Boat Ramp Project Revived?
to the rapidly deteriorating condition of the Fox Island
boat launch (formally known as "Towhead Island"), and the hazardous traffic
conditions at the launch on busy summer weekends, Fox Island resident John
Ohlson has been holding talks with various government officials to see if an
improvement plan drawn up by the Pierce County Parks & Recreation District
in the 1980's can be revived.
This photo, taken in January 2013, shows the
deterioration that has taken place since the image below was taken in
A few years ago, we collected
signatures on a petition to show support for the proposed improvements,
and to date over 650 signatures have been gathered.
The land was originally
the site for the toll booth for the Fox Island bridge, and the original ramp
was constructed to facilitate the construction of the bridge. Some years
later, the original ramp was destroyed by some heavy equipment belonging to
It was later replaced by the current concrete slabs which are
chained together to form the boat ramp. The slabs are breaking apart, have become disconnected from one another, and pose a hazard to boaters.
Most people avoid the actual ramp, and launch their boats on the adjacent
Time and the tides have
taken their toll, and the once spacious parking area is now only a fraction
of it's former self. Erosion has washed away nearly all of the parking
area, and the pavement on the ramp is crumbling badly.
new plan would increase the on-site parking from approximately 8 stalls
to nearly 21 stalls, and provide an off-street staging area for boaters to
turn around and position their rigs to launch - out of the oncoming traffic.
Incoming traffic would be routed to the north end of the lot, and exiting
traffic would use the south exit, providing a smoother flow of traffic on
An option to
add a small picnic area on the south end of the property is also being
The image from 2007 on the left, shows the amount of erosion that has taken place
vs. the one on the right from 2013, as
the waves slowly eat away the parking lot area.
In this comparison view looking North, you can see the
remnants of the original retaining wall boulders, located well past the
shoreline in the year 2000, vs. where it is in 2013.
Fox Island resident John
Ohlson has been in communication with Senator Maria Cantwell’s office,
US Rep. Derek Kilmer, Rep. Pat Lantz, Pierce County Councilman Terry Lee,
and PenMet Parks over the past five years regarding this project. There has
been interest by all parties concerned, to get
the project back on track.
Efforts are under way to restart this project, and potentially
strike up a partnership between PenMet and the BLM to provide
stewardship and ongoing operational support for this facility.
Post a comment on Derek
Kilmer's Facebook Page Look for the Boat Ramp post by John
Ohlson on the right side of his Timeline, and post a comment to that
and tidal action has washed away the boat launch's parking area over the
years. The second row of boulders on the left was the original
location of the parking lot's westerly edge.
The small turnaround area is close to the oncoming
traffic on the Fox Island Bridge road, making a traffic hazard for
boaters and Island residents alike.
by heavy equipment and frequent use by commercial fishermen and geoduck
farmers, the concrete ramp approach is badly
cracked and crumbling, and the concrete slabs that make up the ramp
itself are beyond repair.
The angle of the ramp itself would be increased
under the new plan, to prevent
having to submerge your vehicle in the saltwater to get your boat off the
trailer, and the concrete slabs would be replaced with a smooth, continuous
day for a Tanglewood Island resident meant driving their U-Haul truck
down the boat ramp, to load it onto the waiting landing craft.