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Options for boat ramp still afloat

HANSVILLE — The Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking for something they can’t quite get their fingers on in an effort to help local boaters enjoy the waters around the Point No Point area.

Engineers for the DFW are researching options to replace, if not just fix, the public boat ramp off Point No Point road. The amenity was shut down last year after 75 years of use, said Vic Nelson, the caretaker of the park area around the boat ramp.

The rail-system that allowed boaters easy access to the water, was shut down by the state for safety reasons.

“The track needed repairs,” Nelson explained. “The piling and cross ties that are holding the track up needed to be replaced.”

Since the ramp was shut down, engineers have been trying to come up with a feasible funding plan, said Pete Dietrichson, a land manager with the DFW, who noted that this project is especially vital due to the large amount of fishing that goes on in the area.

Several options have been already been presented to the public, including the installation of a concrete ramp. However, such a structure would only be usable during high tide because nearby eel grass was causing habitat concerns. As a result, the proposal didn’t go over well with the public, Dietrichson said.

Another option, which had a better chance of funding, was to install a larger ramp near the lighthouse but the public and property owners as well as the county, weren’t very receptive to that idea either, Dietrichson explained.

Traffic, the size of boats and parking were major issues that concerned the public, he added.

Dietrichson said the public is asking the state to just fix the rail, but engineers argue that because the system in place — which essentially transports people in a boat down the ramp — the new rail would be equivalent to an amusement park ride and it would be difficult to obtain funds to develop that project.

He said the state is looking for public comment and will be holding a meeting soon to hear more public opinion. The date, location and time of the next meeting were not available at press time.

“We are trying to come up with several options with what could work and what we can get in the way of funding,” Dietrichson explained. “If funding is not available, then (we have to) look other places. But it’s a fairly lengthy process I’m afraid.”

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