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Posted on: September 18, 2019

Open house: Proposed improvements to boat launch at Fort Worden

OLYMPIA – Sept. 18, 2019 – Washington State Parks invites the public to attend an open house to learn more about proposed improvements to the existing boat launch and other facilities in the marine area at Fort Worden Historical State Park in Port Townsend.

The open house is from  6 – 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Friends’ Barn in Fort Townsend State Park, 1370 Old Fort Townsend Road, Port Townsend. (Driving directions)

The informal open house is a continuation of State Parks’ planning effort to improve public safety and recreational access at the boat launch and to restore the nearshore environment at Fort Worden. While the primary focus of this open house will be the boat launch, staff also will share information on the current plan to unify the park’s marine area, including replacing the pier.

State Parks staff and science and engineering consultant Anchor QEA will answer questions informally at display stations at the open house. People are encouraged to submit comments in writing or provide them online at No formal public testimony will take place.

Boat launch improvements — recreation and habitat restoration
The existing boat launch, located near Point Wilson, was built in the 1970s and is an ideal location for quick, safe access to Mid-Channel Bank, one of the most popular fishing spots in the region. Peak usage occurs during the spring and summer crabbing and salmon seasons. On a busy summer day, up to 50 vessels (both motorized and non-motorized) use the launch.

The boat launch has long been plagued with maintenance challenges. Large amounts of sand and debris build up around the boat ramp, limiting boaters’ access and impeding the natural movement of sand that provides habitat for important nearshore marine species.

The proposal replaces the existing two-lane boat ramp with a one-lane elevated design, which will decrease the ramp’s footprint over the water and help restore the movement of sand.

Other improvements to the marine area
The proposal also calls for replacing the pier, which was built in 1944 and is deteriorating. A new traffic flow design would separate pedestrians from vehicles along the shore.

Planning process – public involvement
The proposed improvements to the park’s marine shoreline area have been developed through a process of public meetings held on April 18 and June 10 and from comments received online and by mail. At the open house, people can learn more about the background of the project proposal, how the proposal came about and what the next steps will be.

For more information
In addition to this meeting, the public can comment online at For more information about this project, contact Michael Hankinson, parks planner, at (360) 725-9756 or

About Fort Worden State Park
Fort Worden Historical State Park is a 432-acre multi-use park with more than 2 miles of saltwater shoreline and a wide variety of services and facilities, including a full-service conference center that can be booked for daylong or multi-day events.

The park is co-managed by the Fort Worden Public Development Authority (PDA), which runs the overnight lodging and partners with Centrum Arts Foundation and other on-site organizations to provide unique experiences for visitors.

For more information, visit:

News media contacts:
Toni Droscher, Communications Office, (360) 902-8604
Michael Hankinson, Parks Planner, (360) 725-9756


About Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.

News release number: 19-074


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