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Paragliding may expand in Ebey’s Landing

Bellevue resident Ross Jacobson cracks a smile while paragliding Wednesday afternoon. He was enjoying gliding along the northern edge of Penn Cove. Paragliding is a popular activity on Whidbey Island, attracting people from around the Puget Sound. The field near the gun turrets at Fort Ebey State Park is a popular paragliding location.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Bellevue resident Ross Jacobson cracks a smile while paragliding Wednesday afternoon. He was enjoying gliding along the northern edge of Penn Cove. Paragliding is a popular activity on Whidbey Island, attracting people from around the Puget Sound. The field near the gun turrets at Fort Ebey State Park is a popular paragliding location.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Paragliders could soon have another place to fly on Central Whidbey Island.

The Washington State Recreation Commission is considering a proposal to designate a part of Ebey’s Prairie near the bluff trail as a paragliding takeoff and landing place, which would be the second such spot within Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

“The paragliders have been trying for years to get it approved,” said Brett Bayne, park ranger at Fort Casey State Park. State parks own the piece of land being considered for the landing site.

Currently, the open field next to the gun batteries at Fort Ebey State Park is the only other place designated for paragliders. Bayne said the paragliders wanted a second site that will allow them to paraglide when winds come from different directions. Fort Ebey State Park is a popular destination, attracting paragliders from throughout the Puget Sound region and Canada.

He said the idea of having part of Ebey’s Landing designated as a paragliding area came up years ago when the park was developing a camp plan. During that time, he said there were concerns expressed about the paragliders’ effect on nearby vegetation. He didn’t know whether any threatened plants, such as golden paintbrush, were growing in the area considered for a landing site.

A meeting has been scheduled to gather comments and concerns about the paragliding proposal. The meeting will take place Tuesday, June 14, 6 p.m., Auditorium A, Casey Conference Center.

For more information, call Fort Casey State Park at 679-4519 or Seven Starlund, NW Region Resource Steward, at 360-755-9231.

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