Park’s Master Plan update opens the doors to new ideas
New proposed ideas for Lake Sammamish State Park include outdoor laser tag, an indoor swimming pool and multi-use lighted athletic fields.
About 70 citizens and park officials had a chance to offer input on these and other ideas at a meeting hosted by Washington State Parks land use planner Nikki Fields at a public meeting March 29 at Tibbetts Creek Manor.
The meeting is the first to be held to garner input as the park’s master plan is updated. The current master plan was adopted in 2007 after three years of work by a citizen task force.
Fields reviewed the amenities scheduled for future park improvements in the current master plan. These include a Water Activity Center with rowing shell and paddleboat rentals and a café at Tibbetts Beach; an urban campground with RV space, tent space and yurts; Confluence Center — an array of meeting rooms, trail head, and offices; and a rustic lodge at Hans Jensen youth camp for retreats and meetings as well as youth activities.
Four new proposals are under consideration for the under-used softball fields. They include a 60-foot-tall ropes course, an outdoor laser tag field using hay bales for obstacles, an indoor competitive swimming pool with restaurant and lockers, and an indoor tennis court.
Other proposals include converting the existing soccer fields into multi-use turf fields with night lighting, an off-beach swim gym with lifeguards, and permanent beach volleyball courts.
Fields reviewed the vision of Lake Sammamish State Park and asked meeting attendees to rate each proposal on how well the project fits the mission.
“Lake Sammamish State Park will be Washington’s signature park for protecting and celebrating urban natural areas, showcasing regionally significant wetlands and wildlife habitat, while enriching the lives of visitors and providing a valued legacy to future generations,” reads the park vision.
A few of the projects, like the indoor pool and volleyball courts, did not seem appropriate, according to the rankings. Other projects had concerns, while a few projects rated high.
Fields explained that staff will consider comments and rankings as they proceed with the master plan update. At the same time, state parks and city of Issaquah officials are partnering on an Environmental Impact Statement for the park to determine what projects are feasible while protecting the wetlands and natural environment.
Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park (FLSSP) recently requested state capital funds for a Pre-Design Report and got $200,000 for Washington State Parks to update the master plan and cost estimates for future phased improvements.
In its five years since inception, FLSSP has helped to bring more that $9 million in park improvements, including the Sunset Beach renovation and bathhouse, the all-access playground, boating dock coming in 2019, and future picnic area renovations now in the design phase. State capital funding has been spearheaded in partnership with Sen. Mark Mullet of Issaquah.