The Panther Lake Dilemma
by Jim Flynn on Mar 4, 2016
Panther Lake lays smack dab in the middle of the area annexed to Kent four years ago. An increasing number of low income working families live along the Benson Corridor where urbanization is happening at an accelerated pace only short distance from the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. More affluent neighbors live in the north and east side of the lily covered body of water. Exclusive, and gated, manufactured home communities at the south end need the recreational space that the lake offers. Wildlife abounds in and around the lake. In spite of urbanization, the lake has been defacto closed to recreational use. The entrance to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife boat launch, the only public access, was highly visible and open to the public prior to the lake’s annexation by the City of Kent. However, King County sold the property, where the entrance road abuts the lake, for residential development during the annexation process. That property is the only public access point to a large, recreational space in the middle of urban sprawl.
Fortunately, the state owns a 30-foot easement across the residential driveway that abuts the WDFW facility at the end of 116th Ave SE. Washington Representative Steve Bergquist (D 11th LD) helped push the decision to reopen the facility. WDFW’s Ann Larson announced to an informal group of volunteers from Renton, Kent and unincorporated King County on Friday that directional signs and arrow are now in place at the site. The volunteers are working to provide lake conditions that will meet the recreational needs of the people of Washington.
Panther Lake area residents feel that there must be some way for us to develop the lake into a recreational area for the community. It can be done, but first, it must be done politically. Over thirty thousand residents live in the surrounding area of Kent and Renton. Until Representative Bergquist called WDFW to task, it was not open to the public. No one knows that a large, beautiful pond imparting the serenity of Benson Hill, is within walking distance. Get something started in Kent. Families from the Panther Lake area of Benson Hill should know that the a growing community of local men and women are working to improve public access. We can improve livability in the Benson Hill Community by opening up hundreds of acres of recreational space at Panther Lake. We are looking for people willing to participate in manually removing the non-native lily that covers the surface of the lake during the summer. Please help. Use the Tell a Friend link at the top menu to let others know that there is some activity in Kent working to open Panther Lake to the public. Contact us for more information about how you can participate.
The City of Kent does not recognize Panther Lake. No city functions are scheduled for this fantastic body of water. It is not even on the Kent Parks Inventory List. However, the lake is wide open for public fun and recreation through the marked State facility at the end of 116th Ave SE and SE 200th St.. The only way the community will be permitted to make improvements is through the state since the City of Kent is taking a hands off posture at this time. The lake is in the center of five 11th Legislative District precincts in Kent, WA. Those precincts include residents living east of the border of the Benson Corridor, WA 515. Both Representatives and the Senator from the 11th affiliate themselves with the Democratic Party. The best political strategy would be to use the 11th LD Democratic Organization to influence our electeds to take further action to help us use state resources to clean the surface of the body of water and make the lake more accessible to the community. Click the Pictures link at the bottom of the article page and view pictures related to this article. Visit the Panther Lake picture gallery at: http://www.TheTrafficHub.com/Gallery
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