LACEY - The Washington Parks and Recreation Commission met Thursday in Lacey to discuss an expanded boundary and redevelopment of the Station Camp site at McGowan, between the Chinook Tunnel and the Astoria Bridge.
Parks Commissioner Bob Petersen said Saturday the commission voted to "accept donated property for Station Camp and transfer the area to the National Parks Service upon congressional authorization." The Legislature has provided funds to acquire more property at the site, he said, but Parks currently "isn't authorized to accept the property," he said.
"The action is to determine if the site is suitable for Parks' purposes and to authorize the director to discuss with the Washington Department of Transportation the transfer of the property as a state park right of way and transfer it to the NPS subsequent to congressional authorization," Petersen said. If that doesn't happen, he said, Parks is "authorized to enter into any cooperative arrangement for the efficient and high-quality operation of the park."
The action by the commission, Petersen said, is just a study to determine the suitability of the site as a park. "The action requested seeking a public agency willing to manage the site and proposes providing a turnkey park to whoever accepts it."
Two NPS staff members attended the meeting, Steve Dunbar and Rick Wagner, who said the NPS study is "going forward," Petersen said. He said a draft proposal should be ready by late May or early June. Negotiations on the purchase of property at the Station Camp site are proceeding, he said.
The elements to be addressed by NPS include:
Does the site meet the eligibility criteria for what constitutes a national park?
If it does, Petersen said, a recommendation will be made to add the site to the Fort Clatsop National Memorial in Oregon to encompass all the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition-related sites at the mouth of the Columbia River.
The entire park area could be renamed, he said, although Station Camp and Fort Canby state parks would continue under those names.
The four or so acres at the Station Camp site would be donated by the state to NPS.
Fort Canby as a whole will not become a part of a new national park, Petersen said, but about two acres of the park would become a national memorial to Thomas Jefferson.
David Nicandri, director of the Washington Historical Society, who was at the meeting, made an interesting observation, Petersen said. "He said that apparently the Corps of Discovery didn't call themselves that at all, but the Expedition for Northwestern Discovery."