Latest from The Spokesman-Review
FISHING — It isn't a hot spot for fishing this time of year, but if you're thinking of launching a boat in the Columbia River's reservoir behind Wanapum Dam, think again.
The 20-foot drawdown resulting from precautions after a crack was found in the dam have left boat ramps far from the water, as you'll see in the photos with this story from the Yakima Herald.
INVASIVE SPECIES — Having the invasive quagga mussels booming in Utah's Lake Powell is like having a deadly contagious disease at a major national airport with folks coming and going in all directions — including Idaho, a federal biologist says.
He's trying to get the word out before boaters flood out of Idaho to Utah for spring break.
Here's the story from Rob Thornberry of the Idaho Falls Post Register:
With Utah finding more quagga mussels in Lake Powell, the likelihood they will find their way to Idaho is increasing, said Lee Mabey, a forest fisheries biologist with the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
Having the mussels in Lake Powell is like having a deadly contagious disease at a major national airport with folks coming and going in all directions, including Idaho, Mabey said. The rate of spread of the mussels could be very rapid now that Lake Powell is infected.
Mabey is trying to raise awareness of the problem before people travel south for spring break.
Data from the Idaho Department of Agriculture’s five years of boat inspections indicates Lake Powell is the most frequently visited mussel-fouled water body by Idaho boaters. Many of these vessels have been out of the water less than 30 days at the time they are inspected, posing a significant risk of transporting larval or adult mussels to the Gem State.
In 2013, Idaho inspected 568 boats that had recently come from Mead, Powell, Mohave, Havasu or Pleasant lakes. All those waters have mussels.
Idaho does not, and officials are keen on keeping it that way.
If quagga or zebra mussels take hold in Idaho, the state’s lake fisheries will be forever changed and the irrigation and hydropower industry could face millions of dollars in added expenses. Undoubtedly these expenses will be passed on to the consumer, Mabey said.
Quagga mussels are prolific breeders and attach themselves to hard and soft surfaces. Once in a lake, they filter plankton from the water, robbing fish of food.
“If we get these mussels in our lakes, it is going to turn the ecology upside down,” Mabey said. “Our fish populations would crash. It is simple biology — a lake only supports so much biomass. You can have plankton and fish or you can have plankton and mussels.”
Mabey encourages all anglers and boaters to take the threat seriously and learn about proper precautions to keep the marauders out of Idaho.
- Click here for more information on steps boaters can take to prevent spread of invasive mussels.
“We need everybody to take part in prevention,” he said. “We can’t rely on just inspection stations. We need to have a change in mentality of all users. Just like anglers have adopted catch-and-release regulation, we need boaters and all water users to adopt clean, drain and dry after each excursion.”
Jordan Nielson, a Madison High School graduate, is the aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. He said government agencies are doing well to slow the spread of mussels, but those efforts will be wasted if boaters don’t change their habits.
“We need a paradigm shift,” he said. “The state agency can only do so much. People have to realize they have a responsibility when they go boating to make sure they aren’t moving things around. It is essential.”
WEATHER — February's storms are loading the region's mountains with snow, presenting a better picture for outdoor recreation that depends on water, including anglers and river runners.
However, we need another snow dance or two for the Idaho Panhandle. March can be a good month.
Here's the report from NOAA that goes with the map graphic above:
Considerable snowfall across the region in February served to pump up the water content in the area's snowpack. This image depicts the current Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) as a percent of normal as measured by the region's snow telemetry (SNOWTEL) sensors.
SNOWTEL is operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The data from these sensors is available online.
PADDLING — A free program on a British Columbia sea kayaking journey from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, for the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club at Mountain Gear's corporate office, 6021 E. Mansfield.
The two week adventure of paddling along the exposed coast of Queen Charlotte Sound will be detailed by Roy Massena, who has kayaked extensively in Pacific Northwest waters and has encountered more than his share of challenging conditions.
