Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Broken down boaters on Dworshak Reservoir could be in dire straits

The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has had a large decrease to its recreation budget for 2012+13 and plans to shorten its operating season at several recreation areas at Dworshak Reservoir.

The Corps has also closed or transferred other sites to private management since Oct. 1, 2011. This included the elimination of the gate attendant and maintenance contracts at Dent Acres Campground and boat ramp.

In addition, nine infrequently used sites have been closed, to date, and 25 additional sites have been identified as possible closures.

Most importantly, the declining recreation bud-get has decimated funding for the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Department Marine Program at Dworshak Reservoir, and as a result, there will be fewer patrols on the lake.

The Corps of Engineers is looking for entrepreneurs to fill the gap created by the decreased Dworshak Reservoir recreation budget by asking private individuals to create a towing service business in and around Orofino, to provide towing and retrieval services for more than 85 boats a year.

Previous attempts by the Corps has failed to generate interest in operating a full-time boat towing and retrieval operation that would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for Dworshak Reservoir, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Once again, an urgent plea is being sent out, in the hope of locating someone willing to start a private towing business that would be on call as needed, and who would have the ability to set rates and bill individual boat owners accordingly. Interested individuals can contact Paul Pence at the Dworshak offices in Ahsahka or Loren Whitten-Kaboth at Clearwater County Economic Development.

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