Washington Needs River Access Policy - The Missourian: Opinion

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Washington Needs River Access Policy

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Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 5:00 pm

To The Editor:

The Great River Rumble made an overnight stop at Rennick Riverfront Park Aug. 1. One hundred-forty Rumblers set up tents, ate in restaurants, shopped, rented hotel rooms and enjoyed themselves in Downtown Washington.

Washington was one of the landing sites on the 146-mile Missouri River journey from Jefferson City to the confluence with the Mississippi River at the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center south of Alton, Ill. Mayor Sandy Lucy graciously greeted Rumblers upon their arrival and also addressed the group the next morning before their river departure. Her welcoming, friendly spirit laid the red carpet for us. We appreciate and were impressed by her efforts to recognize this adventurous group of people.

Boaters from around the world participated in this-year’s Great River Rumble.

We thank the Chamber of Commerce, Washington Boat Club, YMCA, John G’s Bier Deck, Cowan’s Restaurant, Fischer’s Food Shop, Joe’s Bakery & Deli, Washington Parks and Recreation Department (Cindy Frankenberg) and Don Meyer for working with us to help make the Washington landing a successful stop for the GRR.

The access to Downtown Washington and its amenities is very convenient from the river. We encourage collaboration and implementation between the city of Washington and parks and recreation to develop a Missouri River access policy making the park area more open and welcoming for land-to-water and water-to-land users. As more pleasure boaters travel the river, the need to accommodate them increases. Overnight river campers need safe boat storage, level ground, shade, potable water, restroom facilities and protection from severe weather.

Working with Washington Parks and Recreation to fulfill these needs for Aug. 1 proved somewhat challenging, with much regulation, and negotiation. We encourage a positive, open-minded attitude at our Rennick Park, sending a message of acceptance and invitation for river users to return. A restrictive camping policy hurts a unique river town, such as Washington, in multiple ways.

However, we do sincerely thank the city of Washington for accommodating us during our Missouri River paddle.

/opinion