Long-term goals for Sacajawea State Park would preserve historical areas and preserve natural areas while also providing recreational opportunities.
The state Parks and Recreation Commission approved a management plan for the park Thursday in Walla Walla designed to balance recreational use with protection of natural and cultural resources.
Work on the plan began in fall 2008 but was put on hold when the Pasco park was placed on a list of 33 parks facing closure during the 2009 state budget cuts. After the Legislature passed the $5 opt-out park donation on car tabs, Sacajawea came off the mothball list and planning resumed.
The plan doesn't call for changes in the park's boundaries and the land use designations approved by the commission will allow current recreational uses to continue.
The southern tip of the park will have a heritage classification, which will preserve the historical buildings while allowing recreation to continue, Andrew Fielding, state Parks and Recreation Commission environmental planner, said during a February meeting at the park.
The area north of that, including the boat launch and Wanapum Village and most of the rest of the park, has been designated "resource recreation." That means the public can use it for hiking, mountain biking and other recreation while preserving the environment, he said.
The riparian area along the Columbia River and the sand dunes in the middle of the park have been designated "natural," which provides a higher level of environmental protection.
The plan also identifies long-term projects for Sacajawea State Park.
Among them are connecting the park with the Columbia Plateau Trail, developing a native plant area, addressing areas where shoreline is eroding, adding to the Wanapum Village interpretive display and programs, and working with local tribes to develop educational programs and events.
The boat dock area also needs maintenance and the picnic shelter should be upgraded or replaced, according to the plan.
To see the full plan, go to www.parks.wa.gov/plans/sacajawea.