Friday, June 6, 2003
By CHRIS BOSTON
Special to the News
In light of all the recent discussion about the revised plans for waterfront development by the Port of Hood River, I felt it important to remind the Port officials to consider the new sport of kiteboarding in their future plans.
On Sunday afternoon of the Memorial Day weekend I counted roughly 50 inflated kites either in the air or on the beach between the Hook and the Hood River Marina.
It is clear that kiteboarding is here to stay and will continue to gain popularity much like windsurfing did in the mid 1980s.
While restricting the kites to the sand spit was acceptable over the past few years, the growing number of kiteboarders is quickly outgrowing (and will certainly surpass) the capacity of this limited area.
High river levels on that weekend made the sand bar practically nonexistent, and there was clearly not enough space for all the kites. It seemed especially difficult for the kiteboarding schools (who pay to use this area) to find enough space to safely carry out their lessons. Kiteboarding collisions in overcrowded conditions now pose a greater threat than conflicts between kiteboarders and windsurfers.
It is obvious that the kiteboarders need more space on the Hood River waterfront. It is also interesting to note that due to the light winds on Sunday of Memorial weekend, there were only about 10 windsurfers on the water during the same time period. The area directly in front of the Event Site was relatively vacant.
I would propose that a new windsurfing park be built on Lot #6 where kiteboarding is not allowed. This would place the windsurfers who choose to sail there safely upwind of the kiteboarders. The current Event Site could then become a multi-use park for both kiteboarding and windsurfing while the sand spit would remain a kite only site.
This would allow more advanced kiteboarders to use the Event Site on light wind days when there are few windsurfers and the spit is crowded with novice kiters.
The Event Site would also remain open to the large number of windsurfers who don’t object to sailing among the kites on the windier days when there would be fewer kites on the water.
There have been very few conflicts between the windsurfers and kiteboarders at other launches (Stevenson, Hatchery, Rowena, Rufus, Roosevelt), so it is clear that a multi-use park can work. This should also increase revenue for the Port due to the additional access fees from the kiteboarders on the light wind days when windsurfing turnout is low.
It is hard to justify additional hotels or condos along the waterfront when the reduced river access will turn away the very tourists these accomodations are hoping to attract.
Chris Boston lives in Hood River.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge