By Ann McCreary

A special meeting to discuss Okanogan County’s Park and Recreation Board has been called by Okanogan County commissioners for Thursday (March 27) at 5 p.m. in the commissioners’ hearing room.

In response to issues brought to light during discussion of the proposed Methow Valley Recreation District, commissioners announced this week that they plan to expand the role of the Okanogan County Park and Recreation Board.

Ray Campbell, whose district includes the Methow Valley, said county commissioners need to take a more active role in supporting recreation and tourism businesses in the county, according to a release from the commissioners’ office.

“The volunteers and organizations in the county do a good job of supporting the recreational activities within the county. The commissioners have been supportive of recreation and continue to do so, but see that a county administrative umbrella is missing that can oversee the construction and maintenance of the necessary infrastructure,” Campbell said.

Twisp resident Ron Perrow said he met with county commissioners recently to discuss a “perceived lack of adequate county involvement” in recreation issues on the part of valley residents.

Perrow said commissioners acknowledged that perception in his meeting with them, and discussed the need for “a comprehensive … plan for the county to describe how recreational projects can be realized.”

The current county Park and Recreation Board is focused on the fair and fairgrounds, although the statute under which it was formed allows for much broader management of county-owned recreational property. It also allows the county to partner with cities and towns on recreational projects, according to the commissioners’ statement.

The county plans to look at ways to bring a more organized approach to managing all the recreation property and facilities it owns, according to the commissioners’ statement.