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Residents using social media, internet for lobbying park’s reopening
OLALLA — A group of South Kitsap residents are using social media and the Internet to lobby for the reopening of a county park closed three years ago.
They have scheduled a meeting at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, at the Olalla Community Club, 12970 Olalla Valley Road, to generate interest, share information and encourage involvement in getting the park reopened.
“This will be our first meeting that we have opened up to the community,” said Rebecca Brown, an Olalla resident.
Brown said no Kitsap County officials have been invited to the meeting, but they are welcome to attend.
“We’ve advertised around town and on website and Facebook pages about the meeting,” Brown said. “I’m sure the county officials know we’re meeting. I’d be a little surprised if they came.”
Brown said the meeting will be focused on letting South Kitsap residents know the park exists, where it is located and how to access it.
“Some people who live a mile away from it, didn’t know a park was there,” she noted.
Preserve Anderson Point Park’s Facebook page was created in July with about 80 members, while another Facebook page — Kitsap citizens for opening Anderson Point Park (Olalla) — has more than 100 members.
Last month, a cartoon appeared on the SaveAnderson.blogspot.com depicting a fox guarding a hen house. In the cartoon, the Kitsap County Parks Department is the farmer, Millihanna Road residents the fox and the park as the hen house.
Also, residents are emailing District 2 Commissioner Charlotte Garrido and attending county park board meetings.
Anderson Point Park, which officially became a county park in 2000, was closed in December 2010 because of weather-related damages.
The 72-acre park, located at the end of Millihanna Road, was slammed by rain and more than a dozen mudslides on Dec. 12, 2010.
Heavy rains washed out part of the trail between the parking area and beach. It reduced the path from 12-15 feet in width to 7-10 feet. The county decided it was unsafe.
Brown said she recently walked on the park trail.
“When I was there, the ground was cold and hard, completely passable and completely safe in that state,” she said.
She said the county’s concern is the possible future damage.
“It’s the possibility that the ground could fall out at any moment is the main concern,” Brown said.
The park, with sandy beaches and unspoiled forest land, was purchased by Kitsap County for $1 million in 1999.
Now, the residents are trying to get the park reopened after it was closed three years ago, but they have an obstacle in their way.
According to SaveAnderson.blogspot.com, residents living on Millihanna Road got together and erected a locked gate across the road after convincing the parks department they had the rights to do it. In June, the gate was installed without any formal agreement with the county and with no public knowledge or input.
Most people accessed the park through the road, but it is now blocked off to the majority of the public. The park can only be accessed from the water.
For more information about the meeting, contact Brown at 253-254-5538.
“We’re not going to make the meeting formal,” Brown said. “For the first 15 minutes it will be a meet-and-greet. Then several people will take turns speaking about reopening the park and information sharing.”
A Kitsap County Parks Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the conference room of the Kitsap Sun Pavilion Center at the fairgrounds. Residents will be allowed three minutes to speak during public comments.