RIVERS — The level of Lake Roosevelt near the elevation of 1,273 feet today and lake levels are expected to remain between 1,271-1,273 this week, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Grand Coulee Dam is being operated to meet power demand and the minimum tail water requirement of 11.5 feet below Bonneville Dam for chum and the 65 kcfs minimum Hanford Reach protection flows below Priest Rapids Dam.
The February Water Supply Forecasts indicated that Lake Roosevelt's inflow potential is 82% of average. The forecast for the Dalles is 83% of average. Due to a relatively dry January, flood control elevations have risen since last month.
The following are flood control elevations for Lake Roosevelt:
- January 31 - 1290 feet
- February 31 - 1290 feet
- March 31 – 1283.3 feet
- April 31 – 1282.7 feet
The next Water Supply Forecast will be updated the week of March 10 and flood control elevations are expected to change. February has seen an increase in precipitation and it is expected the March forecast will reflect this change.
Get links to river flows in this region at The Spokesman-Review Outdoors topics page.
Get daily Lake Roosevelt level forecast by phone, updated daily at 3 p.m: (800) 824-4916.
Check out this NOAA site with Roosevelt levels and a list of boat launching elevations on the same page.
BOATING — Daryl Farmer, 39, from West Sussex, England, is planning an attempt to set another world record by solo rowing 2,100 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii as a competitor in the first Great Pacific Race beginning in Monterey in June.
Fewer people have rowed solo across the Pacific Ocean than have walked on the moon. The record for this route is held by Mick Bird, who rowed it single-handed in 1997 in 64 days.
About 15 boats and 38 competitors are signed up for the race, with crews from nine different countries including the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canada, France and Ireland.
Farmer, rowing under the name of Rowing 4 Reefs has bagged a few other long-distance challenges, including the Marathon de Sables (150 miles across the Sahara) and the Jungle Marathon (140 miles through the Amazon rainforest). He's getting a sponsorship boost from Earthrace.
But in this effort he's rowing to raise funds for ocean conservation efforts, inspired by the wake of solo-rowers Roz Savage and James Cracknell.
Built from a special carbon/Kevlar foam sandwich construction, Farmer’s boat, ‘Bojangles’, was built with the Pacific in mind. She is one of the strongest, most proven and sought-after ocean rowing boats in the world, already in the record books as the first and only rowing boat to successfully complete a crossing of the Pacific West to East with its crew of Mick Dawson and Chris Martin (Race Director, Great Pacific Race) in 2009.
BOATING — Producers of the 2014 Seattle Boat Show have changed their play, and will close their big production next week a day early so “exhibitors, event staff and showgoers can watch the (Super Bowl) with their friends and families.”
The event will close at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1, which leaves boating enthusiasts with nine full days to visit the West Coast’s largest boat show.
The Seattle Boat Show opens at 11 a.m. Friday in the CenturyLink Field Event Center and on the water at south Lake Union.
As a bonus, the show has arranged with CenturyLink to allow field access to showgoers/Seahawks fans each day of the show except Jan. 29-30. The field will be open from noon until 2 p.m., letting the public wander the turf, sport their Seahawks gear, and get a feel for how big the place is.
See the story by the Everett Herald.
FISHING — Here we go again.
A reader called Thursday and said he was told the Colville and Spokane tribes were trying to get authority to govern — and possibly to require tribal fishing licenses for non-tribal anglers — out to the middle of the Columbia River along Lake Roosevelt where it borders their reservations.
This would fly in the face of the Cassidy Court Decision that settled this dispute in the 1990s.
- I just went over these details in my Outdoors column and blog posts last week.
Today I've confirmed that the Tribes have been meeting with officials from several federal agencies including the National Park Service and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Dan Foster, supervisor of the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, responded to my query this morning:
Both the Spokane Tribe of Indians and Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation have requested a delegation of authority from the Department of Interior to enforce tribal fishing regulations on areas within their reservations included in Lake Roosevelt. The request is under consideration by the department.
