Plans to give Lake Sammamish State Park a makeover to boost sagging attendance have hit a funding roadblock, but state parks officials say...

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Plans to give Lake Sammamish State Park a makeover to boost sagging attendance have hit a funding roadblock, but state parks officials say it won’t stop the project from moving forward.


The Legislature last month denied a request for $1.15 million to fund a master plan and environmental review of a new design for the 512-acre park at the south end of the lake.


The long-term vision was chosen by the park’s advisory committee in December and called for analyzing whether facilities such as an urban RV campground, a group-camping area, a beach boardwalk and bathhouse, a cafe and a fishing pier would make good additions to the park. The committee and the cities of Sammamish and Issaquah asked the state to fund the studies.


But in a year of tight budgets, the state didn’t want to spend that much just to study what might or might not work for the park, said Peter Herzog, state parks planner.


“It raised some eyebrows,” Herzog said. “Now it’s time for Plan B. We’re stepping back and saying, ‘Let’s split this [project] into smaller, bite-size pieces.’ We’ll pare the list [of proposed amenities] down and see what things are feasible.”


Herzog said a cornerstone of the revitalization is wetlands restoration. The park includes a 320-acre system of wetlands and three salmon-bearing streams that have been degraded, he said.


The advisory committee decided last year that engaging the public in restoring the park’s natural areas is vital to its overhaul. A public hearing will be held today on the topic.



Public hearing


A public hearing on the proposed master plan for Lake Sammamish State Park will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. today at the King County Library System Service Center, 960 Newport Way N.W., Issaquah


For more information, contact Peter Herzog at peter.herzog@parks.wa.gov or 360-902-8652.


A public review draft of the Lake Sammamish Wetlands, Streams and Lakeshore Restoration Plan is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/plans/lksamm/


The condition of Lake Sammamish State Park — which hasn’t undergone a major improvement since the mid-1970s — drew concern in 2001 when state parks officials discovered that visits there had declined from 1.6 million to 1.3 million since 1987. Attendance fell 13 percent between 2002 and 2003.


After weeks of deliberation last fall, the park’s advisory committee settled on a design concept to revamp the aging park that included structures with wavy roofs and open buildings that blended with the surrounding landscape.


Three architectural firms had submitted plans, and committee members cast their votes based on technical and aesthetic appeal and public feedback.


State parks officials have said the revamp could cost about $40 million, the intention being to make Lake Sammamish “Washington’s signature park for protecting and celebrating urban natural areas … while enriching the lives of visitors and providing a valued legacy to future generations,” according to the commission’s January report.


Sonia Krishnan: 206-515-5546 or skrishnan@seattletimes.com