Budget Cuts Delay Northwest Park Opening
Federal budget cuts have delayed the opening of Fallsview Campground south of Quilcene, Wash., which a chamber of commerce leader sees as a threat to the community’s economy.
The 30-site recreational vehicle and camper/tent campground, off U.S. Highway 101 about 3.5 miles south of Quilcene, has been open in April in years past, but was most recently left closed through June, according to the Peninsula Daily, Port Angeles, Wash.
That’s why the Jefferson County commissioners, with the Quilcene-Brinnon Chamber of Commerce’s blessing, sent letters Monday (June 2) to congressional leaders, asking for additional funding to keep the campground open in June.
Letters were sent to U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, and U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both Democrats.
County Commissioner John Austin, D-Port Ludlow, urged his fellow board members on Monday to send the letters.
“It always helps,” said Lisa Hames, Quilcene-Brinnon Chamber of Commerce president. “The more people that stay in the area and have a place to stay, it helps our economy. It helps the grocery store, our restaurants and gas stations.”
With only a few spaces available at the county campground in Quilcene, she said, the Fallsview campground is the largest in the area.
“It used to open April 1, so every year their budget gets trimmed more and more,” Hames said.
Susie Graham, recreational manager for U.S. Forest Service’s Hood Canal Ranger District, based in Hoodsport, said the park well that serves the Fallsview southern campsite had been shut down because it no longer meets state water quality standards.
Costly portable toilets had to be brought in to replace the flush toilets left without water, she said. “A lot of opening it later is (due to) budget cuts,” she said. “We don’t get a lot of people using the campground in June, so we’ve opened it a little later.”
The campground, which overlooks the Big Quilcene River valley and a 100-foot waterfall cascading into it, should be open before the Fourth of July, said Graham. The campground will close again two weeks into September, she said.