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Hansville boat ramp proposal treading water
HANSVILLE — A boat ramp proposal has riled some residents in a town that once teemed with fishermen.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to install a launch for small sport boats on property it owns just west of the Point No Point lighthouse. It’s a proposal that has evolved for more than a decade.
Rick Troemel, who represents the Hillview and Point No Point neighborhood on the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council said some residents are concerned the state won’t have the money to pay for maintenance of the site. Increased traffic is also a worry.
The state needs to realize that Hansville is no longer a collection of resorts and vacation homes, he said.
“This is in a neighborhood where people live,” Troemel said. “This isn’t a fishing village with summer houses.”
The ramp plan has taken a step forward and a step back over the last two months.
In December, Fish and Wildlfife issued a determination of nonsignifcance for the project. The determination is essentially a document stating the project won’t have major impact and doesn’t require a full environmental review.
But the department yanked the determination after a number of commenters, including the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council and the county, disagreed with that assessment. The department plans to meet with concerned groups Feb. 18 before taking the plans any further. The ramp will also be discussed at a Feb. 9 Hansville advisory council meeting.
Penny Warren, who is managing the project for Fish and Wildlife, said most of the comments received were in support of the ramp project. But she said the department wants to sort through the concerns that remain in the community.
“We’ll talk about the issues,” Warren said. “We’ve done the best job we can do so far in terms of impact to the community.”
Right now the closest boat launches outside of Hansville are in Eglon, Kingston and Salisbury County Park. But that hasn’t deterred anglers from fishing the point.
Fishermen and women line the beaches casting for salmon in the summer and a few patrol the shores year-round on foot. Bremerton sports fisherman Marty Mollison launches his dinghy from the beach where the ramp will be built. He’s friends with the property’s caretaker.
Mollison admits he’s probably in a small minority of anglers who’d rather not see the new launch built.
“I like the serenity,” Mollison said as he prepared to launch Tuesday. “When they open it up, this place is going to be packed.”
Fish and Wildlife has scaled back plans for the ramp dramatically since it bought the property in 1996.
Initially the department planned to revamp a 300-foot rail launch that came with the property, a former resort. After a series of public meetings, the proposal has boiled down to a simple ramp, big enough for boats up to 18 feet. In fact, the ramp is designed to discourage bigger boats and trailers, which would add to traffic congestion Warren said. The rail system and pilings will be removed. The buildings on shore will be leveled to make room for parking for 33 cars and 36 boat trailers as well as a pre-made bathroom.
The project will be funded with a grant from the state Recreation Conservation Office.
Even if the construction is paid for, some in Hansville worry there won’t be money to keep the property maintained and its rules enforced.
Troemel said the department is strapped for operating money, and he wonders if it can keep up collecting litter, pumping out the restroom, enforcing ramp rules and chasing away interlopers after dark.
The biggest concern is parking. Cars already back up along Point No Point Road on busy summer days at the lighthouse. Fish and Wildlife estimates the ramp could add 60 trips a day to the road.
“It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Troemel said. “It just needs to be controlled.”
Warren said the department should be able to handle maintenance of the property with its current resources. Times are tight, she said, but boat ramps are designed to be utilitarian.
“They’re not places for people to go and spend time,” she said.