Hey friends - If you've ever been to our neck of the woods to paddle, you've likely visited Punch Bowl Falls and have probably also seen a boater or two (present company included) drink a bootie in the name of a swim. Regardless of any carnage it's caused, Punch Bowl Falls is a special place to locals and visitors for it's beauty & recreational opportunities. Please read the letter below from Heather Statan - this is a great opportunity to make a very special stretch of land available to the public for future generations!
If you ever go to the area around Punch Bowl Falls near Dee to swim, fish, kayak, hike or just enjoy nature you know what a special place it is. Hood River County is considering acquiring the property as a County Park (check out their website ) But they need to know what the community thinks. They've asked me to help coordinate the public outreach effort . . . so I'm reaching out to folks like you. Nobody knows the area better than locals--please share your ideas. Feel free to pass on this email to anyone you think might be interested.
Over the last few years, Western Rivers Conservancy purchased over 100 acres of pristine land along the Hood River to conserve critical habitat and provide public recreation access with the idea that the property would eventually be sold to the County as a public park. It is a magnificent 1.5 mile stretch of river, including Punchbowl Falls and the confluence of the East and West Forks of the Hood River (see site plan or topographic or aerial map of the property). The area has been a favorite swimming hole and fishing spot for generations, it now also sees frequent use by rafters, kayakers and outdoor education programs.
While locals have a long history of treating the area as if it were a public park, it is, in fact private property. If Hood River County is unable to acquire the property, Western Rivers Conservancy may be forced to sell it on the private market. A private sale would include a conservation easement to protect river habitat but it is likely that public access would be eliminated by future owners.
The first step towards creating a public park at Punchbowl Falls is a community visioning process. What kind of recreation opportunities should exist there? What improvements should be made and what should be left alone? How should we protect wildlife habitat?
Let us know what you think:
- Attend the public forum next Tuesday January 13 6-7:30 pm at the County Administration Building, 601 State Street, Hood River. A second forum will be on Feb. 10.
- Take this short online survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/punchbowlfalls
- Volunteer to serve on our Park Advisory Committee
- If you know the property well or use it a lot, do a stakeholder interview
Thanks so much.
Labels: hood river, Punch Bowl Falls