State Parks closing 35 mooring buoys

OLYMPIA — The state Parks and Recreation Commission is closing 35 public recreational mooring buoys across western Washington — including buoys in Sequim Bay, Fort Worden, Fort Flagler and Fort Townsend — that are at risk of breaking in the future, state officials said.

State officials are closing these buoys, which the agency plans to replace with modern helical screw-type anchors, parks officials announced on Wednesday.

Though individual buoys will close, the impacted parks still will have other mooring buoys available for use.

Other buoy closures include Mystery Bay, Blake Island, Clark Island, Cutts Island, Illahee, Jones Island, Kopachuck, Potlach, Stuart Island (Provost Harbor and Reid Harbor), Sucia Island-Fox Cove and Twanoh.

The state parks system maintains 259 mooring buoys at 40 parks across Puget Sound, Hood Canal, the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and San Juan Islands. Of these parks, 16 will be affected by partial buoy closures.

Planners anticipate installing the new anchor systems in winter 2024-2025, pending permitting and funding. The 35 buoys will be closed until further notice.

When finished, the upgraded systems will allow boats to safely tie up, and they will limit impacts on eelgrass, fish, marine mammals and other fragile shallow marine environments, officials said.

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