Dear Parents and Community Members,
Thank you for attending the January 18th special community/parent meeting at Skamania School. The purpose of this meeting was to generate ideas that will help us take advantage of our school owned property. It was also a chance to share what we have learned so far about the property during the study phase of the project.
On behalf of the school board and faculty, I would like to thank each of you for taking time to come and share thoughts and listen to potential ideas for using the property. We had an outstanding turnout.
During the evening we heard from several community members about possible uses. In addition, we heard some concerns about future developments in light of the community drinking water system on the property. Please be assured, as one of our three objectives point out below, that while we are owners of the property, our intent is to be good neighbors and stewards, which includes protecting the water quality.
Throughout this phase we have learned the following:
- The school owns approximately 38 acres, zoned as G-R10-U, with a legal right-of-way/easement through the property located off Woodard Creek Rd.
- There is an operating group B public water system that includes a spring and Spring Creek. Several neighbors get their drinking water from these sources.
- The property has been on the market in the past with no viable offers.
- There are some concerns with the forest health, including the presence of root disease and several invasive species.
- The property includes a variety of tree species including Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, Red Alder and Big-leaf Maple. There are options for varying degrees of a timber harvest.
- A variety of wildlife is present.
We still have more to learn, and we will continue to study this valuable natural resource. As part of the project, the board drafted the following objectives for the use of the property:
- Provide an educational benefit to the school and area.
- Provide responsible land management.
- Provide a financial benefit to the school that may include producing revenue.
We are continuing to collect ideas for property use. Attached are the ideas that have been generated to date, sorted by these three objectives. A task force has also been formed and they will continue to study and brainstorm ideas. Our goal is to have some initial recommendations to the board by the spring.
I would like to thank Lisa Anderson, Julie Sackett, and Matt Provencher from the Department of Natural Resources, who helped with facilitating the meeting and providing their expert property observations. We are fortunate to have their technical assistance.
I would also like to thank the following special guests who were invited due to their specific background and interest in the project: Vickei Hrdina, ESD 112 – STEM Director; Richard Maher, Skamania County Commissioner; Tim Merlino, ESD Superintendent; Chad Mullen, FieldSTEM Coordinator, Pacific Education Institute; Laura Paxson, Skamania community member; Vickie Pendergast, Mt Pleasant Superintendent; and Brian Sabo, North Bonneville Mayor.
If you have questions, please feel free to stop by the school and/or email.
Dr. Ralph H. Pruitt, Superintendent/Principal
Skamania School Board