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Access on the Middle-Middle

Posted: 12/04/2000
by Tom O'Keefe

Takeout for the Middle-Middle

As the closest intermediate whitewater to Seattle and the most convenient river for after-work paddling trips on weekdays, continued access to the Middle section of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie is an important issue for area boaters. While access at the current takeout is adequate and is conveniently located at the end of the class III whitewater, it's location on a dead-end residential street is cause for concern. Recent events on the Skykomish and Wenatchee remind us all that we can't take access for granted.

King County has been working on a plan for development of an improved access site near the existing takeout for the Middle-Middle. They have asked local paddling groups for input on boater needs, initiated the process to secure funding, and are in the midst of negotiations to secure an acceptable site. We should know more regarding their progress sometime during summer 2002.

The new takeout may be as far as a few hundred yards downstream or further. Some paddlers have raised an issue over the increased paddling distance, especially for those trying to get in a quick after work run, so it's important to monitor the situation while keeping the practical issues in mind (i.e. the site has to be in a place where King County can get the land to make it happen).

Specific actions you can take

  • Use discretion at the current takeout to prevent further conflict with property owners. Don't wander in the street when cars are trying to get by, be discrete when changing, keep dogs close by, and don't zoom away at top speed as you head for the put-in. We know from the closure of the Skykomish put-in that it can take just a single incident to break the camel's back and initiate a closure.
  • If you are not affiliated with a local boating group, join one. Even if you don't particpate in club trips this is your way of gaining representation with county planners when it comes time to make decisions. Make sure your group's access chair stays informed on the needs of boaters on this reach.
  • Communicate with your local reprentatives in county and state government. Let them know that recreational access is important to you. In particular let them know that you support the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

Jason Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349