State Parks partner with Avista and DNR

State Parks Commission partners with Avista
and DNR to manage recreation lands in Spokane

OLYMPIA – Aug. 1, 2012 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Avista and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are partnering to manage approximately 2,000 acres of Avista and DNR property around the Spokane River. The partnership is expected to increase and improve recreational opportunities, particularly around Lake Spokane.

State Parks will manage Avista’s Nine Mile Falls and Lake Spokane Recreation areas and DNR’s Lake Spokane Campground, as part of its Riverside State Park operations. The recently signed agreement allows for efficient and cost-effective management of these areas because of their proximity to Riverside State Park.
The agreement provides for State Parks to manage the year-round operations of Avista’s public recreation areas and overlooks, including a soon-to-be-developed carry-in-only boat put-in site below Long Lake Dam and boat take-out above Nine Mile Dam and 10 boat-in-only campsites on Lake Spokane. State Parks also will manage the Nine Mile Recreation Area as well as the Long Lake Dam day-use area and will provide non-hunting season management of the South Shore Trailheads.
Additionally, State Parks will operate and manage DNR’s Lake Spokane Campground, which includes 11 campsites, a two-lane boat launch, eight picnic areas and a swim area. With increased resources, including an education and enforcement ranger, the campground and boat launch will be open for a longer season, from April 15 through Oct. 15. In the future, the campground will be expanded as part of the agreement.
“This kind of partnership aligns with State Parks’ transformation efforts where we look for opportunities to create revenue and provide a service to the public,” said State Parks Director Don Hoch. “We are thankful for this opportunity and believe State Parks’ management of these recreation lands will improve the recreational opportunities for our customers.”
As part of its federal license to operate five Spokane River hydroelectric facilities, which include Nine Mile and Long Lake dams, Avista is committed to expanding, enhancing and preserving recreation opportunities at Nine Mile and Lake Spokane to meet local recreational needs. The company does this by developing recreation resources and facilities, improving access to accommodate individuals with disabilities, and working with others to improve, operate and maintain these resources, including recreation sites owned by third-parties, such as DNR’s Lake Spokane Campground.
The management of these areas allows State Parks to offer additional pubic recreation opportunities while managing a variety of recreation areas adjacent to Nine Mile and Lake Spokane in a cohesive manner.
“We expect this partnership to benefit our communities with improved recreation experiences at these sites,” said Speed Fitzhugh, Spokane River License Manager for Avista. “State Parks can provide daily operations and administration expertise and help reduce Avista’s costs.”
Avista has agreed to compensate State Parks a total of $85,000 annually for management of these lands. Avista also has agreed to contribute $140,000 for the expansion of the DNR campground. Once the Lake Spokane Campground expansion has been completed, Avista will pay an annual total of $90,000 to State Parks for the operation and management of Avista and DNR recreation lands.
As with other state parks, the Discover Pass will be required for day use at these recreation sites. In addition, campsites will cost $12 per night and boat launching will be $7 per launch.
The Discover Pass, which is transferable between two vehicles, allows visitors to enjoy millions of acres of Washington state-managed recreation lands, including state parks, water-access points, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, trails and trailheads. The pass must be displayed on vehicles when visiting recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The 2011 Legislature created the pass to help replace general fund tax money no longer available to cover the costs to operate state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit


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