Tag Archives: Fort Ward

Peril and progress at Fort Ward Park


Park officials are concerned by rapid shoreline erosion at Fort Ward, and it’s easy to see why in this aerial image from Google. The bank has crept unnervingly close to the northwest corner of the barracks, seen in the top left corner of this photo.

The park district says armoring the shoreline would be challenging and very expensive. Moving the building would also cost a bundle and it’s not clear whether the wood-framed structure would survive relocation. Doing nothing is no longer an option however, as winter storms and King Tides continue to eat away at the bank.

“If we’re going to save them, we need a process in place to save them,” park district Executive Director Terry Lande said of the barracks Thursday. Continue reading

Beans Bight Road | Island Road History

Street of the week: Beans Bight Road

Location: Runs off Upper Farms Road, just west of Restoration Point.

History: The farmer who first claimed the land above Blakely Harbor had a name reminiscent of two foods: Reuben Bean. It’s unknown whether either snack had anything to do with his move west from Maine; Bean was killed in 1859 before he could begin using his 148.5 acres.

Thirty-one years later, the newly formed Washington State Legislature authorized the purchase of Bean’s land. The resulting Fort Ward sits upon Bean Point. It protects the island’s curving south shoreline, geographically known as a “bight.”

Sources: “Picture Bainbridge,” Jack Swanson. Published by the Bainbridge Historical Society.
“The Story of the Little Fort at Bean Point,” Ivan W. Lee, Jr. & Lois B. Lee.

This occasional Islander series explores the history of island street names, as compiled by Elinor Ringland and fellow Bainbridge Island Historical Society volunteers. If you have an island road story to share, email Elinor at elinorjoe@msn.com.

Sewage concerns close Blakely park’s beach

UPDATE: Most of the sewage was contained in a nearby wetland. The city and sewer plant operator plan to pump out the sewage on Monday. Click here for our latest story on the spill.

Public health officials are warning people to steer clear of Tani Creek and Blakely Harbor Park’s beach after sewage leaked into a wetland near the Fort Ward sewage treatment plant.

Here’s our report from yesterday.

The wetland, which sits next to a public trail, connects to Tani, which flows into Blakely.

The state Dept. of Ecology warned that “contact with fecal contaminated waters can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Children and the elderly may be more vulnerable to waterborne illnesses.”

The Kitsap Public Health District has taken water samples from Tani and Blakely to see how far the contamination spread from the wetland. Results were expected today, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until Thursday afternoon for confirmation the sewage spread beyond the wetland.

Sewer district board member Sarah Lee estimates between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons of partially-treated sewage leaked from a hole in a 40,000-gallon tank.

The cause of the hole is not yet known, but it doesn’t appear it was punctured or damaged by force.

The health district isn’t sure how the mess will be cleaned up – if at all. The sewer district pumped out some of the sewage from their grounds on Friday, shortly after the leak was discovered.

On Monday, the health district discovered the sewage had traveled out of the treatment plant property and into the wetland, which is down-slope of the plant.

It appeared much of the sewage was caught and partially contained by a “log jam” in the wetland, according to health district water specialist Stuart Whitford.

Water test results will guide next steps. Cleaning the mess could include pumping out portions of the wetland. If the testing shows relatively low levels of contamination, the health district and Ecology officials may take a hands-off approach.

I’m off for the next two days, so look for environmental reporter Chris Dunagan’s followup story on the testing results.

City gearing up to transfer Ft. Ward Parade Grounds to park district

Below is the city’s press release about plans to transfer the Fort Ward Parade Grounds to the Bainbridge park district. The public hearing is later this month.

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, April 15, 2010 – The City of Bainbridge Island will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, to consider whether to deem the Fort Ward Parade Grounds properties surplus to the needs of the City of Bainbridge Island and authorize their transfer to the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District.

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Grinter: Put the breaks on state parks tranfer plan

Bainbridge trails advocate John Grinter writes that Bainbridge needs to slow down and reassess plans to take on two state parks slated for closure. Grinter is the vice chair of the city’s Non-Motorized Transportation Advisory Committee and was a lead community organizer for the 2004 petition drive to create the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park District. Below is Grinter’s letter.

I am a strong supporter of Bainbridge parks and I believe our local park board is moving too quickly to bail out the state park system with the transfer of both Fay Bainbridge and Fort Ward state parks.

I don’t believe careful consideration has been given to the long-term impact on other well-planned community goals. The local (park) board is talking about making a permanent financial commitment of millions when they should be talking about helping the state in a short term, interim manner while we weather this economic crisis. Perhaps most troubling of all is the speed at which it is happening and the nearly complete lack of public process regarding the transfer.

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Could abandoned state parks make money for BI?

Snohomish County is eyeing a state park within its borders as a possible money-maker if the state goes ahead with a plan to surplus it and 12 other parks, including Fay Bainbridge and Fort Ward.

According to a recent Seattle Times editorial, there is support in Snohomish for charging a day-use fee if the county takes over the popular Wenberg State Park. The fee would help offset the costs of maintaining the park and may give the county a much-needed cash infusion.

Think the same would work when/if the Bainbridge park district takes over Fay and Fort Ward?

State to discuss tranfer of BI parks

The state park system is hosting a public meeting on Friday to discuss the possible transfer of Fay Bainbridge and Fort Woard state parks to the Bainbridge Island Metro Mark and Recreation District.

Gov. Chris Gregoire proposes to close 13 state parks, including Fay Bainbridge and Fort Ward, to help meet a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. The 13 parks on the closure list aren’t up to the state standards for use, scenic views, cultural resources and potential to earn money.

State parks staff will discuss how and when the transfer may occur and hear public comment about what features park users would most like to see preserved.

Fay Bainbridge State Park is a 17-acre marine camping park with 1,420 feet of saltwater shoreline on the northeast corner of Bainbridge Island. Fort Ward State Park is a 137-acre park with 4,300 feet of shoreline on Rich Passage.

For the Sun’s most recent story on the proposed transfer, click here.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Island Center Hall, 8395 Fletcher Bay Road N.E.

For more information, contact state parks planner Peter Herzog, (360) 902-8652.

Closing state parks raises big questions on Bainbridge

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s cost-cutting plan to close Fay Bainbridge and Fort Ward state parks came as a surprise to many island residents and public officials.

It also raised some big questions: Will the land be sold to developers? What about the planned sewer system connecting to Point Monroe? Is the Bainbridge park district or city or even the county willing to absorb and manage the large waterfront parks? Why does Bainbridge have to suffer the loss of two of the 13 parks slated for closure?

For now, there’s more questions than answers.

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