:
- Update on implementation of three-agency Discover Pass
- Climate change strategy
- Update on forest health and tree risk reduction projects at Whidbey, Deception Pass and Miller Peninsula
- Preview of surplus and enterprise lands for Commission consideration
- Final 2015-17 Operating and Capital budget update and initial discussion on preparing for 2017-19
- Potential 2016 request legislation
- Anticipated activities to vacate Saint Edward Seminary in the event that a suitable proposal for rehabilitation is not received by the Commission’s Sept. 30, 2015 deadline
- Introduction of an effort to develop a conceptual plan for development and operation of recreational facilities on Lake Spokane, in partnership with Avista Utilities.
Friday Commission tour: Commission members will participate in a tour of Blake Island State Park, departing at 8 a.m. Friday, July 24, from Guest House Inn and Suites, 19801 Seventh Ave. N.E., Poulsbo. They are scheduled to arrive at Manchester State Park at 11:30 a.m. for a tour.
About Washington State Parks: The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
Follow Washington State Parks:
Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.
Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.
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