A Friends of Kah Tai Flyer, for the birds!


Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park land has been torn for over 40 years between developers who see it as vacant land and townspeople who value natural open space and wildlife.

  • In 1980, the US Fish and Wildlife Service ranked Kah Tai as the tenth most important wildlife habitat out of 44 identified in Washington, and ranked it at high risk from development threats
  • Fate of the Park was ultimately resolved through immense community participation and involvement
  • Local political campaigns and elections in the late '70s resulted in majorities on Port Townsend City Council and Port of Port Townsend Commission favoring preservation of the lagoon land, and formation of the Park
The Park was created by a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant in 1981 from the National Park Service (NPS) and Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (WA RCO), with City of Port Townsend and Port of Port Townsend as co-sponsors.
  • Acceptance of federal funds and state support came with obligations for maintaining and protecting the Park into the future, so-called 6(f)(3) protections
  •  Honoring those obligations enhances our district's ability to get state and federal grants in the future
  • Required local matching funds were provided by private donations with stipulations anticipating commitment to perpetuity of the parkland. Civic participation is jeopardized when such public commitment is disrespected
Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park has matured into a serene and popular respite in the center of Port Townsend.
  • Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park was Port Townsend's first Adopt-A-Park. It is maintained primarily by volunteers, at little cost to the City or Port
  • Public commitment to the stewardship of the park is exemplified by the hundreds of volunteers who have given many thousands of hours of skills and labor over the last four decades
  • Admiralty Audubon recently completed the first year of a twice-monthly two-year bird survey of the entire Park and identified 90 species of birds using the Park habitat on annual cycles. Two-thirds of these species are land-based using the maturing uplands that are again under development threat
Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park is unique
  • The NPS LWCF grant that created Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park is unique in Jefferson County in that the sponsors are the City and Port of Port Townsend. All other such grants awarded in the County had Washington State Parks, Washington Fish and Wildlife or Washington Department of Natural Resources as sponsors
  • Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park provides a unique character and marketing identity for Port Townsend that differentiates it from more conventionally developed communities
The National Park Service gives us clear direction about the use of its funds:
"The benefits of the Land and Water Conservation Fund extend beyond park and recreation facility construction and open space acquisition. The Fund also plays a major stewardship role, ensuring the integrity and recreational quality of Fund-assisted parks and conservation lands, now and for future generations."
  • Although the City of Port Townsend, the WA RCO and the NPS have agreed that the entire boundary of the Nature Park is protected by 6(f)(3) stipulations, the Port of Port Townsend, an original co-sponsor, has continued to push commercial development efforts for Park land
  • The Port of Port Townsend is confused about the agreement it made so many years ago and is researching how to legally maneuver out of its commitment to preserve this park as a place for outdoor recreation, a commitment the other parties to the agreement – the city, the State RCO and the NPS have all agreed should be upheld
  • Failure of the Port of Port Townsend to honor both federal grant obligations and private donation stipulations is divisive, diverting tax dollars and draining energy from more positive effort
The pressure that is being put on converting or closing public spaces in these hard economic times must not betray the commitments we have invested in for our future.  Our leaders must pay attention.

Flyer - January 2011
A Friends of Kah Tai Flyer, for the birds!


Make Waves, a PRIVATE nonprofit corporation (MWCorp), is promoting a pool/fitness center in Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park.

FACTS: Thirty years ago the PUBLIC LAND called Kah Tai was saved from development:

•    protected lagoon, wetlands and uplands with indigenous plants and wildlife
•    minimal human impact, not wilderness but still wild
•    nesting grounds and resting areas for migrating birds
•    serenity and beauty
•    an irreplaceable open space
•    an impressive entrance and the gateway to our Historic District

MWCorp wants 1.9 acres inside Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park requiring loss of the berm,  restrooms, and play meadow, to construct a 40,000 square foot building they say will have no negative impact on the park.

FACTS: In 1980, US Fish and Wildlife ranked Kah Tai as the tenth most important wildlife habitat out of 44 identified in Washington. The berm and buffers are part of the Park's original design. Any development will cause harmful impacts to this natural open space:

•    noise pollution from compressors and dehumidifiers
•    24-hour lighting
•    huge concrete commercial structure built on unstable fill
•    giant propane tanks
•    trucks for maintenance, repairs and deliveries
•    leveling and paving of the berm and meadow area
•    more than 100 parking spaces needed
•    clear-cutting of trees and habitat destruction
•    traffic jams on 12th Street and at the Haines Place traffic signal

MWCorp says their project will come at no cost to taxpayers, they will build using donations and grants and will turn the building over to the Port to own. It will be a boon to the local economy.

FACTS: MWCorp needs MAJOR taxpayer subsidies to begin their project:

•    Donation of 1.9 acres of PUBLIC park land
•    Donation from Jefferson Transit for parking spaces
•    The taxpayers will be the first to know if MWCorp fails
•    PT has dozens of related businesses: gyms, yoga, massage, cycle shops. NONE get subsidies, all pay taxes and will be affected by taxpayer-subsidized competition

MWCorp hired consultants to determine the type of population and membership that would be needed to make this business succeed

FACTS: The MWCorp projections of local population are inflated:

•    MWCorp “cherry-picks”, as their ONLY models, 5 towns in snowbound-winter areas of Idaho and Montana, NONE in Washington
•    MWCorp estimates 20.6% of our population will join their club, but the average in Sequim, Washington State and the US is only 16%
•    MWCorp calculates its projections using generic 2.7 persons per household rather than correct lower values specific to our zipcode areas
•    MWCorp is counting on at least 18% of members of other gyms to leave and join MW

MWCorp says it MUST be located next to Safeway and the Park and Ride in order to succeed

FACTS: A community pool is a community issue that needs PUBLIC participation. MWCorp is only one idea. Other possible pool sites that don't impact a nature preserve:

•    Chimacum Elementary School next to the Jefferson County Library
•    HJ Carroll Park
•    Howard Street
•    Vacant Ford Auto at the intersection of Highways 19 and 20
•    Jefferson Transit site on Sims Way
•    Mountain View Pool
•    Fort Worden State Park
•    Port Townsend Public Golf Course

MWCorp says the pool at Mountain View School isn't viable

FACTS: In March 2001, the City paid for an evaluation of the Mountain View Pool

•    The pool is viable but needs repairs
•    The study indicated the pool was adequate for school sports
•    The pool could last for 20 to 30 years with an investment of $400,000 (2001 $$)
•    The pool could be completely remodeled with two pools, one competition size for $4 million (2001 $$), similar to what the Bainbridge community did.
•    City and school board would work out the logistics if the public demanded it

Flyer - July 2010