Destination Packwood Association Quarterly Meeting
Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 5 p.m. at the White Pass Country Historical Museum
We start with a potluck at 5 p.m.
Meeting starts as folks are finishing up eating. Arrive around 5:30 if not coming to the potluck.
Everyone is welcome. Please join us!
Note: NO Fireside on June 8. We’ll see you June 15 for the next Fireside concert.
DPA is leading a conversation to gather input on what the community might like to see happen with the state land at Skate Creek. We’ll gather ideas that might enhance our trail system, maintain park spaces, and protect forest health for the people of Packwood and those who visit us.
If coming to the potluck, please bring an entree, side, salad OR dessert to feed 6-8 people. Feel free to bring your own place setting/silverware, too, in support of zero waste.
Sponsored and facilitated by Destination Packwood Association (DPA).
See you there!
Read below for a longer note with our thoughts on the property conversation:
Destination Packwood Association (DPA) is committed to strengthening our community and businesses here in Packwood. Twenty years ago, it was created in response to several big changes in our town that impacted jobs and people’s ability to remain living here.
DPA is a non-profit organization run by a Board of Directors who live in and serve Packwood. Most Board members grew up here – many as part of founding families. Some are business owners, one serves our community in emergency response and one is a former County Commissioner. All actively volunteer. We are all neighbors seeking to serve the community of Packwood with honor and vision.
Today, Packwood has many local businesses that provide jobs and services we all enjoy – coffee, tea, spirits, crafts, hairstyling, groceries, and much more. We enjoy a variety of food choices from many area restaurants. We are a vibrant community of people committed to enjoying the great outdoors in a rural setting.
Ten years ago, the State started a conversation around what might be done with the property we locally call Skate Creek Park. State Parks and Recreation officials have said they have no plans to do anything with the property. Due to issues with liability, they are not actively advertising the use of the property. Signs have come down. Bill Serrahn, a local man who lives next to the property, took on the role of appointed caretaker. He named the park Skate Creek State Park, marked trails and posted a map above the old picnic table on site. He actively sought and still seeks to “get more people to know about this and use it.” (The Chronicle; Feb 5, 2019) People responded to the invitation.
With increased use and no official management plan, community leaders and Board members of DPA picked up the conversation the State was having about what to do with the property. State and County officials and Board members from DPA met in March to talk about a possible land transfer to Lewis County. Bill Serrahn and a DPA Board member had several conversations together around the time of the meeting where Bill’s input was asked for and gathered.
There was a DPA quarterly meeting on March 16, always open to the public, that Bill Serrahn and several community members attended where the idea was talked about. Campgrounds were mentioned as a possible way to afford to properly manage the entire area. One idea was for DPA to partner with the County to manage the property to assure 24-hour care including trash pick-up and noise abeyance. The County has said it has little funds to manage the park and the State had said it was not interested in maintaining the property. An article about the idea was published in The Chronicle three days later on March 19. (http://www.chronline.com/news/packwood-state-park-land-could-soon-belong-to-county/article_e7f36598-4a69-11e9-90b1-6fb573e3c62c.html)
To assess the organization’s capacity for a project, DPA began gathering information on what the costs and responsibilities might be if DPA were asked to take on management of the property. No plan was (or has been) created. No commitments were (or have been) made. Ideas had been shared and the next step was for the State to consider whether it wanted to transfer the property to the County.
In May, the State Parks and Recreation department contacted DPA to let them know there would be a hearing in Packwood on May 13 about a possible land transfer from State to County. With that call, DPA became aware of the hearing and the upcoming agenda item on the State Parks and Recreation Board of County Commissioner’s meeting.
At the May 13 State Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, 55 community neighbors, Commissioner Gary Stamper, and County representative Josh Metcalf gathered together with Steve Brand and Ken Graham from State Parks and Recreation. People were invited to share their comments about the land transfer. Some shared their support and some their non-support for the transfer. Of primary concern was the lack of notice about the May 13 and subsequent May 16 meeting. Later, State Parks representatives checked when the postcards had been mailed and decided the timing had not allowed for full conversation. The State Parks and Recreation Commission decided to pull the land transfer item from the meeting agenda due to their concern about the timing of the notices.
There is a great deal of partial and misquoted information regarding DPA’s intentions and involvement with the possible transfer and any potential project. We wish to underscore that at no time did DPA develop a plan to put campgrounds on the Skate Creek Park property. At no time has DPA entered into any agreement with the State or County concerning the property or any project. Members of the DPA Board had conversations and then set to work doing the necessary homework to see if a project was possible for DPA to undertake. There were articles in the Chronicle in February and March and there was a DPA quarterly meeting that talked about the conversations happening between the State and County and DPA.
We invite the community to engage in respectful conversation with members of the Board of Destination Packwood Association at our next quarterly meeting on June 8 at the White Pass Historical Country Museum. We traditionally begin our quarterly meetings at 5 p.m. with a potluck. We invite you to join us. We start the meeting when folks are ready after eating.
We welcome comments, questions and compliments. On June 8, we’ll use ground rules to facilitate conversation. People will be asked to agree to the ground rules below to participate in the conversation:
- Everyone participates, no one dominates.
- One speaker at a time.
- There are no right or wrong answers.
- Keep an open mind.
- Help keep the discussion on track.
- It’s okay to disagree but don’t be disagreeable.
- Take care of yourself.
We look forward to the conversation.
DPA Board of Directors
Hal Blanton, President
Lee Grose, Vice President
Tracy Croshaw, Secretary
Monica Walmar, Treasurer
Barbara Wright, Director
Elizabeth Squires, Director
Ron Blankenship, Director