Fallen Leaf Lake property purchase moves forward

City has been working on the land acquisition for several years

If all goes as planned, Fallen Leaf Park will soon be the newest addition to the city’s public open space system.

The Camas City Council last night authorized Camas Mayor Paul Dennis to sign a purchase and sale agreement for the 55 acre property.

The city is buying the site, located at Northwest 23rd Avenue and Birch Street, for $2.05 million from Koch RP Holdings I, LLC. Koch Industries, Inc. has owned the Georgia-Pacific Camas paper mill since 2005.

A recent appraisal paid for by the city put the value at $2 million.

To complete the purchase, Camas is tapping funding from a variety of sources including a $1 million grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, $500,000 in grant funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and another grant from Clark County Conservation Futures for $380,000. The remainder of the cost would be paid with cash from the city’s Growth Management Act capital projects fund, which is supported in part by real estate excise taxes.

The Fallen Leaf property includes shoreline, forest and wetlands and the 20-acre Fallen Leaf Lake, once called “Dead Lake.” It provides opportunities for hiking, picnicking, wildlife watching, fishing and swimming.

There are still several steps that must be taken before the city takes complete ownership of the property. After the agreement is signed by Koch, a 90-day review period begins. Once the transaction is finalized, the city will be able to complete site work and evaluations. The public could have access to the site by the fall.

The park is the last major acquisition to complete the community’s vision for a linked system of waterfront parks and habitat. It is a system that includes the preservation by Camas and other partners of more than 800 acres.

South of the park, the city already owns a 6-acre parcel that is home to a softball field, bleachers, dugouts, restrooms and paved parking area. On the west side of the lake, there are 50 acres of forested hillside owned by Columbia Land Trust.

This article can also found in the Feb. 8 Post-Record print edition.

Please review our community guidelines