BOATING — The elevation of Lake Roosevelt was 1278 feet Wednesday and is expected to range from 1270 to 1278 through mid-February as the dam operates primarily for providing power, the Bureau of Reclamation reports.
Although local snowpacks are thin, the status of the Columbia Basin, which ranges well into Canada, is bright for Columbia River hydropower and fish. Says the Bureau:
The January Water Supply Forecasts have been issued. Currently the inflow forecast for Lake Roosevelt is 95% of average. The forecast for the Dalles is 97% of average.
The following are flood control elevations forecast for Lake Roosevelt but subject change:
- January 31 - 1290 feet
- February 31 - 1290 feet
- March 31 - 1276.8 feet
- April 31 - 1243.2 feet
Daily lake level forecast by phone: (800) 824-4916.
Or check out this NOAA site with Roosevelt levels and a list of boat launching elevations on the same page.
PUBLIC LANDS — My column today regarding the murky jurisdictional differences sport fishermen must navigate on and around Lake Roosevelt is just a glimpse at years of posturing that's likely to go on for many more years. That's the way it is with boundary disputes between sovereign nations, only in the case of a U.S. citizen challenging the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe, the citizens pay the cost of both the prosecution and the defense, since the U.S. Attorney would be called in to defend the tribe.
This is part of the reason it's hard to move forward.
A few notes:
- When camping or fishing FROM SHORE on the Colville or Spokane Indian reservation lands along Lake Roosevelt, tribal permits and licenses are required. No state or federal agencies dispute that.
- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Colville Tribe recently renewed their five-year agreement to allow non-tribal anglers to fish without a tribal fishing license in the designated area along the net pens on Lake Rufus Woods. The agreement calls for allowing this privilege in three areas along the reservation side of Rufus Woods, but state funding has allowed development of only the one site so far, said WDFW Police Capt. Chris Anderson.
- Attatched to this blog is the “5 Party Agreement” the Indian Tribes refer to when they say they have jurisdiction to the middle of Lake Roosevelt, regardless of what the federal court ruled in the Cassidy Decision.
- Click here for my story explaining the Spokane Tribe's contention that a tribal fishing license is required for fishing in the Sanpoil Arm of Lake Roosevelt, even from a boat below the 1,310 elevation line.
Connie Williamson of Grand Coulee was one of the anglers first ticketed by tribal officers for fishing without a Colville tribal fishing license on Geezer Beach. She says she has a tribal because she fishes on the reservation lands and respects the tribe's authority to manage its fish and wildlife on the reservation. But she fished while carrying just a state fishing license on Geezer Beach to press the point that that land belongs to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the tribe should have no authority on that land.
When she went to Colville tribal court for her hearing, the charges were dropped. She, too, could not progress to a resolution in the dispute.
Read on for portions of the responses she's received as she's pursued the issue to higher levels:
RESERVOIRS — The annual drawdown of Lake Spokane, the Spokane River reservoir also known as Long Lake, is set to begin on Monday (Jan. 6), Avista Utilities announced today in a media release.
In 2013, the drawdown started on Jan. 23.
Once the drawdown begins, operators expect to lower the reservoir up to one foot a day for two or three weeks until it reaches its winter elevation of 13-14 feet below maximum summer elevation of 1,536 feet.
Under the right weather conditions, which include sustained periods of single-digit temperatures and little or no snow on the exposed lakebed, the drawdown is expected to help control Eurasian watermilfoil and other invasive aquatic weeds found in Lake Spokane. The drawdown also allows property owners to complete state and locally permitted repair and construction projects along the lake shoreline.
The lower winter elevation will be maintained until runoff conditions begin. Water levels can change with weather conditions in the upper Spokane River drainage.
For updates on changes at Lake Spokane, the Spokane River and Coeur d’ Alene Lake, check the Avista website or call: Washington (509) 495-8043; Idaho, call (208) 769-1357.
