Outdoors

Wildfires force closure of 3 state parks in Chelan area

Timber burns in the First Creek fire near lakeside structures on the western shore of Lake Chelan late Monday, near Lake Chelan State Park. That park, and two others, have been closed because of wildfires.
Timber burns in the First Creek fire near lakeside structures on the western shore of Lake Chelan late Monday, near Lake Chelan State Park. That park, and two others, have been closed because of wildfires. The Associated Press

People planning to visit or camp at state parks in central and eastern Washington should be aware some remain closed due to wildfires.

At deadline, Lake Chelan, Twenty-five Mile Creek and Alta Lake state parks are closed because of fires.

Washington State Parks will be issuing refunds to people who had reservations at campgrounds that have been closed because of fires.

At Conconully, Field Springs and Curlew Lake state parks, visitors are cautioned that fire crews also are staying in those parks. Visitors should watch for fire equipment moving in and out of the parks. Also, because some crews work at night and sleep during the day, visitors at those parks are being asked to keep away from the fire camps.

State Parks officials said they are posting updates on the websites for impacted parks, as well as putting information on the agency’s Facebook page. You also can sign up for email and text alerts.

At North Cascade National Park, the Newhalem Creek Campground, and the Upper and Lower Goodell group camps have been closed because of the Goodell Fire burning near the town of Newhalem. The park’s visitor center remains open. Late last week, smoke and flames from the lightning-caused fire could be seen from state Route 20 (North Cascades Highway).

With two dozen major fires burning around the state, South Sound residents should check with the status of their destination before leaving home.

SAINT EDWARDS PROPOSAL

A meeting will be held Tuesday to review a new proposal for rehabilitating the Saint Edward Seminary in Kenmore.

Daniels Real Estate, a development firm specializing in historic preservation projects, has submitted to State Parks a new concept proposal for rehabilitating the seminary building. Representatives from the firm will present a summary of their proposal at a public workshop from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Northshore Utility, 6830 NE 185th St., Kenmore.

State Parks staff also will be on hand to describe, from the agency’s perspective, what steps will be necessary for the proposal to move forward. The public will have the opportunity to comment and ask questions.

The public also can submit comments by Sept. 3 by contacting Michael Hankinson, parks planner, at 360-902-8671 or michael.hankinson@parks.wa.gov.

The 90,000 square-foot building is part of Saint Edward State Park, a 316-acre day-use park with 3,000 feet of shoreline on Lake Washington.

NPS CELEBRATION

Access to state and national parks will be free Tuesday, as both agencies celebrate the 99th birthday of the National Park Service. That will include local destinations such as Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks, and Dash Point, Tolmie, Penrose Point and Millersylvania state parks.

On Aug. 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation creating the National Park Service, which now operates 408 sites throughout the country.

Each site, no matter whether it is a national park, historic site or a national historic reserve, was established to protect, preserve and share its national significance for future generations.

“The National Park Service’s 99th birthday is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the role of national parks in the American story,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a press release. “And it’s also a time to look ahead to our centennial year, and the next 100 years. These national treasures belong to all of us, and we want everyone — especially the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates — to discover and connect with their national parks.”

As the Park Service prepares for the centennial celebration in 2016, it and the National Park Foundation have partnered to encourage people to discover the nation’s parks. The website, findyourpark.com, lists 99 ways to “find your park” including activities ranging from urban hikes to taking a sunrise selfie, from earning a Junior Ranger Badge to writing poetry.

At state parks, visitors will not need a Discover Pass. It is one of 11 days this year during which a pass is not necessary to enter state parks.

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