Hood River Port affirms kiteboarding policy

News staff writer

June 24, 2006

After meeting last week with its Waterfront Recreation Committee and discussing options with nearly two dozen kiteboarders present – at a meeting prompted by Columbia River access that has become difficult due to temporary high water – the Port of Hood River has affirmed its policy of allowing kiteboard launching only at two designated sites: the Spit and the Hook.

Temporary kiteboard launching at other Port sites, including Port Marina Park, were explored at length. Problems with any of the short-term sites are many and complicated, especially with increased use by families and visitors, says Sherry Bohn, Port Commission president. Safety is the key reason, and the high potential for an accident involving a non-kiter, she adds.

“While we recognize and understand what the high water has done to the kiteboard schools and kiteboard launch area, the Commission is not changing its policy at this time and will continue to limit the sport to the designated areas at the Spit and the Hook,” Bohn said.

She adds that safety to all users of the waterfront is key to that decision.

The Port’s policy does not allow the mixed use of kiteboarding and other water-based recreation, whether passive or active, due to safety and liability issues. Because of the large space required for launching and landing of kites, the Port has and will continue to limit kiteboarding only on the Spit and at the Hook.

“The Commission is working with the schools to mitigate some of the financial impact on their operations,” said Bohn. “While the issues of safety, access and mixing uses on waterfronts are not unique to Hood River, the Port is aware of the contributions, both economically and recreationally, that the kiteboard community brings here. The Port will continue to work with the various groups in order to help find the balance for all waterfront users now and in the future.”

The Port encourages kiters to use launch sites identified for their sport to help ensure that kiteboarding can continue in Hood River. Launching anywhere other than the Spit or the Hook is in violation of the Port’s Ordinance 22, which can result in a citation of $250.

For more information about the Port’s kiteboarding policy and launch points, visit: www.portofhoodriver.com and follow the “Events” link. Other details are available by contacting the Port of Hood River at 386-1645.

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