NPS offers KF Marina a one-year contract extension

The National Park Service (NPS) is offering Lake Roosevelt Vacations, Inc., a one-year contract extension. If accepted, it will continue to operate the Park Service-owned marina complex at Kettle Falls through April 30, 2018. This offer was announced March 7.

“It's our hope Lake Roosevelt Vacations will accept this extension offer so reservation holders unaware of a potential closure can enjoy their planned vacation on the lake,” said Superintendent Dan Foster. “We are committed over the long term to ensuring Kettle Falls the launch ramp and campgrounds continue to be popular summer recreation destinations.”

According to NPS officials, this offer has been made after listening to community and visitor concerns after the marina's closure was announced.

The Park Service will be asking the concessionaire to correct previously identified deficiencies that pose risks to the environment and visitor safety during the extension period.

The Park Service is working on a long-term strategy for visitor services at Kettle Falls. This includes maintaining the Park Service campground, boat ramp, parking, restrooms, hiking trails, and day use areas. To aid its effort, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area contracted for and is awaiting the results of a visitor use survey conducted in 2016 that included, among other items, questions on what visitors wanted to do while at the lake, what they actually did, and what they were not able to do. Results of this survey should greatly assist the park in its planning efforts.

“We could have done a better job informing the community and stakeholders of the opportunities and challenges surrounding this contract,” said Foster. “Moving forward, we will better engage interested parties, beginning with a town hall meeting we will be holding on this issue this spring.”

Federal law requires the agency to only offer business opportunities that would provide an operator a reasonable opportunity to make a profit. The three-month open solicitation last summer to attract bids on a new 10-year contract resulted in one offer. To minimize the financial outlay and make the contract financially viable for a potential operator, the contract prospectus scaled down required services, that included fuel sales, slip rentals, store and sewage pump out; and made current requirements that the concessionaire offer houseboat rentals optional to attract more offers.

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Read the story in next week's S-E March 15 edition.