NATIONAL PARKS — Boaters and anglers can save money buy buying their season boat launch permit for Lake Roosevelt before the end of April.
A launch permit is required at all designated National Park Service-managed ramps regardless of the type of vessel.
Without a season permit, boaters pay on site a $6 fee for a permit valid for seven days.
2014 season launch permits cost $30 if purchased by April 30. After that, the cost increases to $40.
Federal Golden Age, Golden Access and Interagency Senior or Access Pass cardholders, fees get 50 percent off.
Read on for details on where to purchase the boat launch permits.
FISHING — The Rose Lake Access Area managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be closed to public access this winter. The closure is needed for public safety during an access site improvement construction project southeast of Fourth of July Pass.
Construction and closure of the site will begin the week of December 16, 2013.
The project involves converting the Rose Lake Boat Launch from a primitive site to a modern facility. Numerous improvements will be completed that will make the site much more useful to anglers and boaters, the agency says. Parking will be expanded and moved closer to the water than is currently available. Plans include 20 or more parking spaces that are more convenient than those currently available.
A new road to the boat ramp will be built that will access an enhanced loading area. ADA accessible parking will be created near the docks and ramps. A new double lane launch surface is planned, as is a new boarding dock system. A boat pre-launch prep area will be constructed. Surfaces will be covered with asphalt.
Info: Idaho Fish and Game Panhandle Region office, (208) 769-1414.
PADDLING — A kayaker's body was recovered this morning from the Palouse River, according to the following statement released this afternoon by the Whitman County Sheriff.
Alison Webb, 54, who was on the Palouse city council, was found dead early Friday morning, her life apparently claimed by hypothermia after capsizing in the freezing cold.
COLFAX, WA- Authorities have recovered the body of a kayaker who was reported missing late Thursday evening.
At approximately 8pm on Thursday evening, Deputies from the Whitman County Sheriff’s Office were notified of an overdue kayaker near the town of Palouse, WA. The kayaker, Allison E Webb, 54yoa of Palouse, WA, reportedly set out on a late afternoon kayak trip on the Palouse River. When she failed to arrive at her destination, family members became concerned, conducted a brief search and later notified 911.
After Deputies determined that Webb started her float trip near Wellesley Road in Latah County, officials from Idaho were also notified. Due to the extremely cold temperatures search crews from both sides of the border immediately began a ground and aerial search of the river and terrain. Officials from Latah and Whitman Counties searched through the night and into Friday Morning.
At approximately 8:30 Friday morning, search crews from Fairchild Air Force Base (36 Rescue Helicopter) assisting in the effort located the body of a deceased female, later identified as Allison E. Webb. It is believed Webb died after capsizing her kayak and being exposed to the extremely cold overnight temperatures. The exact cause and manner of death will be determined by the Whitman County Coroner’s Office.
Crews from The Latah County Sheriff’s Office, Latah County Search and Rescue, Whitman County Emergency Management, MedStar, Fairchild Air Force Base, Whitman County Sheriff’s Office, Palouse Fire and EMS, Border Patrol, Whitman County Coroner and the American Red Cross all assisted in the search effort.
TRAILS — The section of the Spokane River Centennial Trail that's been closed for weeks because of sewer line construction at the Spokane Convention Center expansion site (see story) will reopen this afternoon.
The Friends of the Centennial Trail report that Mile 22.5 of the Centennial Trail, from Division Street Bridge west to King Cole Bridge at the Spokane Convention Center, flows through the first phase of restoring and re-landscaping the area.
“Like the newly discovered Spokane River Gorge views from the Trail at Kendall Yards, the 'new' Convention Center views show case Riverfront Park, the north bank of the river and Gonzaga University like never before,” the Friends say in a email update.
“Extensive work to restore and landscape the Spokane River shoreline and bring a new first-phase surface to the Trail is beautiful. Even in their dormant state, the addition of over 75 trees and hundreds of native plants make this area flourish. Some Miracle Mile Medallions here have been carefully removed and stored. They will be re-installed in numerical order when the project is completed by December, 2014.”
