The estuarine lagoon and freshwater wetlands of Kah Tai are the remains of an extensive estuary to Port Townsend Bay. What survives today, though diminished, is a remarkably tranquil oasis, not wilderness but still wild. The original intent of its creation should be respected, so that this gem in the heart of our community is preserved in perpetuity.
The National Park Service has posted an attractive 12-page brochure that describes Land and Water Conservation Fund (so-called 6(f)(3)) protections in accessible language that anyone can appreciate. It provides useful examples of what is required for a conversion of protected park land. If you would like to become better informed about what federal protections exist for Kah Tai, this is a good place to start. Note that the links at the lower right of this page include the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office and the National Park Service LWCF sites, which have all the documentation you could ever need. The brochure can be found at the National Park Service link if you follow the link to the left column on the NPS page and then click on 'compliance responsibilities & legal protection'. The brochure is posted mid-page as 'LWCF Stewardship Booklet'. Don't miss the useful information in all the other pdfs posted there.
The RCO link on the lower right of this page takes you to some our favorite words, all the way at the bottom of the page there:
Long-term Commitments for Funded Projects
All property acquired or developed with Land and Water Conservation Fund grants must be kept forever exclusively for public outdoor recreation use.
A few facts for those who haven't quite come to grips with the reality of permanent protections for Kah Tai:
Direct quotes from the Leader in italics:
23 June 2010 Leader article concerning a meeting that took place with Mr. David Timmons (City), Mr. Larry Crockett and Mr. Jim Pivarnik (Port), Ms. Heather Ramsay (NPS) and Mr. Jim Anest (RCO) in Seattle:
In that meeting, Anest told Timmons and Port of Port Townsend Executive Director Larry Crockett that it was the NPS’s position that all of the property is subject to the (6) (f) rule. “So it was left that the port had to present some evidence to the contrary to get the matter resolved,” Timmons said.
When LWCF funds and required private matching support are used to create a park, it is the whole park that is provided federal 6(f) protection. This position was made clear by a quote from NPS administrator, Heather Ramsay, provided in a June 30, 2010, Leader article: “Our position in general is when the maps are unclear, we look at who signed the contract and what they owned at the time the grant closed.” The Port was an equal applicant on the original grant, signing all relevant contacts and certainly owned the disputed parcels when the grant closed.
The posted map (click map to enlarge) is the draft ownership map agreed to by the City, RCO and NPS and sent to the Port for a response at the end of November, 2010. That response is expected by 31 December 2010.
If you care about the Park, please try to attend the Port Commissioners' meeting on 22 December at 3:30 pm in the Port chambers at Point Hudson. The Commissioners will decide whether to extend the Letter of Intent they signed last year with proponents of Park development.
A motion to extend the Letter of Intent for development in the Park died for lack of a second at the Port Commissioners' meeting on December 8. The Commissioners decided to await the advice of counsel with regard to the National Park Service's recent draft opinion that the entire boundary of the Nature Park should be protected in perpetuity.
The Commissioners have scheduled a meeting for December 22 at 3:30 pm in order to allow their attorneys to examine 30 years of records about the creation and status of the Park. If you are in interested in the fate of Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park, this would also be a good meeting to attend.
On Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 3:30 p.m., the Port Townsend Port Commissioners will discuss potential renewal of the Letter of Intent they signed a year ago to allow development of Port land in the Nature Park. It appears that the City, State and Federal offices involved in the creation of the Nature Park will soon rule that all land within the Park boundaries is protected in perpetuity (called 6(f)(3) protections in National Park Service documents). If you're interested in the future of Kah Tai, this would be a good meeting to attend. The meeting will be in Commission Chambers at the Port Administration Office Building, 375 Hudson Street, Point Hudson.
Admiralty Audubon has now released a comprehensive yearlong survey of bird species observed in the Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park. Ninety bird species were documented in the Park during daylight hours, with 2/3 of those land-based species. The high diversity of species and the predominance of land-based species may surprise those who regard the Park simply as a brackish lagoon full of mallard ducks. Maturing uplands provide high-quality food, cover and nesting areas.