Waterfront trail is first in line for state funding
The Port of Camas Washougal’s waterfront trail and park is ranked number one in the state, among 15 projects that are pursuing funding through the Washington Wildlife Recreation Program’s water access grant.
Funding of approximately $700,000 will allow the creation of a one-mile trail and water access for non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.
The trail and water access area will include part of the former Hambleton Lumber Company site, at 335 S. “A” St., Washougal.
The WWRP’s budget will be up for state legislature approval next year. The State Recreation and Conservation Office administers the recreation program’s grants.
The port project will also receive $500,000 from the state Aquatics Land Enhancement Account. The estimated total project cost is $2.4 million. One-half of that will be paid for with the port’s property tax levy revenue.
Port Finance Director Kim Noah said the project provides a prime opportunity for Washougal to re-imagine its waterfront as a multi-use public gathering space, combining outdoor recreation with businesses.
A mixed-use development, with the potential for condominiums and townhouses, is expected to be among the components of the Parker’s Landing LLC project. The LLC is represented by Lance Killian, of Killian Pacific, a commercial real-estate development and investment company.
The port intends to develop a trail from the existing marina area, extending to the east along the shoreline of the former Hambleton property. The trail — from the waterfront site through the port’s Sixth Street property and tying into South “A” Street — will be .83 miles. It will include a 12-foot wide concrete path, plaza, lawn areas and a trail head, as well as a parking area for approximately 35 vehicles.
The port is looking to expand the waterfront trail, eventually connecting west into Vancouver and east into the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The idea of the connection into the Gorge came as the result of discussions with the conservation organization Friends of the Columbia Gorge.
The Friends’ “Gorge Towns to Trails” project would include a trail connecting Washougal and Stevenson.
Renee Tkach, Gorge Towns to Trails project manager, said the Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the port realized they were stronger working together to build something more than a regional attraction, but rather an international draw that would attract people who could benefit people who could benefit the area’s economy.
Tkach and Noah were among the speakers at the Wildlife and Recreation Coalition’s 25th anniversary breakfast, held Sept. 23, in Seattle.
More than 700 people attended, including Gov. Jay Inslee.
“Kim and I are different in some ways, but we both moved to Washougal over 10 years ago because of its natural beauty, and over the years fell in love with the community,” Tkach said.
Noah said the port’s partnership with the Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition and The National Park Service was created because of the waterfront trail and park project.
“Without their help, I truly believe we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Noah said, during the breakfast. “They have educated us on so many aspects of outdoor recreation, on the state and federal funding sources available for projects like this one and the application process.”
She traveled to Washington, D.C., in April, to represent local government agencies and talk about how they rely on federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant monies for their recreational projects. Noah mentioned the port’s waterfront park and trail project as an example.
During the two-day trip, which was paid for by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, Noah visited with U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), as well as Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Camas) and five House members from other legislative districts within Washington.