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Camp Bay lake access stalled until trail completed

by LAUREN REICHENBACH
Staff Writer | June 12, 2024 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Despite multiple protests, the public will not have access to the Camp Bay shoreline until the final path has been completed next year, Bonner County Commissioner Asia Williams said Tuesday.

At the commissioners’ regular business meeting, Williams said that she and Prosecutor Louis Marshall had reached out regarding the possibility of a temporary trail being created for residents to access Lake Pend Oreille while the official trail is under construction this summer. However, Williams said developers are not allowing that option.

According to law, the easement to the shore on the property “reserves access during construction only to Bonner County staff.” The temporary easement will allow authorized county staff to inspect and confirm the completion of trail construction.

According to the developer, they have 12 months following the final vacation approval, putting the trail’s completion deadline in February 2025, Williams said.

“The decision is accurate in line with what their argument is, that trail completion is required by February 2025 and they’re not required to give temporary access before construction,” she said.

At this point, the commissioner said there was nothing else she can do besides provide the public with the documentation that she has received showing that the developer is in line with the law.

Not everyone was satisfied with that answer, though. Bonner County resident and strong Camp Bay development critic, Jennifer Arne said documents provided by the developer are not county documents and therefore cannot be enforced as such.

“That document was generated by the developer stating what they were willing to do,” she said. “They do not represent a contract with the county.”

All the public is asking to do, Arne said, is use the existing road on the property to be able to access the lake. Other residents on Camp Bay Road are currently using an easement to access their properties during construction, she added, and this request is seemingly no different.

“This, in a sense, accessing the lake, would be Bonner County residents accessing their property — the lake,” she said.

Commissioner Steve Bradshaw said that he had spoken to Marshall last week about the issue as well.

“The way that is written, according to him, is — it is still private property until that completion date,” he said. “You would be at risk of trespassing up to that point and until that point, there is absolutely nothing the county can do about it.”