Zach Koda of Puyallup lands a pink salmon at the Puyallup River in Puyallup. Lui Kit Wong News Tribune file
Zach Koda of Puyallup lands a pink salmon at the Puyallup River in Puyallup. Lui Kit Wong News Tribune file

Puyallup: News

Proposed boat ramp could provide easier, safer access to Puyallup River

By Allison Needles

aneedles@puyallupherald.com

October 02, 2017 3:26 PM

A potential boat ramp on the Puyallup River in the vicinity of 378 North Levee Road E. could provide easier recreational and emergency access to the river.

The Pierce County Council allocated $25,000 in funding in the 2017 Pierce County Budget to begin a design and evaluation of a public boat ramp after Pierce County staff met with representatives from the Puyallup Tribe, Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, the state legislation delegation and local sport fishing enthusiasts in April.

Pierce County Councilwoman Pam Roach said the project garnered interest from many local groups.

“It’s kind of one of those projects where everybody says, ‘This could be good for us,’” Roach said.

Bonney Lake resident David Patrick brought the project to the attention of the Council. A member of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Pierce County Chapter, Patrick has been fishing in the area for 25 years. Over that time, the river has suffered from pollution, he said.

“We have to create a community environment where people start appreciating the river for what it is,” Patrick said. “I’m trying to do a number of things, (the ramp) just being one. It’s all in harmony to improve the environmental situation.”

Patrick also noted that there’s no other boat launch available for rescue situations aside from at the mouth of Commencement Bay.

Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, Puyallup Tribal Police and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department help with Puyallup River water rescues, and Puyallup officers are learning to train with inflatable “throw bags,” but water rescues remain rare in the area, said Puyallup police Capt. Scott Engle.

The ramp would also increase recreational use for fishing and improve the economy, said Patrick, who’s working to increase salmon quantities by 40 percent in the Puyallup River.

“I just think it would be good for the city, it’d be good for the state and it’d be good for Pierce County with the economic impact it’d have,” he said.

I just think it would be good for the city, it’d be good for the state and it’d be good for Pierce County with the economic impact it’d have.

David Patrick, Coastal Conservation Association member and fisherman

Roach and other members of the Council discussed a status report of the project at a Sept. 20 Pierce County Council meeting at the Sumner Sportsmen’s Association in Puyallup. Possible conflicts with the ramp were addressed, such as concern over interference of fishing during the bi-annual run of pink salmon. It was suggested that restricting access to the ramp during these seasons would avoid the problem.

“Any problems that we might have we’re addressing them,” Roach said.

Early conceptual designs of the ramp were shared at the meeting, but location could potentially move. An area reserved for handicapped fishermen was also proposed by Patrick.

Early conceptual designs of the ramp were shared at the meeting, but location could potentially move. An area reserved for handicapped fishermen was also proposed.

At the same meeting, the creation of an Outdoor Sports and Recreation Council was approved with representatives from local interest groups, including the CCA. It’s likely they’ll be involved with the project moving forward. The city of Puyallup has also expressed an interest in the project.

“The next step is going to be (looking) for funding and grant opportunities,” Patrick said.

Allison Needles: 253-597-8507, @herald_allison

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