WATERSPORTS -- The National Park Service is offering Lake Roosevelt Vacations, Inc., a one-year contract extension for operating the Kettle Falls Marina area. If accepted, the company will continue to operate the Park Service-owned marina complex on the Columbia River reservoir through April 30, 2018.
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area officials said today in a media release that they are offering to extend the contract after listening to concerns from the community, county commissioners and visitors following the February announcement that the marina would be closed.
“It's our hope Lake Roosevelt Vacations will accept this extension offer so reservation holders unaware of a potential closure can enjoy their planned vacation on the lake,” said Superintendent Dan Foster. “We are committed over the long term to ensuring Kettle Falls the launch ramp and campgrounds continue to be popular summer recreation destinations.”
The concessionaire will be asked to correct deficiencies the Park Service previously identified as posing risks to the environment and visitor safety.
The Park Service is working on a long-term strategy for visitor services at Kettle Falls. This includes maintaining the Park Service campground, boat ramp, parking, restrooms, hiking trails, and day use areas. To aid its effort, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area is awaiting the results of a visitor use survey conducted in 2016 that included, among other items, questions on what visitors wanted to do while at the lake, what they actually did, and what they were not able to do.
Survey results will be used in park planning, Foster said.
“We could have done a better job informing the community and stakeholders of the opportunities and challenges surrounding this contract,” said Foster. “Moving forward, we will better engage interested parties, beginning with a town hall meeting we will be holding on this issue this spring.”
Federal law requires the agency to only offer business opportunities that would provide an operator a reasonable opportunity to make a profit, he said.
"The three-month open solicitation last summer to attract bids on a new 10-year contract resulted in one offer," the Park Service said in a media release. "To minimize the financial outlay and make the contract financially viable for a potential operator, the contract prospectus scaled down required services, that included fuel sales, slip rentals, store and sewage pump out; and made current requirements that the concessionaire offer houseboat rentals optional to attract more offers."