Trails & Tides

Tristan Baurick, the Kitsap Sun's outdoors and public lands reporter, writes about hiking, biking, kayaking and everything else Kitsapers do under the sun.
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Surplus Parks: Keyport Saltwater Park

September 12th, 2013 by tristan baurick

The Kitsap County parks department wants to trim its inventory of parklands to save money on maintenance. Twenty-four properties have been identified for possible sale or transfer to other agencies or nonprofit groups. I visited the 24 properties and will post photo galleries of some of the more notable ones over the week, leading up to a Sunday feature about the surplus parks issue.

Keyport Saltwater Park is a 2.2-acre waterfront park along Liberty Bay. It sits on the other side of Highway 308 from the Keyport naval base entrance.

The Navy donated the land in the 1980s, and the county invested quite a bit into making it an attractive park. Paved trails, picnic tables, benches and a large play structure were installed.

The county parks department eventually stopped maintaining the park, leaving it to the small group of volunteers at the Keyport Improvement Club to keep things in order.

The club has done its best, but trash continues to pile up. On my recent visit, I found an old couch near the water’s edge, heaps of cat litter and several scatterings of beer and energy drink cans. One of the picnic tables is destroyed. In place of the play structure is a large rock spray-painted with a swastika.

The parks department hopes the improvement club or some other nonprofit group will take ownership of the property, but the club’s leaders aren’t sure they can handle the responsibility or the liability.

Keyport port commissioners are promoting the town as a stop on the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail. The growing number of kayakers plying Kitsap’s waters could be a boon for the town’s small businesses. They envision Keyport Saltwater Park as a campground and rest stop for kayakers traveling the route.

I’ll feature the wooded Kingston park known as A Quiet Place in tomorrow’s gallery.

All of the week’s galleries on surplus county parks are collected under the “Surplus Parks” category in the column to the right.

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