By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The short loop off Camp Hayden Road just south of Salt Creek Recreation Area has become an attractive place for illegal dumping, off-road vehicle use and timber theft, county Engineer Ross Tyler told commissioners Monday.
The Salt Creek park manager is called to the area “not infrequently” to deal with complaints of four-wheelers jumping berms and people using illegal fireworks, county Parks, Fair and Facilities Manager Joel Winborn added.
All three commissioners said they support the recommendation.
Commissioners will take action by resolution later this summer, Tyler said.
Camp Hayden Park Loop served an Army barracks, command center, pistol range and movie theater in the World War II era.
No structures remain on the county-owned property between Salt Creek and Camp Hayden Road.
“It’s kind of a maintenance headache for us because it really serves no transportation purpose per se,” Tyler said of the sixth-tenths-of-a-mile loop.
“It’s a nice place to go, but it’s also been a nice place for people to illicitly dump, and if they need some alder or something like that, they tip over the trees.”
Camp Hayden Park Loop would likely be gated on both ends with a small parking area installed on the north side near Salt Creek Recreation Area, a popular county park west of Port Angeles.
State Department of Fish and Wildlife officials occasionally use the road to take water samples of Salt Creek.
“We could have it gated so we’d have authorized vehicle access only, but it would be open to the public to walk to,” Tyler said.
“It would hopefully eliminate the illicit dumping and some of the other activities that go on down there.”
The cost of restricting vehicle access would be offset by “significantly reduced maintenance,” Tyler wrote in an executive summary.
“I don’t have any conceptual problem with this at all,” Commissioner Jim McEntire said.
A public hearing will not be required to close Camp Hayden Park Loop to vehicles because the county is not vacating the road.
“Put it on the agenda,” Board Chairman Mike Chapman told Tyler.
“People can still come and comment.”
Commissioner Mike Doherty suggested a sign near the north gate that would explain salmon recovery efforts in the Salt Creek drainage.
“The Lower Elwha [Klallam tribe] has done a lot of projects on that creek,” Doherty said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at email@example.com.