No launching —

No launching

Cara Lorello, Cheney Free Press, Aug 7, 2008

Silver Lake's public boat launch was temporarily closed on July 28 for renovations to improve and add new features to the existing facility, with plans to reopen access on Saturday, Aug. 23, according to a recent press release from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The boat launch, east of Freeman Drive, is a regional access site maintained by the WDFW, which is the lead agency on the renovation effort. Signs announcing the closure are posted at the site.

A new concrete boat launch and fishing pier is being constructed at the site and public use cannot be safely accommodated while work is under way,� Eastern Washington lands supervisor Brian Trickel said in a recent press release.

In order to accommodate heavy use, the site has two concrete plank boat ramps and two concrete vault toilets, but no access for shore anglers. According to a project profile posted on the Washington State Wildlife and Recreation Coalition website, the new dock shall provide key access to anglers that do not have boats, a group that currently fishes from the shoreline next to and on top of the existing boat ramps.

Costs for the renovations are being provided through a $191,858 grant from the Washington State Wildlife and Recreation Coalition that got funded in 2007.

Medical Lake Mayor John Higgins said the renovation project began after surveys by the department determined the site's restrooms needed to be upgraded for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility. The city-owned portion of the site extends only to the access point's entryway marking the edge of the city limits, but it's the state that has jurisdiction over the maintenance there, Higgins added in explaining that city officials weren't aware about construction until last week when officials posted notice on its website the area will be closed until late August.

"We've gotten calls from people about it, but this isn't our project. We own part of it, but the actual launch is state-owned," Higgins said.

Any trespassing to the area while closure signs remain posted, WDVA public information officer for the Eastern Region Madonna Luers said, could result in a citation.

"For public safety reasons we don't want people in there. The whole reason we're doing this [renovation] is because the facilities have gotten to the point they're dangerous to use,"� Luers said.

Meanwhile, numerous other lakes remain open to public access, including North Silver, Medical, West Medical, Clear and Fish lakes.

The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program is a state grant program that creates and conserves local and state parks, wildlife habitat and working farms. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office administers WWRP grants, and the legislature funds the program.

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