Efforts to create a new regional parks and recreation district took a major step forward last week.
Organizers finalized the proposed boundaries of the area that would be included, and also settled on a formal name for the district: It will be known as the "Mount Adams Parks & Recreation District."
Members of the district formation committee explained that the name was chosen because the group wants to convey the fact that the district will offer benefits to a wide area that extends far beyond White Salmon.
Within Klickitat County, the parks and recreation district's boundaries correspond with the boundaries of the Port of Klickitat's voting area. That area includes the communities of Bingen, White Salmon, Glenwood, Snowden, Trout Lake, Appleton, Husum, BZ Corner, Lyle, Klickitat, and Dallesport.
In Skamania County, Underwood is included within the district's boundaries. Underwood is defined as covering residents living within two specific voting precincts: North Underwood and South Underwood.
"The County Commissioners will review the proposed boundaries and hold hearings. They can approve, disapprove, or change the boundaries," said Dana Scheffler, a member of the formation committee.
However, Scheffler explained that as far as the parks and recreation district committee was concerned, the boundaries are now set.
"This is what we are submitting. The County Commissioners may elect to change it, but it's what we are submitting," he said.
Now that the boundaries have been drawn, the next step is to create the petition to form a district.
Fifteen percent of the registered voters within the proposed final boundaries for the district would need to sign the petition to qualify it for the ballot.
If that goal is met, the issue will go on the November general election ballot.
According to committee member Bill Ward, a parks and recreation district will provide many benefits.
"It will be for the ongoing maintenance and operation of a proposed new aquatic center, and will benefit the safety, health, and well-being of our communities through after-school youth programs, adult community education, trails, bike lanes, community gardens, and other projects deemed necessary by the district," Ward said.
"This is about the possibilities of improving our lives here. There is a need for a parks and recreation district," added committee member Tom Wooding. "We're also hoping that candidates to be district commissioners will start to step forward to join us at community meetings and describe what they want to see for the parks and recreation district."
The petition drive that would create the district is planned to begin in March.
"We're feeling like our timeline is starting to back up on us," said Scheffler. "We're going to the communities to find out what the interest is. We haven't had time to get to everybody yet."
Scheffler pointed out that no community has rejected the idea of the parks and recreation district -- but some areas have not shown much interest.
"We don't want to drag anybody into the boundaries," said Wooding.
"If we get resistance, we can pull an area out," added Ward.
Once the petitions go out for signatures, the formation committee hopes to have them completed in about 30 days.
Anyone interested in helping with the petition drive, or being a park and recreation district commissioner, can contact Bill Ward by phone at 493-1800, or by e-mail at: