February 16, 2012 | Vol. 42 No. 7

Beginnings of park at Picture Point approved

The Haines Borough Assembly on Tuesday approved an ordinance to establish a park at Picture Point.

“This ordinance just pertains to the tidelands, at this time,” borough manager Mark Earnest said last month. “The idea would be, potentially, in the future to expand this.”

The park would include about 0.65 acres “of tidelands and submerged lands located at Picture Point owned by the borough,” according to the ordinance.

“The purpose of this public park is to maintain aquatic resources and other natural values of the property, and prevent the use or development of the property for any purpose or in any manner that would conflict with the maintenance of the property in its natural condition,” the ordinance states.

Earnest said the park designation would meet a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit requirement following compensatory mitigation for aquatic resources lost through recent work at Port Chilkoot Dock, including new restrooms and a parking lot.

A September memo from PND Engineers of Juneau said the mitigation “includes restoration and enhancement of intertidal shoreline at Picture Point to establish tide pools and creation of a park.”

Earnest said those improvements must be “preserved and protected ‘in perpetuity,’” and “that’s the reason for the ordinance.”

The assembly introduced the ordinance in October and delayed adoption to allow the Haines Borough Planning Commission to make recommendations.

Assembly member Joanne Waterman suggested two changes at a Jan. 24 meeting, and both were approved. She requested the ordinance have no set hours of operation for the park and asked for “bicycling” to be removed from the reserved rights and allowable uses.

“I question bicycling in the wetlands,” Waterman said.

Bicycling was included with hiking, backpacking, skiing, climbing and other foot travel, and member Daymond Hoffman said the assembly should encourage all those activities.

“Does this mean that if there were a walking trail or an interpretive trail built, that we would not be allowing bicycling?” he asked.

Manager Earnest said another ordinance would be required to expand the park boundaries for a trail, and Waterman’s amendments passed unanimously.