OUTDOORS: Commission to consider Miller Peninsula site of next full-service state park

STATE PARKS COMMISSION members will tackle whether to make Miller Peninsula the site of the state’s next full-service state park at a Thursday, Nov. 21, meeting.

The Miller Peninsula property is located off Diamond Point Road, east of Sequim.

It is one of three properties under consideration to become a full-fledged state park, along with the Fisk Property on the Spokane river northwest of Spokane and Westport Light State Park in Westport.

The meeting is at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Wenatchee Convention Center, 121 N. Wenatchee Ave. in Wenatchee.

The new park selection discussion is scheduled for approximately 12:55 p.m.

The Miller Peninsula property is the top choice of park staffers, according to the meeting agenda.

Westport Light is moving in the direction of becoming a Scottish-links style golf course. Developers met with state park staff to describe their goals and a public meeting was held in Westport to gauge public opinions.

Parks staffers believe “planning for Westport Light is best advanced through the anticipated golf course-initiated master planning process and further consideration as part of the new park development process is no longer necessary.

The Fisk Property is part of “a key migration pathway for elk and white-tail deer” and the public has expressed concerns about overdevelopment of the property. Parks staffers are urging caution with development of this property, particularly in adding the “broad range of facilities typically associated with a full-service state park.”

Miller the pick

Parks staffers said that nearby heavily used state parks such as Fort Worden, Fort Flagler and Sequim Bay, all of which provide ample overnight and day-use recreation opportunities show more state park opportunity is needed, particularly along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

At more than 2,800 acres, the Miller Peninsula property is one of the park system’s largest land holdings.

A 2006 opportunities and constraints analysis for the property found that there were relatively few environmentally sensitive areas in the property, and that there were several previously disturbed sites suitable for more intensive park development.

In 2007, the Commission adopted a mission, vision, core values and development considerations for the Miller Peninsula property. State Parks said this effort included the work of a park exploratory committee and incorporated extensive public participation.

A “nature within reach” concept proposed developing a central village of overnight accommodations and amenities within a network of trails, interpretive opportunities and access to the water.

The department said this planning needs refreshing, but would provide a starting point in resuming park development.

If the Commission selects Miller Peninsula as the next full-service state park, staff will develop an updated vision and principles to guide park planning, design and operation. Then park master planning and a predesign report would occur.

“The amount of space at Miller Peninsula that is suitable for development provides an unmatched opportunity to explore a full suite of potential state park facilities and amenities, making it the ideal site in which to craft the state park of tomorrow,” Park staffers said.

Written comment on state Park’s plans can be sent to commission@parks.wa.gov by 5 p.m. Friday.

Swans and geese

The Dungeness River Audubon Center’s Focus on Series returns for its third season Saturday with a focus on Swans and Geese.

The series dives into the lives of animals and plants to explore the special adaptations that make them suitable and able to thrive on Earth.

Distributions, roles in ecosystems, behaviors and more will be discussed.

The lectures are held at the center, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road, from 10 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday from November through March.

The cost is $5 for members or $10 for nonmembers.

Other topics include Coyotes on Dec. 21; Alcids on Jan. 18; Wildflowers on Feb. 15 and a People’s Choice on March 21.

For more information, call 360-681-4076 or email rceducation@olympus.net.

Sick, injured swans

The annual migration of trumpeter and tundra swans to our area is underway and a hotline to report dead, sick or injured swans has been set up.

The public can call 360-466-4345, ext. 266, to report dead, sick or injured swans.

Callers should be prepared to leave a short detailed message including their name, phone number, location and condition of the swans. The hotline is available through the end of March.

Some trumpeter and tundra swans die each winter from lead poisoning after ingesting lead shot and other lead objects in areas where they feed.

Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting in Washington since 1991.

Swans can still pick up and ingest lead shot while foraging in shallow underwater areas, in fields, and roosts where lead shot is still present. Swans also are vulnerable to collisions with powerlines

“If you observe dead, sick, or injured swans, do not handle or collect the birds,” said Daniel Zimmerman, Fish and Wildlife biologist. “Call the hotline instead.”

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