Saturday, April 16, 2011

Yes, as a matter of fact, it IS a nature park

A pervasive urban myth about Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park is that it was NEVER intended to be a NATURE park, that the word 'nature' got inserted into the name inappropriately and recently, not by anyone in authority but by a few misguided individuals seeking to prevent development in the Park.

However, in the Environmental Impact Assessment in the 1981 LWCF grant proposal, Kah Tai is referred to explicitly as a 'de-facto wildlife park'. Perhaps those that object to the term 'nature park' would prefer 'wildlife park'? Does that suggest a region more amenable to development?

More importantly, the City of Port Townsend developed a Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan in 1986, and the Plan refers repeatedly to the Park by its full name, Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park. The 1986 plan is posted on the City's excellent website as a part of Resolution 86-028.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

government in action

The Port of Port Townsend insists that its land in Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park will be released from any obligations to remain as park land in 2012, when a lease expires. The Port's attorney has stated that the lease controls, but only because she carefully avoided the existence and timing of a binding contract between the Port of Port Townsend and the State of Washington signed in 1981. That contract controls, not the 1982 lease. Any agreement between the Port and a third party (the City) signed subsequently does not control a binding contract with the state, and thereby with the Federal Department of the Interior, for the Land and Water Conservation Funds that created Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park in 1981.

Ten citizens traveled to Olympia on March 31, 2011, to make certain that the State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) Board and staff understood the timing of the contract and the lease. Citizens brought along their own attorney's analysis of the situation. In response to testimony by eight citizens and letters of support by 38 citizens, the Board recognized that it was not their role to 'negotiate' a boundary that already exists and purged its erroneous Briefing Memo with regard to 'negotiating' the future of Kah Tai and will instead 'ascertain' the boundary and forward their recommendation to the National Park Service.

The letters of support were posted online at RCO as public documents in one pdf. The pdf is available at this RCO link. Note that it is a large document because of one 40+page submission of promotional materials supporting the first of many possible losses of park land if the Port is allowed to commercially develop its Kah Tai land. If you would like to receive a smaller pdf with the 5+ MB of promotional materials removed, please email to let us know.