Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Miller Peninsula State Park planning update presented Thursday

State Parks commission to hear plan on Thursday

PORT TOWNSEND — State parks staff is tentatively eyeing a 2025-27 capital budget request to the state Legislature for Miller Peninsula State Park planning.

The State Parks and Recreation Commission will hear an update on plans for the park east of Sequim at 4:30 p.m. Thursday as the last agenda item during a day-long meeting at the Fort Worden Commons conference space at 200 Battery Way in Port Townsend. Action is not expected.

Action is expected on the first item on the agenda: final consideration of an amendment to the lease with the Fort Worden Public Development Authority.

Commissioners also will conduct a work session with staff from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today in the same place. Those who attend meetings in person will be required to comply with COVID-19 state law.

To join the meeting online, register at www.tinyurl.com/PDN-State-Parks. The event password is [email protected] To attend by telephone, call 206-207-1700 and enter access code 2466 589 4530.

The meeting also will stream on TVW at www.tinyurl.com/PDN-StreamStateParkMeeting

The full agendas and meeting links are posted at www.parks.wa.gov/154/Commission-meetings-agendas.

Information on Miller Peninsula State Park planning is at www.parks.wa.gov/1187/Miller-Peninsula-Planning.

At more than 2,800 acres, the proposed park is one of the larger land holdings in the state parks system. The property includes a trail system built and maintained by local hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians through second-growth forest. It also includes 3 miles of saltwater shoreline on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Discovery Bay, all with high bluffs offering only limited beach access.

In 2005, the state parks system began a six-year project to establish one of Washington’s next destination state parks, but it shelved those plans with a lack of secure funding. Planning now is operating on a new timeline.

Staff is working to finalize an environmental implications document and use it to inform development of a preliminary recommendation that will be shared with the public, according to the agenda memo.

Online public workshops were conducted on Oct. 6, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

The staff plans to base its preliminary recommendation on the centralized development in the Village Center alternative, one of three approaches to achieving the “nature within reach” vision for the park.

The Village Center alternative would have a lodge facility to centralize park development and minimize the facility’s footprint.

Other alternatives are Immersed in Nature, which would disperse park facilities into smaller and more widely separated developments so that park visitors would feel as if they were close to nature wherever they were in the park, and Traditional, with large camp loops and day-use areas with some separation between them.

Public input on the preliminary recommendation will be used to develop a staff recommendation that will go through SEPA review and be brought to the commission for consideration at a later meeting, the agenda memo said.

The commission also will be asked to consider formally naming the park at that meeting. Naming the park was put off until development was imminent in 2007.

Among names suggested for the park are Salish Sea State Park, Trails State Park, Rain Shadow State Park, Discover State Park, Forest Discovery State Park and Dr. Eloise Kailin State Park.

Kailin was a physician and an environmental activist from Sequim who led the opposition to a nuclear power plant on the Miller Peninsula in the early 1970s. Kailin died June 1, 2019, at the age of 100.

In addition to Miller Peninsula State Park Property, changes to neighboring Sequim Bay State Park also are under consideration. Sequim Bay opened as a state park in 1923 and was developed in phases. The last major effort was in the mid-1950s. The boat launch was redeveloped in 2019.

The alternative currently under consideration includes relocating the park’s moorage facilities and reducing the number of campsites to provide more day-use parking and recreational facilities.

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