Planning for South Whidbey State Park, Possession Point and Useless Bay State Park Property

South Whidbey Picnic Area looking toward water

In May 2015, the campground and group camp at South Whidbey State Park were closed due to concerns posed by failing and diseased old-growth trees. To address this issue, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (State Parks) began a planning process in the fall of 2015 to determine the future of the park.

South Whidbey State Park, located near Freeland in Island County, is a 347 acre park with 4,500 feet of saltwater shoreline.  Whidbey Island is the largest island in Puget Sound and is located between the Olympic Peninsula and the mainland of Snohomish and Skagit counties. The island, which is accessed by a bridge at Deception Pass and via the state ferry system, is home to several parks, including Deception Pass State Park, Joseph Whidbey State Park, Fort Ebey State Park, and Fort Casey State Park.

The planning process also includes the 54 acre Possession Point State Park Property located on the southern tip of Whidbey Island and the 560 acres of tidelands located at Useless Bay State Park Property.  

The purpose of the planning process is to engage the public during a series of meetings held in the South Whidbey Island community. This process is called “Classification and Management Planning” or CAMP. Through the four planning stages described below, the CAMP process will review park land classifications, identify resource management issues and propose general approaches for addressing them based on careful analysis of resource inventories, technical information, and an issue-based public planning process. 

The classification of lands, when combined with issue-identification and management approaches, provides an effective means of using staff and public concerns to balance resource protection with recreational opportunities at the park. Materials from previous public meetings, submitted public comment, and other information related to the process can be found below.
 
 

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Randy Kline
Project Lead
Email
P.O. Box 42650
Olympia, WA 98504
Ph:  (360) 902-8632
Fx:  (360) 586-0207

Stage One – Identify issues and concerns

The purpose of this stage is to understand what is important to the park community, what to change or save in the state park. This helps get a sense of the range and type of issues that need to be considered through the planning process.

Stage Two – Exploring alternative approaches

At this stage, the planning team suggests potential alternative approaches to address the various issues and concerns raised by people in stage one. No preferred alternative is established; rather this is an opportunity to understand the range of possibilities.

Stage Three – Preparing preliminary recommendations

The best ideas from the alternative approaches developed in stage two are combined into a preliminary plan in this stage. The plan includes recommendations for use and development of land, changes to property boundaries and ways to address issues raised during the planning process. Another important document completed at this stage is the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist that describes environmental impacts of the recommendations.

Stage Four – Preparing final recommendations

At stage four, final adjustments are made to recommendations and submitted to the seven-member Parks and Recreation Commission for approval. The public is encouraged to attend the Commission meeting and provide testimony or to provide written comment.