From Evergreen Trail Guide
History of Advocacy at Dash Point State Park
11/4/08 Update by Jon Kennedy
This year, Washington State Parks has been engaged in a land-use planning project for Dash Point State Park in Federal Way called the CAMP process. CAMP stands for “Classification and Management Planning”, and the process includes four stages:
- Identify issues and concerns
- Explore alternative approaches
- Prepare preliminary recommendations
- Prepare final recommendations
The year-long process addresses visitor experiences, natural and cultural resources, park’s buildings, recreation fields and trail use, and among other things. This process for Dash Point began back at the beginning of 2008 and as it progressed a natural area designation was proposed for a number of trails there including many previously open to bikes. Mountain bikers attended many of the meetings opposing this designation which would ban bikes as they are for low-intensity use only due to sensitive or rare resources. After working with Evergreen and local advocates, that designation has been altered and the trail system and forest ecosystem have been designated as a Resource Recreation area which are suitable for low to medium use levels… bicycle use falls in this spectrum. The key here was working with the Parks Department to focus the stream and wetland restoration concepts into management recommendations instead of land classification. This provides more flexibility in the trail management process, such as options to reroute trails to avoid sensitive ecological areas. Evergreen has written a letter of support for the recommendation and has offered to work with State Parks to contribute to the maintenance of the trail systems by offering our expertise and volunteer efforts. This group will maintain and monitor trail and resource conditions to ensure sustainability.
The next step in the process is to take the land classification and long-term boundary portion of the CAMP to the Commission on November 13th in Vancouver, WA. This process will also include a request to approve bicycle use in Resource Recreation Areas, which is a conditional use. While this recommendation is still subject to final approval, the goal would be to have the Region Director appoint a cross-section of user group, community, and stewardship representatives with a defined charter in developing the trail plan. We are confident and don’t see any issues with requesting the Commission to approve the use of bicycles. It is simply part of the land management process to identify where this use is suitable.
More info on the process and meeting minutes can be found at http://www.parks.wa.gov/plans/dash-saltwater/
It appears that mountain biker feedback and response in the CAMP process is being listened to. Ryan Karlson has recently emailed an updated map that excludes most all trails from being in the Natural Zone. We'll try to get it posted as soon as possible, for mountain bikers to review, and we hope to get feedback from mountain bikers on it. We also are moving to get official Evergreen work parties started up as well, email Jon Kennedy Jon@bbtc.org or give an email to Dashpointaction@hotmail.com to join a list of riders that want to learn more, and be in the current loop of the goings on at Dash Point.
- The CAMP process for Dash Point State Park is underway. Final recommendation has not yet been completed. Any comments you make will go on the official record and will help when the CAMP recommendation goes before the State Parks Board for the final say.
Ryan Karlson is heading the CAMP process send him an email with any specific concerns. Ryan.Karlson@parks.wa.gov
Older Map link, please replace with new. 
State Park Link showing latest proposal.
Trails that fall within the Natural Zone will be permanently closed to mountain biking. The latest CAMP recommendation has a wide swath surrounding the creek basin which would eliminate access outright to Beach Trail and Fern Gully. It was easy to see that this will also effectively end access on Outbound Trail and the Eastern stretch of Boundary Trail since they both end in the Natural Zone as they tie into Beach Trail.
This poses a great problem as lower parking lot access and beach access has been effectively cut off. To access the upper trails by the lower parking lot which has facilities you now have to ride up a dangerous steep skinny road where sharing the road vehicles is unreasonably dangerous and unnecessary.
Even though many trails in the upper section do not fall in a Natural Zone that doesn't mean that they are safe from future closure. Mountain Bikers need to have people step up to say they will help with trail maintenance, and that we can provide qualified trail builders that can fix wet section, much like we have done at Middle Fork Snoqualmie, Moran State Park, and Colonnade (Limestone Loop Trail is key as example).
Phil Meyer and i agree that we should continue to work hard, continue maintenance, get things on the record from mountain bikers, and from Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance that will give State Parks no excuses that nothing was processed if we want to move forward with ideas like new trail signs, maps, benches, trail maintenance/construction.
Phil Meyer, Tim Banning, and Jon Kennedy are asking you to step up and help however you can. If you think you can help in a larger role email Jon Kennedy. We would firstly like to ask you to email Ryan Karlson, but also we are starting an email list for Dash Point, where you can get involved. We want your feedback on where we're headed, and invite any new ideas/concerns to this process. To get on the list email email@example.com.
We are gathering these ideas to have Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance make up a draft for the final CAMP recommendation. Both Phil Meyer and i also agree that the lower parking lot access is a problem that State Parks should be addressed. There are a few options, one would be re-routing Boundary Trail out of the Natural Zone, and another would be to cut new trail paralleling the lower parking lot road on the bluff above to the East (the top left corner of the map). At the last CAMP meeting State Parks seemed to be resistant to the Boundary Trail idea, but in the proposal they have indicated they want more recreation opportunities on the bluff area to the Northeast. We could route a trail from the lower parking lot to the bluff above, behind the Ranger houses, crossing the road, behind the campgrounds and to the Hoyt Road Trail which will provide safe trail access.
Another option is to fight all trail closures tooth and nail. This option would be a real uphill battle, and would involve almost as much work fixing problem areas on old poorly designed trail, speaking specifically of Beach Trail, and West Boundary.
The possible closure of Fern Alley is also a major point. Many enjoy this trail. The concern is it runs through a wetland, but it's completely dry in the summer.
Someone who has the CAMP pamphlet can add details here please. (just copy some of the important details right from the pamphlet)
- Mountain Bikers Talk Trails with Rangers
Saturday, March 16, 2006, 9 mountain bikers met with three rangers from State Parks to discuss the situation at Dash Point. The main ranger, Johnny Johnson, is very eager to work with mountain bikers (all three were eager to work with us for that matter). The main points about the trails pertained to erosion, biker-hiker interactions, and illegal trail building.
Ranger Johnson started out working at Dash Point and indicated that he had worked with the early BBTC (Scott Marlow?) to come up with a signal that bikers would call out when they're approaching hikers or going around a curve with sight obstructions. Mr. Johnson put in a majority of the main trails and there used to be signs and benches at the main intersections. Dash Point Park is surrounded by housing developments and most of the new illegal trails that have been cut in is on land that the builders thought was not owned by the State.
That is wrong. All the land is owned by the State.
Ranger Johnson wants to come up with an updated trail map showing what's out there, come up with a rating for the trails, and institute some kind of very loosely organized bike patrol group. Once we know what trails are out there, we can decide which ones to keep and which ones need to go. One thing he was adamant about was that no new trails be built up there. Early on, he asked if we thought that the trails should be segregated into hiker only and biker only trails. He was very open to our suggestion that we start off with all the trails being open to everybody.
We're going to have another meeting on April 13th to discuss things. In the meantime, the people at the meeting are going to get out there to walk the trails and find out what kind of maintenance needs there are. One of the people there is working on some kind of "standardized" call to use for interactions. The trails will be signed again and there will probably be a letter writing campaign to the Parks Department in the near future to ask for a new parking lot to be built near the upper trails.
This is a good opportunity here and we have a land manager that is willing and eager to work with us.
PS representing mountain bikers at the meeting were at least 3 members of STMCC, the owner of Phil's South Side Cyclery and a couple people who live right near the trails and use them regularly. I was the only BBTCer there that I know of.