December 11, 2012

By Staff

Our state park needs passionate ‘friends’

Lake Sammamish State Park needs a group of passionate people to come together as Friends of Our State Park. Both leaders and roll-up-your-sleeves volunteers are wanted.

The state park has had a plan in place for five years. That plan would add an esplanade between the picnic and beach areas for walkers to access a new bathhouse, a boathouse for kayaks and rowing shells, a lakefront café, improved group sites, environmental educational components throughout, an RV and tent park, a lodge to host youth or adult groups for overnights or meetings, and much cleaner beach and grassy areas.

A citizen group met for three years to come up with the plan, and design work was completed for the esplanade and bathhouse. It was to have been done by 2013, in time for the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks.

Funds dried up and plans came to a screeching halt. Since then, the park has deteriorated further and attendance at this local treasure is low.

Thanks to the Issaquah City Council, the rally to make progress at the park is again under way. It may be a state park, but it will take Sammamish and Issaquah leaders to embrace it.

It’s time to rise to the occasion and create a friends group, primarily to help increase attendance.

Events and festivals are needed — like music festivals, maybe July 4 fireworks, day camp youth programs, sporting events. Events like last year’s paddle board competition at the park need to be promoted so the public knows something special is going on.

People bring admission fees, and those fees bring better maintenance and more interest in long-term development of the plan.

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery was founded in 1994 and literally saved the hatchery from becoming mothballed. The group lobbied the Legislature, changed the mission to include education, and found corporate donors for exhibits. It is a success model that should be duplicated for Lake Sammamish State Park.

Friends of Our State Park has no one to call to join, but email your name and phone number to office@isspress.com and we’ll let you know what transpires.

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2 Responses to “Editorial”

  1. Mark on December 12th, 2012 3:32 am

    With friends like you who needs enemies…an RV and tent park, a bathhouse and a “lakefront café” are going to somehow equal a “much cleaner beach and grassy area?”…yeah…OK….Hey, I have a great “environmental educational component” for you…get a pencil and write this down…Who the hell said we want the area around the lake more developed??…speak for yourself…I have an idea…how about we DON’T develop every singe square foot of land in Issaquah!!…yeah…let’s try that…that is a much, much better plan…a place we can’t get away from all the great “planning” that has taken place in Issaquah…it’s just so much better than it was with the gridlock traffic and all the beautiful woods that have been bull dozed.

  2. Erik on December 13th, 2012 2:19 pm

    I agree with Mark’s comments about not developing every open space in Issaquah for drive-up convenience and recreation. We need natural open spaces for people and wildlife being pushed out of their habitat from every direction. The outdoors and nature are central to Issaquah’s attraction, ‘brand’ and Trailhead City moniker.

    Mark – the best way to make sure our viewpoint is heard is by being a Friend of Lake Sammamish State Park. I’ve submitted my info to stay informed on this and encourage you (and others) to do the same.

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