Transfer of parks to Bainbridge is welcome | Our Opinion | Nov. 12

It appears that next Friday the State Parks Commission will finally authorize the transfer of Fort Ward and Fay Bainbridge state parks to the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District. Considering the state’s recent history of equivocation on this issue, it would be wise not to hold your breath. But it seems like a no-brainer since the state is broke and our park district has made it clear that it wants to take over two parks that the state has been neglecting for years.

The park district has some contingency funds put away in case the transfer happens in 2011, and the state has indicated that somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 in equipment and cash will be included in the transfer. That’s still being negotiated, but by all indications the park district is prepared to embrace these two island parks as its own.

Having the two parks maintained by Bainbridge Islanders is the most important part of the deal. The island’s park commissioners feel the parks will be much better off in the long run, though there’s no doubt the state will handing off one park (Fort Ward) that has been neglected to a shameful degree and another (Fay Bainbridge) that has a failing septic system that needs immediate attention.

Assuming responsibility for the two parks is ambitious for the district, but long overdue. Executive Director Terry Lande and his staff will have to figure out how to deal with the camping and sewage situations at Fay Bainbridge, but there’s no doubt that the park will spring back to life under new management.

As for Fort Ward, it’s a pivotal waterfront and uplands park on the south end of the island and is consider priceless by its neighbors. Still, the parking lot on the upper part of the park needs to remain open all year and a little tender loving care needs to be shown for the park as a whole.

Managing parks can be expensive, especially when it’s done from afar. When possible, parks should be managed by people who appreciate them and take pride in their beauty.

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