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Sequim Bay State Park plan released





Recreational vehicle enthusiasts may have to bypass Sequim Bay State Park when looking for a spot to camp.

At least, that is what a draft plan for the popular park five miles east of Sequim indicates.

The plan excludes recreational vehicle camping but promotes Olympic Discovery Trail camping, small cabin camping, general redevelopment and natural resource protection.

In early 2008, Washington State Parks announced it would begin creating plans to guide future improvements to existing state parks, including Sequim Bay. At the same time, plans for new parks, such as one sited nearby on Miller Peninsula, were put on hold.

Then in early March, at the first of a series of public meetings, park planners presented two plan options, one emphasizing a park with natural resource protection and one with an emphasis on recreation.

"This preliminary recommendation is a combination of the two alternatives presented in the previous public meeting and some of the best management approaches we received," said Derek Gustafson, the planning project leader. "We want to enhance natural resource opportunities within the park and we are calling for redevelopment that is slightly less dense by removing facilities like RV camping in the upper loop in support of Olympic Discovery Trail activities."

Gustafson said he hadn't received much public comment about maintaining or enhancing recreational vehicles parking at the site, adding that there is a plan for recreational vehicles in the future.

"Recognizing that Miller Peninsula is in the back of our minds during this planning process is essential," Gustafson said. "Things like RV camping will not fit well within such a small park like Sequim Bay and would cost a lot of money, but as we move forward with Miller Peninsula, whenever that happens, RV camping will be a standard in the larger area there."

Another major change on the draft plan is a gift of about 10 acres of land from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The land had been donated by the Dawley family, but Fish and Wildlife was unable to use it.

"The inclusion of the Dawley property is the only factor in this plan not brought up in the last meeting," Gustafson said. "We weren't sure about the property until after the meeting happened and now that the opportunity is solid, we will plan around the possible acquisition."

The new site could include picnic areas and trails, as it borders where the Olympic Discovery Trail enters the park and the property has waterfront access.

"There is always the potential partnership with a nonprofit like Audubon, which would be a natural fit since the Dawleys were bird enthusiasts," Gustafson said. "But for now, we are just planning for the inclusion of the land and possible initial uses. We're not setting up a partnership to create a learning center or anything like that just yet."

Education is a large component of the draft plan. The park may set up a visitors center toward the entrance of the park, which would include new signage and road access. The plan calls for pamphlets or other signs teaching visitors about the natural landscape, native plants, animals and opportunities within the park.

"We hope to enhance both the natural resources of the park and the recreational opportunities," Gustafson said. "We will have higher quality recreation that is more spread out yet at the same time has less of an impact overall to the park's landscape."

Other than recreational vehicle camping, the park will maintain and enhance most recreation opportunities, such as the boat launch, moorage, trail and camping enhancements.



For more information on the Sequim Bay State Park planning process, to get a copy of the draft plan or to find an opportunity to comment on the plan, visit www.parks.wa.gov/plans/sequimbay or call 360-755-5262.



Washington State Parks representatives are meeting with citizens at 6:30 p.m. today, April 30, to review a Sequim Bay State Park draft plan. The meeting is at the Ramblewood Environmental Learning Center inside the park, which is about five miles east of Sequim.



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