Kopachuck campgrounds closed ‘indefinitely’

Parks: Department to review state park master plan in light of root rot problems

of the GatewayFebruary 5, 2014 

A master plan is in the future for Kopachuck State Park, and it will focus on improvements to the day-use-only park. A Feb. 11 meeting will focus on the master plan process for the park.

The Classification and Management Planning, or CAMP plan was put together in 2010 through a series of public input and meetings. The plan is “very big picture,” whereas a master plan would be more specific to the park’s uses, stewardship program manager Lisa Lantz said.

“This is doing more detail-level planning than the CAMP plan did,” Lantz said.

The campgrounds at Kopachuck are “indefinitely closed,” Penrose Point State Park Ranger Janet Shonk said.

In 2011, Kopachuck shuttered up at night to reduce the risk of campers being injured by falling trees. Trees in the park were found to have laminated root rot, a fungal infection hosted in coniferous trees. Firs and pines are highly susceptible.

Tree bases have the potential to become weak, and it could lead to trees falling over. Closing campgrounds reduces the risk of park visitors being crushed by falling, infected trees, Shonk said.

“There’s no fixing root rot,” Shonk said. “It’s not something that just goes away.”

The upcoming meeting will be the design phase of a master plan.

Construction won’t happen right away, Shonk said. An ad hoc committee is being formed to discuss the master plan. It’s made up of stakeholders such as neighbors, Preserve Our Parks and Harbor WildWatch — “folks that we know have a vested interest in how the park would be used,” Lantz said.

The CAMP plan set land classifications for the park. Lantz said the classifications are similar to city and county zoning codes. The campgrounds, as well as many day-use areas, are classified as recreational.

Included in a list of things the parks system would like to see at Kopachuck are improved disability access and classroom or event space, Lantz said. A second public meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 23.

Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at karen.miller@gateline.com.

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