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Wash. Fishing Resort on Sale Block

November 13, 2007 by   - () Leave a Comment

Nestled along the southwestern edge of the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Washington’s coast, the small town of Sekiu has a memorable history of sport salmon fishing that dates back before World War II.
It’s not uncommon at the height of summer to see no-vacancy signs posted on motels, restaurants full of customers in the predawn hours and campgrounds filled to the brim with tents and RVs.
But there could be some changes on the horizon as prospective private land buyers are interested in altering the look of this fishing town, according to the Seattle Times.
The Coho Resort campground and marina, which opened its doors to anglers in 1960, is for sale.
“There is an interested party from Canada, but it hasn’t been sold yet and we’ve been hearing a lot of rumors flying around that we’ve already been sold,” said Chester Kimple, the son-in-law of the resort’s owner, Warren Konopaski of Port Angeles, Wash.
Word has it the interested buyers want to build condominiums or a gated community on the hillside.
“I think the community is kind of divided as far as the sale of the Coho goes, and some see it as good and some see it as bad,” said Bill Drath, president of the Clallam Bay-Sekiu Chamber of Commerce.
“There are a couple of hundred campsites on that land, and so I’m not sure where those people are going to go if it is sold, but the area also needs housing.”
Just down the road sits Olson’s Resort, the largest marina and motel in Sekiu.
It also is up for sale, but the Olson family has different plans compared to turning their beloved resort over to private land developers. Olson’s Resort has 400 to 450 tie-up boat spaces on the docks, 33 complete motel units, cabins, trailers and houses for overnight rental, and the campground and RV areas can accommodate hundreds of people.
Drath said the whole community is grateful for what owners Arlen and Donalynn Olson are trying to do, and they are giving up a lot of money to pursue it.
“I’d hate to see Sekiu lose any more businesses because pretty soon you’re not a fishing town, and it turns into a retirement community and that doesn’t pay the bills,” said Chris Mohr, owner of Van Riper’s Resort in Sekiu. “Personally, I am happy for the Konopaski family from a family standpoint, but as for a business, to lose the Coho Resort is not a good thing.”
Mohr said he believes the pending sale of the Coho Resort could take away business from the area.
“We are all kind of a piece to the puzzle,” Mohr said. “You lose one piece and it just makes the town smaller. What happens when all the rooms or campsites in town are filled up, and someone calls and can’t find a place to stay? Then they’ll probably go elsewhere.”

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