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Message from the Mount Baker Boating Advisory Council

Dear Participants and Friends of the Mount Baker Rowing & Sailing Center:
First and foremost, we hope you and yours remain very well during these challenging times. I’m reaching out today on behalf of Mount Baker’s Boating Advisory Council (BAC) to update you on where things stand with the boathouse closure in light of recent government guidance changes, limited school reopenings, and vaccine distribution over the past few weeks.
The City of Seattle’s decision to close our boathouse last March remains unchanged today. As a practical matter, the closure remains a show-stopper for all of Mount Baker’s programs. To me, because I deeply appreciate and miss the unique community that our programs have created, that decision is deeply frustrating. However, that decision is not completely surprising given the vast challenges the city has been shouldering over the last year — which might end up being the most extraordinary year in our lifetime.
As shared in our last message to you, the BAC is committed to reopening responsibly and rebuilding a unique “new normal” as soon as the City allows us to do so. Our Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) staff has developed and submitted plans for rowing and sailing programming that we could conduct safely upon reopening. Here is what we can say now about that:
  • From our ongoing and recent discussions with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC, our Center’s umbrella organization), we understand that it will allow us to hire as promptly as possible the coaching staff we’ll need for our programs upon reopening.
  • Because of the many recent changes happening at federal, state, and local levels, we are more hopeful than ever that we’ll hear soon that the City will allow us to offer programming for the summer – and maybe even sooner.
  • AND we can’t yet be certain of that – not until the City announces that it has decided to dedicate the SPR staff and other resources necessary for boathouse operations to resume. Since participant health and safety is always Mount Baker’s first priority, we anticipate that reopening will likely occur in stages consistent with the City’s safety requirements, which might rule out programming options that private boathouses may have. For example, expect limited numbers of distanced participants and only small boats at first.
We’ll be thrilled beyond measure to pass along to you any definitive news about our reopening. And we also plan to communicate with you more often than we have recently about what we do and don’t know about Mount Baker’s next chapter. Expect to hear from us about volunteer opportunities when we know when the doors will be unlocked – BAC intends to partner with SPR and ARC staff to complete the very substantial amount of work that will be required to get our shuttered facilities and equipment back to “Baker Strong” shape.
Thanks for listening, and for your willingness to support Mount Baker during this difficult time. Feel free to send questions or suggestions to my email alias: Alternatively, you can contact Mount Baker staff at SPR staff is currently reassigned to other duties, so they may not be able to respond right away. Wishing all the best to you and yours – and GO BAKER!
— Mark Bolender, Mt. Baker BAC President