The Port of Woodland is seeking additional information from the community regarding planning for public access, recreation and habitat at Austin Point. A survey has been established and can be accessed at surveymonkey.com/r/JDYMVCG. It will close Nov. 30. This survey is open to anyone — not just Port of Woodland District residents.
Plans for Austin point separate the area into segments: north, central and south.
“The Commission wants to get the community’s feedback and support for those who want to recreate along the Columbia River. This will provide areas for fishermen, horse riders, walkers, swimmers and boaters,” Commissioner Bob Wile stated in a press release.
The north access area has an initial plan of a minimal parking lot with a pedestrian path from the parking lot to the beach area close to the Woodland Islands. Improvements to the site are considered minimal, preserving the wetland and beach areas and accommodating tidal influences along the shore, the press release stated.
The central access area will be the main public access area, with a parking lot, bathroom facility, fish cleaning station, playground and park area and pedestrian trail that will link to the south access area. The central segment is the current public access area at Austin Point. The site will have the most significant changes with septic, water and lighting added to serve the amenities. Additionally, picnic shelters and benches will be added.
“We have heard from the public who want public access. We feel that public access desires can and will be met even with any future industrial development at Austin Point. One does not preclude the other, as we have seen successfully with ports in Kalama, Vancouver, Bellingham and Everett. This is what we want to bring to Woodland,” Commissioner Paul Cline said in the press release.
The south access area will be located from the current wetland buffer area through to the point. This will feature a mix of mitigation and public access. Plans include removing invasive species, excavating channels for fish stream development, loosening trails, planting native species, and creating a trail system with a boardwalk through the critical areas to ensure the surrounding habitat will be minimally impacted. These trails will be wide enough to accommodate people and horses. Pavilions, picnic shelters and other amenities will be added to areas along the shore that are outside the critical habitat and wetland areas, according to the press release.
“Planning in a holistic manner for public access, mitigation and industrial development creates a more succinct plan for the federal, state and local agencies to understand the vision for the Port’s waterfront. By implementing the plan for public access while the Port continues its infrastructure investigations provides a direct benefit to the Port District sooner rather than later,” Commissioner Rob Rich stated.
These initial plans are preliminary and meet the feedback received from the public in 2022. The port is seeking to solidify plans to apply for Washington State Recreation and Conservation grant funding in 2024.
People can provide comments, concerns, support and questions through the Port at AustinPoint@portofwoodland.com. For more information about the 2022 open house information, visit https://portofwoodland.com/austin-point. Detailed reports like Appendix M have details on the public access information and concepts through the initial public comments.
For more information, contact Jennifer Wray-Keene, firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-225-6555.