On July 12, 2018 the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to adopt the staff recommended long-term boundary and land classifications for Riverside State Park. Please see the Commission Agenda Item and maps for your reference.
In the past year, staff facilitated a public planning process for Riverside State Park as part of the Agency’s Classification and Management Plan (CAMP). The purpose of this CAMP was to build on the direction already established for Riverside in the 1998 CAMP and therefore the latest CAMP will augment rather than replace the original Riverside Plan.
State Parks prepares CAMP plans through multi-staged, public participation-based planning processes that culminate with Commission consideration and adoption of land classifications and long-term park boundaries. CAMP plans also include park management plans adopted by the Director to allow periodic updates as conditions change.
For each planning project, the agency forms a planning team. The team includes park planners, resource stewards, and park staff. As necessary, the planning team also calls upon the expertise of resource and facility specialists from within and outside the agency.
Over the course of the planning process nine public meetings were held. Public meetings follow the standard sequence for all CAMP efforts and included:
Public meeting attendance varied from 35 to 60 people throughout the stages. Staff also met separately with park stakeholders and neighbors to hear their concerns and provide additional information about park planning, development, and management. Staff provided a report to the Commission at its May 2018 meeting outlining the planning process, key issues, and preliminary staff recommendations.
The CAMP produces three main products: land classification, long-term boundary, and park management plan. The combination of these deliverables constitutes a land use plan. The Commission is specifically considering land classification and long-term boundary issues. The Director has authority to approve the management plan.
A central part of CAMP involves zoning or classification of park lands. State Parks has developed a system of six land classifications (Appendix 6). When assigned to a specific area within a park, each classification sets an appropriate intensity for recreational activity and development of facilities. Classifications align along a spectrum, ranging from high to low-intensity land uses. For example, Recreation Areas allow for the most intensive uses on one end of the spectrum, while Natural Area Preserves allow for the least intensive uses on the other. By classifying park lands, the agency is able to consciously strike a balance between protecting park resources and providing an appropriate variety of recreational opportunities for park visitors. Activities indicated as “conditional” under the agency’s land classification system are activities which may be permitted at specific sites only with the concurrence of the Commission. Staff recommendations are included in Appendix 4.
The purpose of delineating a long-term boundary is to take a big picture look at what lands, independent of ownership, advance the conservation and recreation mission of Riverside. It also considers whether agency-owned property should be retained or considered as surplus to park needs. Including a property in a park’s long-term boundary does not in itself authorize fee acquisition, less than fee acquisition (e.g., conservation easement), accepting donation, or entering into a formal management agreement. Designating a property within a long-term boundary is for planning purposes only and simply authorizes staff to begin consultation with property owners. Any resulting real estate activities require separate approval by the Commission or as delegated to the Director. Typically, the agency seeks to accomplish the purpose of including a property in a long-term boundary in the least burdensome and most advantageous manner. Often this is best achieved through highly selective agreements to satisfy particular recreation or conservation goals (e.g., provide trail opportunities, retain view shed, or maintain un-fragmented ecosystems).
The management plan describes the principal features of a park, set park-wide management objectives, and outlines specific approaches and prescriptions in response to issues identified through the planning process. These plans also help document the planning process and serve as an informational resource. Park management plans are adopted at the Director level to allow periodic revisions as circumstances change. A draft management plan will be presented to the Director at a later date and is not yet completed.
The following represent key management issues that were addressed during the planning process in collaboration with park stakeholders, staff, and public: