:: Speak Up for The Hatchery and Doug’s

Washington State is addressing their statewide budget cuts, and needs to hear from you regarding the importance of preserving staffing at Washington State Parks.  The Hatchery and Doug’s Beach are both Washington State Parks; if staff reductions were to happen, we can all look forward to a locked bathroom at the Hatchery, no portapotties at Doug’s, no garbage removal, and nobody around to help with issues like dogs and parking.  CGWA first became involved with this issue in July; read about our involvement.

Please add your voice.  Let them know the value of these State Parks.  Scroll down to read what CGWA sent.

Here is contact information for the people to write:

Don Hoch, Agency Director

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission

PO Box 42650

Olympia, WA. 98504-2650

don.hoch@parks.wa.gov

Jim Harris, Eastern Region Director

270 9th St. N.E., Suite 200

Wenatchee, WA 98802

jim.harris@parks.wa.gov

Thank you for taking a moment to speak up for these valuable State Parks!  Here is the letter CGWA sent:

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
P.O. Box 42650
Olympia, WA 98504-2650

March 23, 2011

Dear Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission,

On behalf of Gorge windsurfers, we at the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association (CGWA) urge you to maintain current levels of ranger staffing at Spring Creek Hatchery State Park and Doug’s Beach.

The Gorge is in the top 5 worldwide destinations for windsurfing.  It is home to international windsurfing manufacturers, annual windsurfing events, a thriving youth community, and several small businesses built on windsurfing.  The Gorge is a tourist destination for professional and recreational windsurfers from as close as the Pacific Northwest, and as far away as Europe and Brazil.  A closure or reduction in State Park services would not go unnoticed; the world would know, and the impact on the people and regional businesses would be severe.

In a recent poll of 709 Gorge windsurfers, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery ranked highest for consistent usage out of all Gorge beaches.  It sees 255,000 visitors/year, and Doug’s Beach is also quite popular reaching 30,000 visitors/year.

The business impact is critical to the Gorge economics.  As timber revenues continue to decline, the towns along the Columbia River rely heavily on the impact of tourism dollars.  In 2009 the Port of Hood River hired a firm to do a survey on the economic impact of wind sports on the Hood River area, and found 49,000 visits to the Hood River Port’s waterfront properties in 2008, resulting in direct and indirect sales of $3.1 million.

That’s just the Hood River impact; the impact of windsurfing on the Gorge is profound, and any kind of reduction in services will have a severely negative impact on both the users of these parks, as well as the businesses of the Gorge.

The dynamic conditions along the river are very dangerous and there are unfortunate drownings each year.  The ranger response to life threatening injuries has saved many lives over the years of these beaches.  Additionally, ongoing services of restroom maintenance, garbage removal and conflict mitigation were essential in getting these beaches on the windsurfing map, and crucial to maintain their standing and usage.

CGWA recognizes and appreciates all the good work that Washington State Parks does; we are proud to have partnered with them over the years in maintaining these beach access sites.

The people and the businesses of the Gorge value the services provided at the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery and Doug’s Beach, and cannot afford a staff reduction of any kind.  Please feel free to follow up if you have any questions.  Thank you for your consideration on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Katie Crafts

Executive Director