(information related to the land that used to be the Satus Pass Ski Area)
Item E-2: Satus Pass PropertyRecreational LeasesRequested Action
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item asks the Commission to authorize staff to continue investigating the viability of long-term recreation leases of state park property located near Satus Pass to private parties. This item complies with our Centennial 2013 Plan element, Our Commitment Financial Strategy.
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Satus Pass Ski Area was acquired from Harry and Marie Keech in 1951. This 160-acre property is located two miles north of Brooks Memorial State Park, and approximately 12 miles northeast of Goldendale in Klickitat County. In 1966, the State Parks Commission declared the Satus Pass Ski Area property to be surplus and excess to the foreseeable future needs of the State Parks and Recreation Commission and transferred the parcel at no cost to Klickitat County to operate as a local ski resort. A condition was placed on the deed that required the property be returned to State Parks should the county cease to operate the area for public recreation.
The property, which included a lodge facility and ski-rope tow, was operated as a ski resort until the lodge burned down in the 1980s. Following the fire, the ski area closed and the property sat unused for any public purpose. In 2001, Klickitat County returned the property to State Parks pursuant to the deed reservation.
In June 2005, the Commission declared that the Satus Pass property was not consistent with the Commissions Centennial 2013 Vision for park properties. Since that date, staff has considered a number of alternatives relative to the long-term management or disposal of the property. After initial research associated with determining what the legal uses of the property are, staff has produced four management options:
1. Sell at public auction.
2. Transfer all or a portion of the property at fair market value to another governmental entity.
3. Long-term concession type lease offered to a private party.
4. Multiple recreational leases offered at public auction.
Staff has discussed the future of the Satus Pass property at the Lands Workshop and believes that the concept of long-term recreational leases merits additional exploration. The concept is consistent with Commission statutory authority and policy, and allows State Parks to maximize return on investment while continuing to provide an agency stewardship role for the property.
State Parks staff will work with local regulators and consult with other stakeholders including the Yakama Nation on this idea. If the concept can be shown to be viable, staff will return to the Commission seeking authority to proceed. Please refer to Appendix 1 for next steps, a conceptual design, and area photos.
Appendix 1: Legal Description, Next steps, Conceptual Site Design, and Area Photos
Appendix 2: Statutory Authority
Appendix 3: Additional Project Description and Preliminary Revenue Modeling
REQUESTED ACTION OF COMMISSION:
That the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission:
1. Authorize staff to explore the concept of long-term recreational leases for the Satus Pass Ski Area property.
2. Direct that staff return to the Commission for further direction on the concept of long-term recreational leases, provided that staff confirms that the concept is valid, legally attainable and in the best interest of the Commission and public.
3. Find that the action is consistent with the Commissions Centennial 2013 Vision and Plan.
Hyak Ski and Snowboard Adventure
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