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

Cathlamet waterfront park plan is moving on


April 12, 2018

Shown above, the first phase of the Cathlamet waterfront park development includes filling the largest sewer lagoon to create a large, flexible space (1) and replanting the wetland (6) with native shrubs and plants. Illustration taken from the Cathlamet Waterfront Park Plan.

In January, a group from the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program presented the final draft of the waterfront park concept plan to all who worked on the project.

Since then, the town planning commission has reconvened to go over the plan and make some additions and corrections, according to Kerrie McNally, the clerk-treasurer for the Town of Cathlamet, in order to get it ready for the next step--fundraising.

Cathlamet resident Robert Stowe, a former journalist and current planning commissioner, is making the updates.

The document includes a description of the community, as well as a history and an account of local demographics. It describes the site that has been selected for the future waterfront park and how local citizens got involved in the project through surveys, a workshop and an open house. It also has a section on how schoolchildren were given an opportunity to be included in the process.

The plan shows the three potential designs that were presented to participants, who ultimately decided on a hybrid of the first two--a natural approach and a more developed style.

According to the document, "The design is meant to preserve and enhance the natural characteristics of the site, while accommodating the community's interests. Incorporated in the design are the most popular features from the community survey, including: benches for resting; paved trails that provide different experiences and opportunities for exercise; physical access to the water (a place to get your feet wet); and community space for events, markets, outdoor movies, concerts, and organized activities."

Development is expected to take several years and will happen in three phases.

In the meantime, the planning commission will meet again on April 18 to finalize a recommendation that the town council approve the updated park plan at their meeting in May.

"Once the council adopts the new park plan update by resolution, I will forward it to Sandi Benbrook-Rieder," McNally said. "She will include it with her grant application to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office."

Benbrook-Rieder is a Wahkiakum resident who has extensive experience with grant writing and is organizing a group, Friends of the Waterfront Park.

"I'm happy to report that it looks like we've got it in the bag," McNally said. "I'm not sure what the monetary amount of the grant we are apply for will be as Sandi has done all the work on it, but I do know that the state has $94 million to distribute and we budgeted $20,000 for matching funds for 2018."


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