The following is a letter from PenMet Park regarding the DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve located on Fox Island. Please click here to view the original PDF from PenMet. A copy of the information is below.
If Islanders have concerns about this issue, they are encouraged to attend the PenMet Board meeting on August 20th at 6:00 pm at the Pavilion at Sehmel Homestead Park.
What is the background and status of the property?
PenMet Parks (formally, the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District) acquired the 3.5-acre DeMolay Sandspit property at the northern tip of Fox Island in 2010 from the Tacoma DeMolay. The property has served as an organizational camp since 1959, and even some camp-related activity back to 1947.
The DeMolay property is not officially a park. It is a piece of public property that requires permitting and at least a parking lot to be a park. Its use is limited to historical use such as DeMolay functions, limited Scout functions and a few family gatherings. PenMet is not inviting the general public to visit or use the property. The plan is to have a caretaker on the site to assist with security and property management.
If excessive or inappropriate activity becomes a problem, the property will be closed off further.
The Fox Island Citizens Patrol also monitors the property.
General responses from first workshop in February, 2011:
- * Maintain public access, but protect the natural areas*.
- * Maintain adequate parking and restroom*.
- * Prohibit removal of natural elements including claybabies, driftwood, etc.
- * Post rules to:
o pickup after dogs,
o not disturb natural area, and
o prevent trespassing on neighbor property
*Note: Until the property is officially permitted as park, general public access is not permitted. Organized group activities can be reserved through PenMet Parks at 253-858-3400. No Parking is permitted in the public right of way along Bella Bella Dr. or Island Blvd.
What is the expected planning and development process for the property?
Park planning for the property is not funded at this time, but typically will involve another workshop or two where citizen comments will be used in conjunction with existing planning documents and additional stakeholder comments to develop two or three concepts for the park. At the end of the workshops we will have a conceptual plan for the park. A consultant will develop the master plan, permitting and construction documents. There will be additional public comment through that process. There is no timeline for development of the park and no funding currently identified for planning or development. The 2013 budget process will be the next opportunity to address these funding items.
What is the current status of the property?
Several issues related to use of the DeMolay property have developed, primarily due to non-reservation visitors, including leaving trash, not picking up after dogs, trespassing on neighbors’ property, clay baby removal, fires, large numbers of non-reservation visitors, and illegal parking. Due to these problems the property will be secured with gates locked except for formal reservations during a re-evaluation period.
For reservation information, contact PenMet Parks at 253-858-3400.
To discuss the status of the property further, contact Terry Lee at 253-858-3408.
10123 – 78th Ave (PO Box 425) Gig Harbor, WA 98332(5) Office: 253-858-3400 Fax: 253-858-3401 E-mail: Info@PenMetParks.org