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Wanted: Your feedback on public parks

Lee Mattox of Brown
Lee Mattox of Brown's Point walks the family dog, Carter, at least twice a week at Dash Point State Park. Mattox created a map of the park's trail system, and has found some of the trails are not marked.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/The Mirror

By JACINDA HOWARD, The Mirror

The future use of the 46-year-old Dash Point State Park rests partially in the hands of the public.

With its centennial anniversary approaching in 2013, Washington State Parks is turning to the public for input on its 121 state parks. The goal is to produce a comprehensive plan for each of the recreational areas.

“(The efforts) are really to prepare the parks for the future,” said Ryan Karlson, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission parks planner.

At 6:30 p.m. March 20, public use of Dash Point State Park in Federal Way will be discussed at the Federal Way Regional Library, 34200 1st Way S.

The meeting is part of the first of four steps the commission is taking to better understand how the public uses Dash Point. The process will also examine the public’s likes and dislikes of the space.

Dash Point State Park:

Located on the west side of Federal Way, the 398-acre park draws campers, hikers and beachcombers. Miles of walking and hiking trails, 138 campsites and 3,000 feet of Puget Sound shoreline bring visitors from across the state.

“This is a camping destination area,” said Lem Pratt, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission SeaTac area manager.

Established in 1962, the park is in need of some attention and upgraded facilities. Visitors often let park management know they are not satisfied with the restrooms, Pratt said. The restrooms are outdated and a process for replacing or renovating the sewer system is in the works, he said.

“Restrooms are a big issue,” Pratt said.

Brown’s Point resident Lee Mattox visits the park at least twice a week to walk the family dog, Carter. The two have been coming here for at least four years.

“It’s a great park,” Mattox said.

But he does have one small complaint. The current trail map needs to be updated. Some of the parks’ trails are not marked, Pratt said. This can make finding one’s way around Dash Point’s trail system a bit confusing for beginners, Mattox said. He and Carter created and use their own detailed Dash Point State Park trail map, complete with trail names and difficulty levels.

Future use:

Though the commission has identified issues the park faces, it does not have any solid plans, as of yet, to address the hang-ups, Karlson said.

“It’s really important to stress we don’t have a plan,” Karlson said. “We have known issues.”

The state’s park and recreation commission will rely on public input to help determine how Dash Point will be used in the future, he said.

“We don’t come into this process with a designed game plan,” Karlson said.

The public uses the park and is more in tune with which parts function well, and how to prepare for the park’s future use, he said.

“A lot of our best park planning ideas come from the public,” Karlson said. “We want to hear your comments.”

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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Check it out:

The first Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission public meeting to discuss the future use of both Dash Point State Park and 88-acre Saltwater State Park, just south of Des Moines, will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 20 at the Federal Way Regional Library, 34200 1st Way S.

Those not able to attend the meeting may also write a letter to the commission or e-mail Ryan Karlson at Ryan.Karlson@parks.wa.gov.

“This is not the first opportunity to engage in this planning process,” Karlson said.

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