The second phase of trail construction begins next September.
BOATING — The boating industry this week is celebrating the contribution of Richard “Dick” Stallman, who was 34 in 1962 when he tested his invention — the jet outboard — by running a sled upstream through the rapids of Oregon's Rogue River.
Stallman died last week.
“His invention was a major contribution to shallow-water boating world-wide and it greatly enhanced access to premium waters and hunter and angler success,” noted Glen Wooldridge of Wooldridge Boats of Seattle in a Facebook post announcing the death.
Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman has assembled this story, a nice look back at Stallman's revolutionary invention, which put sportsmen in the driver's seat for thin waters and fishing and hunting hot spots previously off-limits to motorized travel.
BOATING — This unconfirmed report comes today from a reader:
Some 200-250 buoys were used in the Diamond Cup hydroplane races at Lake Coeur d'Alene the first weekend of September. However, after the races the organizers apparently left the ropes and anchors that held the buoys in place.
Fisherman and boaters have learned this the hard way by getting tangled in them and loosing gear, the reader reports. Some boaters say the ropes present a navigational hazard.
Apparently the Idaho Department of Land is aware of the problem but has failed to respond.
Officers are closed today because of the Veterans Day holiday.
RIVERS — Here's a tip of the hat to the 64 volunteers who volunteered on a weekend in October to plant 550 trees and shrubs and install fencing and improvements to restore the Spokane River shoreline at the state line river access site.
The ongoing project is coordinated by the Spokane Conservation District and Spokane River Forum and supported by numerous other groups and local businesses that prize the Spokane River and public access to its assets.
UPDATED 10-17-13 at 9:15 a.m.
FISHING — A deal that ended the federal government shutdown tonight is reopening national wildlife refuges and parks sometime on Thursday.
Here is a statement issued Thursday morning from Superintendent Foster:
“We are proud to be a part of this area and are happy to welcome visitors back to the park. We express gratitude to the public as there are great people in this area that have displayed understanding and respect during this difficult time.”
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area has a significant effect on the local economy. Together, the economic impacts from visitor spending, federal jobs created, and jobs created in the local market supporting local tourism are estimated to be over $40 million a year generated in the communities around Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. The economic impact of closing Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area for 16 days has been extremely difficult on local communities, businesses, neighbors, and park partners. We look forward to working with you on ways to lessen that impact.
BOATING — The America's Boating Course, which satisfies Washington's boater safety education requirement, will be offered next weekend (Oct. 12-13) by the Spokane Sail & Power Squadron at the Post Falls Cabela's store.
The eight-hour course will be taught in two sessions starting at 10 a.m. each day.
Cost: $48 or $73 for two people from the same household sharing the course manual and materials.
Info: (208) 777-0228.
Were you born after Dec. 31, 1962?
Washington law requires anyone 50 years old or younger to complete an approved course and have a boater safety education card in order to operate a powerboat with a motor of 15 hp or greater.
In 2014, the requirement will extend to boaters age 59 and younger.
NATIONAL PARKS — They waited years to draw a permit and planned for months for their big float down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon — one of the greatest whitewater trips in the world.
BOATING — The trout are getting break at Lake Roosevelt as the public boat launches continue to be closed by the National Park Service.
“We’ve been given direction for the duration of the shutdown that all National Park Service facilities are closed for visitor recreation activities,” said Dan Foster, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area superintendent in Grand Coulee.
He said today that the boat launch areas will continue to be barricaded until Congress resolves the federal government shutdown.
“I don’t blame people for wanting to go boating on the lake. I know the fishing has been good and this weekend especially is supposed to be really nice.
“But the closures are part of the direction we’ve been given, and as superintendent, I have no latitude for changes.”
BOATING — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District has announced that while some of its campgrounds and other facilities will be temporarily closed during the federal government shutdown, many other boat launches and sites will remain open if they're supported by local partner groups.
