Open house & naming for new recreation area on the Columbia

by Suzanne Hartman | Feb 06, 2017
 The unique public-private partnership between the Chelan Douglas Land Trust, a Douglas County couple and Chelan County Public Utility District became official Nov. 21, 2016, when the Land Trust and the PUD inked a deal with Washington State Dept. of Transportation on a joint-purchase agreement for 26 acres located in Douglas County just south of the Odabashian Bridge between the Apple Capital Loop Trail and the Columbia River. The property will be managed for passive recreation and environmental education through a conservation easement.

The public will have an opportunity to view proposed recreation plans for the area at two upcoming Open Houses.

Wednesday, Feb. 15
6 – 7:30 p.m.
Chelan PUD Auditorium
327 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Thursday, Feb. 16

6 – 7:30 p.m.
Douglas County Public Service Building
140 19th St. N.W. - #A
East Wenatchee

The public also is being asked to help pick a name for the new recreation/conservation area among five possible names. The name will be announced Feb. 28.

The property was owned by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), which acquired the property years ago for a then-proposed highway, but was declared surplus to state needs. The land is in the PUD’s Rock Island Hydro Project boundary, so federal regulators also must approve the conservation easement and proposed recreation use design for the area. The application seeking Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval is planned to be filed late this spring.

Key financial support for the Land Trust’s involvement came from retired Chelan PUD employee Cliff Bates and his wife, Mary. The Bates live near Quincy. He served for 25 years as a system operator and chief operator at Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams and retired from the PUD in 2002. The couple was among the original supporters of the proposal to keep the riverfront open for recreation rather than building a highway. Now the property will be publicly held as a recreation/conservation area in perpetuity.

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