A land deal to create new campgrounds on the south end of Whidbey Island in Washington has slowed but is still under negotiation, according to South Whidbey Parks and Recreation Director Doug Coutts. 

The South Whidbey Record reported that district commissioners are still interested in the 30-acre property, but discussions are awaiting results of an appraisal by the land owner, the Dora Gabelein Trust. It’s looking at specific appraisers provided by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, an organization with experience in appraising timber acreage, Coutts said. 

The Dora Gabelein trust is paying for the appraisal. 

Coutts told the board he hopes to know soon when more headway will be made. Once the appraisal is complete, the district will be provided a timeline and can move forward from there. 

“We’re hoping to have an agreement in place fairly soon,” said Coutts. He added while negotiations are still underway, district officials are already looking into expanding water and septic systems on the property for camp sites and bathrooms.

District commissioners are looking at establishing campgrounds to fill the gap left by the closure of the campgrounds at South Whidbey State Park earlier this year. They believe it could boost tourism and be a boon for the economy.

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