Sites NOT AFFECTED by the shutdown on the Clearwater and Snake rivers include:
Dworshak State Park, Ice Harbor Marina, Boyer Park, Chief Looking Glass Park, Gateway Park, Hells Canyon Resort, Clearwater Park, Clearwater North/Lewiston, Chief Timothy Park, Wawawai Park, Lyons Ferry Marina, Lucky Peak State Park.
Sites NOT AFFECTED in the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla areas include:
Two Rivers Park, Columbia Park, McNary Yacht Club, Hat Rock State Park, Pasco Boat Basin, Chiawana Park, Columbia Park West, Duportail Boat Launch, Sacajawea State Park, Walla Walla Yacht Club.
Note to salmon/steelhead anglers on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia:
The White Bluffs boat ramp in the Hanford Reach National Monument apparently has been closed by the government shutdown, forcing more anglers to pack into the state-managed launch areas at Ringold and Vernita Bridge.
Read on for the just-issued media release with details from the Corps of Engineers.
UPDATED 1:05 p.m.
BOATING — The hot fishing for rainbow trout that's been reported in recent weeks at Lake Roosevelt might cool off for lack of anglers.
This includes campgrounds, marinas, boat launches and concessions operations, the supervisor's office said today.
- Even the national park web pages are down!
Park Service officials just confirmed that they will be putting up barricades at the entrances of campgrounds and boat launches.
There are no state-managed access sites on the 125-mile long reservoir.
Read on for more details in a press release issued by the Lake Roosevelt NRA at 1 p.m. today:
BOATING — A 15-year concession contract has been awarded to Dakota Columbia Rentals, LLC for the operations of a full service marina, including houseboat and other boat rentals, moorage, retail/grocery, marine fuel and oil sales, pump-out services, and related services at the Keller Ferry and Seven Bays Marinas and also to operate the Keller Ferry campground within Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.
Says the National Park Service media release issued today:
Concessioners fill a vital role in helping the National Park Service (NPS) carry out its mission. Private companies are drawn to working with NPS in order to offer services to park visitors, which are not provided directly by the government. Concessioners specialize in these operations and are thus able to provide quality services at reasonable prices. By welcoming the private sector as a partner in park operations, the National Park Service broadens the economic base of the region and communities surrounding the parks.
As required by the 1998 Concessions Management Improvement Act, the NPS solicited for proposals, for the commercial services provided at Keller Ferry and Seven Bays Marinas within Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. Guidelines used to evaluate proposals can be found online at www.nps.gov/commercialservices.
BOATING — “But officer, we're just out fishing…”
I've seen boat set up something like this for federal drug enforcement being transported on I-90 near Seattle. Seems the feds have to keep up with the speed-boating criminals.
But outboards totaling 2,000 hp? Can you imaging the fuel bill?
The photo above has been going around the Internet for a while, with this explanation, verified by Snopes:
- Yamaha Vx250 outboard engines list price: $23,000 EACH!
- $23,000 X 8 = $184,000.00 just for the motors!
FISHING — As reported earlier, the Snake River boat ramp at Heller Bar upstream from Asotin is being repaired this week, just as the chinook salmon and steelhead runs are spiking over Lower Granite Dam.
While restricted access is being allowed most of the week, the boat ramp will be totally closed for use on Tuesday and Wednesday,the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says.
Here are more details in a story by Eric Barker at the Lewiston Tribune:
ROGERSBURG — The busy Heller Bar boat ramp will be closed Tuesday and
Wednesday as work crews from the Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife make repairs to the concrete there.
The work will start on Monday and last through next Friday on the
two-lane ramp. One lane will be open on most days, allowing boaters to
use it. However, the ramp will close entirely for the two days in the
middle of the week.
“Broken concrete sections underwater at the bottom of the ramps could
cause severe damage to boat trailers,” said Bob Dice, manager for the
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Blue Mountains wildlife
areas. “Fixing this now during very low water allows our work crew
access and gets the problem fixed before water levels and the steelhead
season pick up.”
