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Recreational outlets persist east of Sequim

The property owned by Washington State Parks at Miller Peninsula is 2,800 acres of undeveloped land and provides space for a future state park.  - Graphic from the Washington State Park website
The property owned by Washington State Parks at Miller Peninsula is 2,800 acres of undeveloped land and provides space for a future state park.
— image credit: Graphic from the Washington State Park website

 

Though about nine years have passed since the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission ran out of funding for a $12 million project to develop a new state park at Miller Peninsula as a “Centennial Plan capital development goal,” the project is perhaps a viable possibility after all.

The 2,800 acres of land owned by Washington State Parks has yet to be utilized or named, and the property isn’t considered a state park yet. Still, the property has become a well-known area to locals as a good place to ride horses, bikes or day hike.

Plans for Miller Peninsula

With a recent $228,600 grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, state park officials are turning their attention back to their unfinished project.

The county recently approved a zoning conditional use permit “to construct a trailhead with associated parking facilities and limited amenities,” according to the public hearing examiner’s summary.

Although before the access project can break ground, an interim trail plan for the potential park must be adopted because the design of the access project depends on the trail plan adoption, Jessica Logan said, environmental specialist for Washington State Parks Southwest Region.

The access project is designed to accommodate equestrian and bicycle use, but if the interim trail plan is not adopted because of the mentioned uses, the access project will need to be redesigned, Logan said.

The Washington State Environmental Policy Act review will be complete by the end of this month, Logan said.

Following the review, park officials anticipate hosting public meetings and facilitating community outreach in order to adjust the interim trail plan before it goes to Washington State Parks Director Don Hoch for final approval.

“At this point we don’t foresee any reason why the plan won’t be accepted,” Logan said.

Once accepted, the area used now to access the state land, which is only a couple shallow pull-offs off of Diamond Point Road, will be converted into 15 car/truck stalls with a vault toilet, gravel trailhead, informational signage and horse loading and hitching area.

Interim trail plan

“We’re adopting most of the existing trails with some modification,” Logan said.

Because the existing trails primarily have been built by local user groups or individuals some of the trails lead to private property, which the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission does not promote and therefore won’t adopt, Logan said. Overall the existing trail system is not expected to change much, but users can assume to see signage and some of the trails converted into one-way routes.

As an undeveloped piece of property and not yet an official state park, there is no onsite ranger to monitor the area or “iron ranger,” unstaffed pay stations, Logan said. With such additions, the property also can begin to generate revenue.

The interim trail plan is exactly what the name implies because a master trail and park plan eventually are expected, Logan said.

Disc golf … still in the making

Just east of Sequim Bay is another plot of land, though not quite as large as the proposed state park, with 20 acres off Thompson Road envisioned to be a disc golf course. Clallam County Parks board officials originally planned to have the 18-hole disc golf course functional by late summer or early fall, but because of unforeseen “department emergencies” park officials weren’t able to coordinate with volunteers to get the preliminary site work complete as they had hoped, said Joel Winborn, director of Clallam County’s Parks, Fair and Facilities Department.

But not all movement toward the creation of the disc golf course has come to a halt.

“We are currently working on the final lay-out of the course,” Winborn said. “While that is in the works, we are also sending out bid requests to various suppliers for the equipment, like the disc pins, concrete for the tee-boxes, lumber for signage and tee-box forms, etc.”

In addition, Winborn and his staff anticipate working with volunteers and likely the county chain gang to eliminate scotch broom — an invasive plant species found within some areas of the future course. In preparation for the actual earth work to begin in fall, Winborn also will flag the trails.

“If all works as planned, we may very well be up and running well before next summer,” Winborn said.

 

 

Reach Alana Linderoth at alinderoth@sequimgazette.com

 

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