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NPS offers marina one-year contract extension

Officials acknowledge public concern over poor communications


The National Park Service is offering Lake Roosevelt Vacations, Inc., a one-year contract extension. If accepted, it will continue to operate the NPS-owned marina complex at Kettle Falls through April 30, 2018.

NPS officials are offering to extend the contract for one year after listening to community and visitor concerns over the announcement of the marina closure.

“It’s our hope Lake Roosevelt Vacations will accept this extension offer so reservation holders unaware of a potential closure can enjoy their planned vacation on the lake,” said Superintendent Dan Foster. “We are committed over the long term to ensuring Kettle Falls, the launch ramp, and campgrounds continue to be popular summer recreation destinations.”

The agency said it will be asking the concessionaire to correct previously identified deficiencies that pose risks to the environment and visitor safety during the extension period.

The Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area announced the planned closure Feb. 6, which prompoted a request from Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, representing Washington’s Fifth District in Congress, to express “deep concerns” and ask for “clarification” two days later.

“We could have done a better job informing the community and stakeholders of the opportunities and challenges surrounding this contract,” said Foster. “Moving forward, we will better engage interested parties, beginning with a town hall meeting we will be holding on this issue this spring.”  

The Park Service is working on a long-term strategy for visitor services at Kettle Falls. This includes maintaining the Park Service campground, boat ramp, parking, restrooms, hiking trails, and day-use areas. To aid its effort, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area contracted for and is awaiting the results of a visitor-use survey conducted in 2016 that included, among other items, questions on what visitors wanted to do while at the lake, what they actually did, and what they were not able to do.

Federal law requires the agency to only offer business opportunities that would provide an operator a reasonable opportunity to make a profit. The three-month open solicitation last summer to attract bids on a new 10-year contract resulted in one offer. To minimize the financial outlay and make the contract financially viable for a potential operator, the contract prospectus scaled down required services, that included fuel sales, slip rentals, store and sewage pump-out; and made current requirements that the concessionaire offer houseboat rentals optional to attract more offers.

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