There has been a lot of community excitement surrounding a proposed five-year sand removal plan for the Mutiny Bay boat ramp on Robinson Road. The ramp is temporarily closed until a solution can be found to clear the sand.
A number of property owners on the beach are concerned about sand that has been moved to their beachfront as a result of maintenance operations and about erosion of beach to the north of where sand has been relocated.
We are property owners on the south side of the boat ramp. We have also seen erosion to our beaches. I don’t know the cause, but it seems unlikely to have anything to do with the boat ramp. Erosion is a fact on the beach. Much of the beach exists now only because actions were taken years ago to trap tidal sands. My family moved to Mutiny Bay in 1916. At that time, there was very little sand. It was mostly rocks.
There was boat access at this site for quite some time, on the order of 50 years. A casual count of buoys in the bay shows that several dozen boats use the ramp for access to moorage in addition to the many watercraft, day sailors, etc. that use the ramp for recreational / fishing access to the bay. Most of these people do not own property on the beach, but they have an interest in access to the water.
The ramp also provides access for rescue craft. Rescue situations usually occur in the strong currents that run in the bay, making time of the essence in recovery operations.
While there may be better ways to relocate sand from the boat ramp, it would be an unacceptable shame to see the ramp closed entirely. Shoreline management means just that: finding a balance vs taking the extreme action to close the ramp to the community at large. Some possibilities for sand relocation could include placing sand on the upland portion of the park adjacent to the boat ramp.
This would make the park more usable for beach activities, such as volleyball, and not intrude on property rights of owners. Those in the community or Island County administration may have other ideas but simply abandoning the boat ramp is not in the community’s interests.
We believe that the county should act swiftly and responsibly to keep the ramp open and to use its authorities to ensure local community and community-at-large needs are addressed.
Mike Christen and Jami Robinson Christen