Too few people are aware that at this very moment in time, the future of Liberty Lake Regional County Park is being set in stone.
The Long-Range Master Plan is on schedule to be finished before 2018 even creeps in. This Master Plan will dictate the very real future of our 3,600-acre park bordering Liberty Lake.
“THE PARK MIGHT BE LOUD. THE PARK MIGHT BE CROWDED.” This is a direct quote from the “Tourism and Visitation” park concept being considered by Spokane County. I know I only speak for myself, but these are the last words I want to hear about Liberty Lake Regional County Park. https://www.llrp-masterplan.com/
Let’s step back for a moment though and start with a proper introduction. Not many people know that Liberty Lake Regional County Park is one of the largest county parks in the state of Washington. In fact, there are only 9 state parks larger than our own local park. The 2 largest state parks in Washington are surprisingly located in Spokane County. It appears we have quite the monopoly on State & County Park acreage.
Why do I mention this? Well you see, state parks are an indispensable and substantial economic driver for Washington, contributing over $1.4 billion a year. An average of $1.5 billion in consumer expenditures for outdoors and travel equipment, over 14,000 jobs and approximately $212 million in local, state and federal tax are generated by Washington State Parks annually. Given that there are only 9 state parks larger than Liberty Lake Regional County Park in Washington state, it would appear creating “THE PARK MIGHT BE LOUD. THE PARK MIGHT BE CROWDED” tourist destination makes great business sense.
However, we have all learned the hard way that great business strategy rarely equals a great quality of life. In fact, when we get to the root of it, our community knows quite a few important details about our own hometown park, and the time is now to let them be heard. The future Liberty Lake Regional County Park is in our hands, but only for a brief sliver in time, for all components of the Master Plan are expected to be complete by this very December of 2017.
We know that Liberty Lake Regional County Park’s lake shore beach is the ONLY public access our city residents have to our namesake lake. Within our park lies jungle gym equipment for our children and shelters and pavilions to hold our gatherings, weddings, reunions, and in my case, Cub Scout pack meetings. The community barbecue area, cozy campground and quiet miles of beautiful back country trail, all round out our extraordinary local gem.
We know that all of this natural wonder lies at the end of S. Neyland Ave and S. Lakeside Road, our twisting and winding, two lane residential roads, that slowly weave through our montane forest. Unless you are one of the few who reside in the southern most area of County Park, you know that S. Neyland Ave and S. Lakeside Road are the ONLY way in and out of our hidden and beloved park.
The Long-Range Master Plan being formed as we speak is the first update for Liberty Lake Regional County Park since the original master plan was created in the early 1970’s. A new Master Plan is necessary due to the park’s current and future growth and popularity, as stated by Spokane County. In fact, the home page of the Master Plan website states, “Liberty Lake Regional Park Master Plan, A new, long-range master plan for a Spokane County gem!”. Let’s really key in here on “Spokane County gem!”.
Spokane County is also pursuing acquisition of the “Zephyr Lodge Property” in order to expand lake shore frontage, and they plan to demolish all older structures on the site. This is a whole nother story in itself though.
Take a few moments to research the three conceptual plans proposed for our local county park. The plan options are listed under “Library” on the Liberty Lake Regional Park Master Plan website, https://www.llrp-masterplan.com. Please take the time to leave your thoughts and comments on the Master Plan website. You may be extremely surprised at what you will find when reviewing the documented future plans and ideas for our hometown park. A few minutes of your life today, will change the next 20 years of our future tomorrows.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Liberty Lake Gazette.
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