Fort Worden Public Development Authority pursues ‘glamping’ sites

PORT TOWNSEND — Fort Worden Public Development Authority officials plan to build “glamping” sites as new attractions to draw visitors.

Fort Worden would be one of the first places on the North Olympic Peninsula to offer “glamping,” sites, which public development authority (PDA) officials describe as “all the charm of sleeping under the stars, with the creature comforts and ease found in traditional lodging accommodations.”

Glamping has been gaining popularity in the past five years, and according to the feasibility study done by the PDA, Washington is the second most-searched destination for glamping sites on Google.

Glamping has also grown in popularity among millennials.

The phenomenon has been reported by a variety of Northwest media, such as Sunset and Seattle magazines.

Planning and design are expected to begin this fall, and the PDA hopes to have the sites operational by May 2018.

The glamping sites at Fort Worden would be built on the hill behind Building 298, providing a view of the water but also offering plenty of trees for privacy.

The trees would separate the sites from the main Fort Worden campus so they don’t impact the “historic look” of the main campus, according to the PDA’s feasibility study.

The current plan calls for 20 canvas tents, which would be fully furnished and decorated. Each tent also would have an outdoor seating area and firepit.

The area would have one central bathroom with an attached kitchen.

The sites would be open from April 15 to Oct. 15, depending on weather.

The sites would be “winterized” but not fully taken down during the offseason.

The whole project is estimated to cost $1.1 million, about $55,500 per unit. However, the PDA’s feasibility study said the PDA expects a fast scale-up period and for the glamping sites to net $660,000 in the first five years of operation.

A grant of $75,000 will go toward research and planning on the glamping site project.

The PDA identified some risks, including potential security issues, wildlife issues, weather resistance and infrastructure needs.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].

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