Ferry, park-wide shuttle in plans for Deception Pass

Constance Mears
American staff writer

Anacortes American, March 14, 2001

When Kevin Costner used Bowman Bay for the happily-ever-after scene in "The Postman," he couldn't resist adding a few "improvements" to the park using computer technology. The State of Washington follows suit with a few improvements of its own to Deception Pass State Park, including a ferry at Bowman Bay, increased concessions, cabins at Pass Lake and a potential connection to a Cross Island Trail.

The Working Concept Plan for changes to Deception Pass State Park has been finalized and will be presented to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 22, at the West Coast Hotel, Evergreen Park Drive SW, in Olympia.

Park planners will ask the Commission to approve the concept plan so that detailed schematic-level design can begin.

Park planner Peter Herzog will submit the following parkwide recommendations:

Transportation

Improvements of signage; redesign of roadways, intersections and speed reductions; separation of vehicles from pedestrians along roadways; establishment of a land and water shuttle system (ferry).

Visitor Information, orientation

Expansion of off-site information such as web site, brochures, etc.; highway signage and low-powered radio to direct visitors; and pull-out style rest areas with kiosks along State Route 20 with maps and brochures.

Resource Protection and Use

Identify use capacity. According to the planning documents, vehicle parking currently serves as a limiting factor to overall visitor use of the park. Should it be determined through future development of a park carrying capacity that additional use of park areas could be embraced without detrimental effects to visitor experience or park resources, additional off-site parking and linkages to the park's shuttle system could be explored.

Park Administration

Relocate park administration and maintenance facilities to the current site of Sunrise Resort. Removal of existing duplex serving as two residences at Bowman Bay and replacement with single residence; construction of a new residence at South Hoypus Hill; Upon park acquisition of the Hall life estate at Ginnet Hill, removal of existing residence and replacement with new residence outside of the Naked Man Valley viewshed.

Park Enterprise and visitor services

To enhance visitor service and generate additional park revenue, staff is recommending a wide variety of concessions throughout the park. Concessions range from traditional food and beverage stands to recreational equipment rental, guided kayak tours, and a marine passenger shuttle (ferry).

To enhance overnight opportunities, staff is recommending that clusters of cabins be built at North Pass Lake and near the North Beach Picnic Area.

Planners have recommendations for specific areas such as Pass Lake and Bowman Bay.

Pass Lake

Installation of approximately five cabins and parking at the forest fringe on the north side of Pass Lake; small boat dock at north end; interpretive overlook into Naked Man Valley; new connecting trail to south Pass Lake area; potential future trail connection to the Cross Island Trail through Naked Man Valley; improved access to and from SR 20; staff residence at north end of Pass Lake and new residence at end of Ginnet Road.

For the south end of the lake, staff is recommending improvements to parking and boat launch site; new visitor orientation kiosk and transit shuttle stop; new trailhead and parking for a new trail along west side of lake.

Bowman Bay

Staff recommends reconfiguring the pier to serve as a ferry terminal; kiosk and transit shuttle stop; kayak rentals and concessions; new restroom and shower facility; children's playground, improving boat launch; and preserving Civilian Conservation Corp-built structures.

The public is invited to comment, either at the Olympia meeting or mailed to Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, Wash. 98504-2650.

Comments in reference to environmental matters must be made by March 21 or they will not be considered. According to the Working Concept Plan document, an Environmental Impact Statement is not required under RCW 43.21C.030(2)(c).

It does state that further environmental review under SEPA will be conducted during the Schematic Design Phase of the planning process.