SPOKANE - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting public comment through March 21 on a proposal to acquire and develop public access to Chapman Lake in Spokane County.
Once a popular fishing spot, the 128-acre lake near Cheney has been inaccessible to the public since 2011, when a private resort that provided access to the lake was closed. Since then, WDFW has provided limited management of kokanee, trout and other fish species in the lake.
John Whalen, WDFW Eastern Regional Fish Program Manager, said the property owner recently contacted the department and signed a letter of intent to sell 80 acres to the department so that public access and fishery management could be restored.
The property is surrounded on three sides by Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land. Besides providing boat access to the lake, the proposed acquisition would connect these public lands, helping to conserve Ponderosa pine forest and riparian habitat for wildlife and provide public access to hunting and wildlife viewing.
Details about the proposed Chapman Lake access acquisition are available for review at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/acquisitions/. Comments may be submitted by March 21 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to John Whalen, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2315 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, WA 99216-1566.
Whalen said the review process is designed to solicit public input on the proposal before WDFW determines whether to seek acquisition and development funding sources, such as state grants administered by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
Land acquisition plays an essential role in meeting WDFW's mandate to provide recreational opportunities and to protect fish and wildlife. WDFW currently owns or manages 700 public water-access sites and about one million acres in 33 wildlife areas for fishing, hunting and wildlife-watching opportunities that contribute significantly to the state's economy each year.