An overwhelming majority of people who responded to a recent survey about the future of Camas’ parks, recreational activities and open spaces felt very strongly that those amenities are critical to the city’s quality of life.
Of the 1,385 people who responded to the survey either online (876 respondents) or via mail (509 respondents), 85.2 percent said parks and recreation are essential to the quality of life in Camas, while another 12.8 percent said they are “important, but not really essential.” Another 1.5 percent said parks and recreation were “useful, but not necessary.” Only 0.2 percent responded that parks and recreation are “not important.”
Camas Parks and Recreation Director Trang Lam, along with consultant Steve Duh, presented the results of the survey to the city’s Parks Commission, interim Mayor Ellen Burton and City Councilwoman Shannon Roberts during an online presentation held July 28.
The city launched its three-week virtual Camas Parks and Recreation open house two days later, on July 30, to help share information about the city’s existing parks and trails and collect more feedback from the community about what types of parks and recreation facilities and programs are needed — or need improvement — in Camas.
The city will use the results of the survey — along with information gathered at the virtual open house, which runs through Aug. 22 — to help build the draft Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (PROS) Plan. The city will present the draft PROS Plan during a second open house, possibly held in-person, in the fall or early winter.
The city updates its PROS Plan, which serves as a guide for future park improvements and new recreation programs, every six years.
“We’re excited to offer this virtual open house to the community,” Lam said in a recent press release from the city. “We’ve already had tremendous support for the PROS Plan with over 1,300 responses to the June community survey. This shows how engaged our Camas community is when it comes to our parks, recreation and open spaces, so I’m especially excited to see the turnout through this open house.”
Camas has more than 240 acres of parkland, 765 acres of open space and several miles devoted to trails, including the 7-mile Heritage Trail, the 6-mile network of trails inside Lacamas Park and the 2-mile Washougal River Greenway Trail.
Many want more trails
Asked to gauge the need for certain facilities or uses in Camas’ parks and open spaces, 48.7 percent of respondents said there were “not enough” walking or biking trails, while 41.9 percent said there were “about the right number” of trails. Nearly 8 percent said they believed the city had “more than enough” walking or biking trails.
When prioritizing projects, most respondents said the city should focus on its existing park facilities and delayed maintenance needs, then expand trail opportunities and build new parks on undeveloped, city-owned parkland. Lower on the list of priorities were acquiring additional land for future parks, building a new community or aquatic center, and expending recreation classes and camps.
The full survey results are available on the city’s Engage Camas site.