The National Park Service agreed to continue concession operations at the Kettle Falls Marina in Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area after initially cancelling on ongoing solicitation for a new concession contract and announcing that the marina would close when the existing contract ended. NPS only received one proposal for the concession contract. The marina provided both houseboat and boat slip rentals, fuel sales and a small store and deli. NPS stated that it wanted to take more time to evaluate the type of services desired by visitors to the National Recreation Area, and advised individuals who had already rented houseboats for the upcoming summer to seek a refund from the concessioner.
The agency’s announcement was met with strong opposition by the existing concessioner, visitors to the marina, the local county, the area’s Congressional Representative and the National Park Hospitality Association. Advocates for the marina pointed out that existing demand demonstrated that visitors very much desired the services provided and there was no logical reason to close the marina while the agency assessed this demand. “We could have done a better job informing the community and stakeholders of the opportunities and challenges surrounding this contract,” stated the Superintendent at Lake Roosevelt NRA, further stating that “moving forward, we will better engage interested parties, beginning with a town hall meeting we will be holding on this issue this spring.” However, no town hall meeting was subsequently held.
NPS provided a one year contract extension for the 2017 season and has stated its intention to issue another one year extension for 2018. The concessioner and local community are urging the agency to issue a long term contract or lease to the incumbent to ensure that more substantial maintenance can be achieved based on the certainty that the operations will remain open for a significant period.