U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel are preparing to begin a search for new operators for Lyons Ferry and Central Ferry parks.
Operators of both parks have relinquished their leases, the latest chapter in a saga that began early in this decade when Washington State Parks Board gave up their leases in a move to alleviate a $1 million budget deficit.
The Port of Columbia gave up its lease when Jim and Angela McArthur, who subleased the park, along with the Lyons Ferry Marina, announced they would no longer operate the park, which is on the north side of the Snake River in Franklin County.
Northwest Land Management Services, a subsidiary of California Land Management Services Corp., recently gave up its lease of Central Ferry Park, which is on the north side of the Snake River on State Route 127 in Whitman County.
Northwest Land Management Services continues to lease Chief Timothy Park near Clarkston.
The Corps will not receive additional funds to operate the parks, so either someone else will be found to run them or they will be shut down, according to Gina Baltrusch, public affairs specialist in the Walla Walla district office.
Operation of the parks is offered to public entities first, then to commercial operators.
Central Ferry includes day use, camping and boating on a 171-acre site. Lyons Ferry Park has 51 campsites, a day use area and a boat launch.
The operators of the Lyons Ferry Marina told the Port they could not continue to operate the park across the river from the Marina because they had lost money.
Carrie Chicken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 522-5289.