Washington's park system might once again operate Lyons Ferry Park near Starbuck.
The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a 25-year lease of the park, which is on federal land at the confluence of the Palouse and Snake rivers in Franklin County. The state would operate and maintain the park.
Initially, the plan only includes day use, although the state could reopen the overnight campground and add a boat dock at some time in the future, according to the Corps.
The park was built for public recreation as part of the Lower Monumental Dam project, but with the state responsible for its upkeep and operation.
However, under budget pressure, the state terminated its lease in 2003 after operating the park since 1971.
The Corps policy is to close leased parks returned to the Corps, but it made an exception for Lyons Ferry. It was leased to a private concessionaire and then the Port of Columbia, which found a new concessionaire, but it did not generate enough revenue to continue either of those arrangements.
In 2011, the Corps began relying on volunteers to help keep the day use area of the park open for limited hours.
The park includes a swimming beach, day-use area, campground, boat launch, restrooms, bathhouse, trails and other facilities, including a shop, residences and an administrative area.
The state would focus its work in the first five years on the repair and renovation of the day-use and administration facilities.
In the first year, that could include renovating the bathhouse, boat launch parking area and water pumping system. The state would repair the boat launch float, and demolish the day use parking lot and exterior lighting.
During the next four years, work could include restarting the trailer dump.
The boat dock proposed under longer term plans could accommodate 10 boats and feature a pier with a ramp out to the moorage float system.
If a lease agreement is signed with the state, officials hope volunteers will continue to help with the park, said Virginia Painter, spokeswoman for Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
Visitors likely would need a state Discover Pass, which costs $30 per year or $10 for one day per vehicle.
The Corps has released a draft environmental assessment for the proposed lease to the state. Comments may be submitted through the end of this month to NEPANWW@usace.army.mil or to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CENWW-PD-EX -- LF Park Lease EA, 201 N. Third Ave., Walla Walla, WA 99362-1876.
-- Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; acary@tri cityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews