Popular Crow Butte Park to reopen - Farmers volunteer to operate popular park after state lets lease lapse
August 8th, 2003
Paterson, WA - Crow Butte Park near Paterson will reopen next week after the Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday a volunteer group of farmers has been chosen to operate it.
The state allowed its lease of the park to lapse last year after budget constraints forced the Legislature to wipe out funding for it. The Corps had since found a private operator to manage three other former state parks but Crow Butte took longer.
The Crow Butte Park Association will begin accepting visitors Wednesday, park Manager Bob Brown said, and a formal opening may be scheduled for Aug. 23.
"It is a big deal," association President Russ Rasmussen said. "We've been listening to the kids holler all summer long about not having a place to swim."
Day-use fees will be $5 per vehicle, $5 for use of the boat ramp and $22 per night for campers at the park, which is 10 miles west of Paterson on the Columbia River.
Collections will be monitored during the weekends and operators will use the honor system during the week.
Reservations can be made by calling 875-2644, though the message line had not been set up as of Thursday afternoon.
The association was simply the most qualified applicant of the four organizations that sought to run the park, Corps spokesman Mike McAleer said. Rather than sign a long-term lease, the Corps offered one that will stretch through the end of 2004.
"We wanted to make sure the Corps could build a working relationship and to make sure it was in good hands," McAleer said.
Organization participants include Mercer Ranches, Watts Brothers' Farms, Paterson Onion, Columbia Crest, Pioneer Hay and Sandpiper Farms. The association has been volunteering its time to water and mow the park grounds.
Brown said the park is in good shape but various improvements and maintenance projects will be needed down the road.
"A lot of little things need to be done," he said. "The general attention to detail has not been paid."
Other improvements, including new campsites and docks, may be added in the future if money becomes available. The association hopes to throw some fund-raisers to help out.
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