POULSBO — “Keep on truckin’ but don’t be campin’” might become Poulsbo’s new motto as the city has its sights on ending a common practice at one of its lesser-known parks.
The ecologically-fragile wetland of Fish Park, where Dogfish Creek meets Liberty Bay near the intersection of Lindvig Way and Bond Road, was bought by the city in recent years.
Although the site has remained largely undeveloped during a search for funding, it has been the subject of much study by the city, state and tribes because of the important role the interchange plays in the lives of Chinook and Coho salmon, both of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act.
One of the biggest projects now surrounding the property is the Dogfish Creek Estuary Bridge project.
The project would build a bridge under Lindvig Way to replace the undersized culvert that currently creates a stressful situation for spawning salmon.
Earlier this month, City Councilman Mike Regis expressed his concern to Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey that dump trucks and semis were using the Fish Park parking area as a rest stop.
Regis said he’d seen trucks parked there for days at a time, not to mention the abandoned vehicles and motor homes he also witnesses occupying the space.
“It’s just a liability. We need to diminish the liability,” he explained, noting that he’d also noticed motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles using the park site as a race track. He added that he felt the park could suffer erosion and pollution problems because of the over use.
McCluskey admitted she doesn’t know how trucks and other vehicles started using the space, but said she agrees that the practice must be stopped. She said she and project head Dan Wilson recently visited the site and saw a motor home and trucks with obvious signs of having parked overnight.
It is against City of Poulsbo ordinances to park or camp in city parks without a special permit.
McCluskey said city staff also has definite erosion concerns for the parking area, which is deep with a fine sand. She said once the rainy season starts, that fine sand will wash easily into the creek and could choke it.
In the short term, McCluskey said Department of the Environment officials have recommended laying down a silt fence to try and stop some of the loose dirt from entering the stream. If she receives council approval, McCluskey said she will post signs at the site stating that the lot is closed to long-term and overnight parking. After signs have been placed at the park, she said city staff will block the area’s entrance to the size of a regular passenger vehicle.
“We don’t want to totally block access there because it is still a park,” McCluskey said.
So far, the plan has held water with council members. Community Services Committee member Councilman Dale Rudolph said he felt the issue was pretty much cut and dry and supported ending commercial trucks using the area as a truck stop.
“It’s a park. It’s against our city ordinances to camp in our parks,” he commented.