The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Waterfront park designs are taking shape


January 26, 2017

Diana Zimmerman

Stephanie Stroud of the National Park Service explained some details on the design drawings for the potential park that may one day replace the now empty sewer lagoons on a three acre site along the river. Photo by Diana Zimmerman.

Two representatives from the National Park Service met with several community members last Friday to present some park design drawings that were created after the all day planning workshop in November and to listen to feedback.

The park is planned for the three acres along the waterfront which once held the sewer lagoons. The Town of Cathlamet applied for and was awarded a grant to bring planners and landscape architects from the NPS to Cathlamet to assist in the process of planning a park.

Stephanie Stroud of NPS revisited park survey results to list items that sparked the most interest from participants. This included looped trails, a waterfront boulevard, campfire pit, covered shelter, maintained walkways, enhanced habitat restoration, outdoor classrooms, a water facing terrace, amphitheater, stocked fishing pond, restoration of Birnie Creek, local art and more.

"Low maintenance," Town Councilman Ryan Smith joked.

Attendees learned that Wahkiakum County Port 1 is already planning to plant trees and grasses on a portion of the site in order to mitigate some dredging they plan to do this year.

Brianna Truden, another representative from NPS, presented her drawings which included two phases and a restoration alternative. The first phase could be completed as soon as two years from now or as long as 10, she surmised, and included walking paths, a wildlife lookout shelter and an overlook.

"If you take into account budget concerns," Stroud said, "maybe something starts out as a dirt path, but gets paved as funds allow."

The second phase would continue park plans, and she included a small waterfront pocket beach, a pavilion and fire place, boardwalks, outlooks, vendor kiosks and more.

Finally, she presented the "restoration alternative" which showed a sewage lagoon being breached to allow seasonal flooding and ADA-accessible boardwalks to experience wetlands.

Design photos courtesy of Stephanie Stroud.

"You guys are going to be doing the leg work of grant funding to get this built," Truden said, "so it is what the town decides overall."

"Once we get this pretty well decided, then we can use this vision to get donations or grants," Town of Cathlamet Clerk/Treasurer Kerrie McNally echoed.

The group talked about walking surfaces, lighting, parking, the amphitheater and wind mitigation.

Cathlamet Mayor Dale Jacobson pointed out that Longview and Astoria don't have places like this, stating that their waterfront "is all commercial."

"This is such a gem," Stroud agreed.


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