The Snake River has eroded the lower portion of the ramp and caused the
chunks to break off. Trailers can be damaged if their wheels drop off
the broken portion of the ramp when people back down it to launch or
retrieve their boats. The construction crew will remove broken sections
and replace them with 11 feet of cabled concrete blocks that will extend
across the bottom of the entire ramp.
“The ramp repair is part of a larger effort to improve overall safety
and general conditions at the Heller Bar water access area,” said Steve
Sherlock, statewide access coordinator for the department. “Other future
improvements planned for this site include expansion of boat launching
opportunities, new signs, and an information kiosk.”
Heller Bar, at the northern end of Hells Canyon, is the starting point
for jet boat trips into the canyon and the take-out point for people who
raft the Lower Salmon and Snake rivers.
It can develop into a tent and camper city when steelhead begin to pulse
upriver and collect at the mouth of the Grande Ronde River.
The ramp area is owned by the state of Washington and managed by the
BOATING — Proposed changes at the Kettle Falls and Fort Spokane boat launches are detailed in the 2013 Boat Launch Development Concept Plan released for public by the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.
The plan evaluates the effects of expanding and reconfiguring the two existing boat launches and the associated facilities within recreation area.
National Park Service staff will hold an open house to discuss this plan, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Kettle Falls Visitors Center, 425 W. Third Ave. Written comments will also be accepted at this meeting.
Comments on the plan are due by Sept. 30.
BOATING — The Spokane Parks and Recreation Board apparently has reached an agreement with the Spokane Public Facilities District that may assure maintaining a viable boat take-out point under the Division Street Bridge after the voter-approved $55 million Convention Center expansion project is finished.
But here's a message received tonight from Parks Board member Andy Dunau of the Spokane River Forum:
I’m pleased to be able to share what I believe is good news. Today, the Spokane Parks and Recreation Board passed a resolution that the PFD has agreed to. The resolution addresses items needed to move forward this fall with development activities on Centennial Trail and Spokane River shoreline that are part of the convention center expansion. The section of the resolution that is essential to a put-in/take-out for the water trail reads as follows:
“The Park Board approves the Access in principle and subject to further review and approval design of the Park Board, and further authorizes the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department to be the lead agency in getting the Access permitted, conditioned on the District’s acknowledgement that it will bear all costs and expenses associated with permitting and construction of the Access, including any expenses ordinarily assigned to the City as lead agency for any permitting and/or construction of the Access, up to an amount not exceeding $47,000.”
The PFD verbally agreed to the resolution at the Park Board meeting, and will memorialize their agreement to it in a letter being sent to the Park Board.
We now have in writing a commitment of funds from the PFD, a design that has received broad support (also funded over the summer by the PFD), and Parks and Recreation agreeing to be the lead agency to develop the access. We can now get to the fun part: creating the Spokane River Water Trail Division Street Bridge Access.
Over the past week, intensive hours were committed by both PFD and Parks and Recreation staff and Boards to take this critical step forward. We are very appreciative of their time, effort and support. The Forum would also like to thank Spokane City Council for amending the municipal code last spring to allow this site location to move forward; Avista for their support in developing the design; Spokane Riverkeeper for providing important policy and regulatory guidance; and the many individuals and user groups who are the lifeblood of helping make good things happen.
UPDATE: Sept. 12 at 8 p.m.: Tentative agreement reached on Spokane River boat access at Division Street.
RIVERS — Plans for the voter funded $55-$65 million expansion of the Spokane Convention Center are advancing to the construction stage, but Public Facilities District officials continue to suggest that maintaining viable public river access at Division Street Bridge for rafts, kayaks, paddle boards and outfitters is not their priority.
I wrote about this in April when the designs were being approved.
I wrote about it again today as the PFD readies to begin digging without giving a commitment to a viable boat access when the construction is complete.