By Jeff Chew
Peninsula Daily News
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Road access via Sequim-Dungeness Way and 3 Crabs Road would remain, and public access to the shoreline would improve, said the state Department of Fish and Wildlife official overseeing the land acquisition and habitat restoration project.
The state Fish and Wildlife Commission last week approved the $1 million purchase of the nearly 52 acres of land and tideland property along Dungeness Bay's shores overlooking New Dungeness Lighthouse.
To close in October
Kyle Guzlas, wildlife area manager for Puget Sound and the North Olympic wildlife area, said the nearly 52-acre land acquisition is expected to close sometime in October.
“The infrastructure on the site is going to be removed, including the septic system,” Guzlas said.
“The purpose of the purchase is to restore the shoreline.”
The purchase includes other outbuildings on the restaurant property, he said.
The agency has approached a property owner next door on 3 Crabs Road who is considering selling three residential parcels, but Guzlas said “that's down the line” for lack of state acquisition funding.
The property for which the state secured the option to buy consists of 49.42 acres of tidelands, including the remnants of the nearly mile-long dock that was the shipping and transportation center for Dungeness dairies into the early 1900s.
The more-than-50-year-old restaurant and its parking lot now front the shoreline.
Guzlas and Fish and Wildlife are working with Norma Marshall, who has owned the restaurant and tideland and marshland property since 1983, to complete the property sale.
“Once we acquire the property, then we will have a number of stakeholder meetings to decide what to do with the land,” Guzlas said, adding that grants would help the state clear and restore the property.
He said Fish and Wildlife would work with Marshall to include interpretive materials about the site's history at a future public parking lot to be located somewhere on the site.
The restaurant has been there since 1958.
Marshall, restaurant owner and a presence there since she became “crab No. 3” in 1972, confirmed Tuesday that Fish and Wildlife was attempting to acquire the property, but she declined to discuss the restaurant's future.
She purchased the restaurant from the estate of her late husband, Ernest, in 1983.
Guzlas said it was his understanding that Marshall wanted the restaurant to remain in business throughout the summer months.
“There is a lot of restoration potential with Meadowbrook Creek,” which feeds into Dungeness River, Guzlas said.
A “really old creosote wood bridge” spans the creek at Sequim-Dungeness Way and possibly could be replaced, he gave as an example.
The state will work in partnership with the Clallam County and Jamestown S'Klallam tribe's natural resources programs plus the North Olympic Land Trust in an advisory capacity, he said.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2390 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.