If all goes as planned, windsurfers, kayakers, paddle boarders and other river users will have significantly improved water access at the Hook by the 2015 season. Last week the Port of Hood River approved a contract with Flowing Solutions, a Portland-based engineering firm that specializes in waterfront planning, permitting and design, to develop engineering for a new access and windsurfing launch point on the west-facing end of the Hook.
Assuming the permitting process goes smoothly, construction is planned for next winter, in the same time frame as the City of Hood River’s swage outflow relocation project, which will route the outflow pipe under the Hook road and into the Columbia toward the east end of Wells Island.
The project is a collaborative effort between the port and the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association, which pursued the idea of creating a new launch to help alleviate increasing congestion at other access points along the Hood River Waterfront. The location has long been used as a beginner and intermediate windsurfing area, but access has been limited to a couple narrow and rocky paths down to the water.
Although engineering plans are in progress, the design will likely include a wide, gently sloping path to the water, with a flat area for rigging gear. The shoreline at the site has become increasingly more attractive for users in recent years as sand deposits have created a large area of shallow water just offshore.
The CGWA will contribute $50,000 to the $150,000 project. The Port will pay the bulk of the remainder, although Hood River County Parks and Recreation District has pledged some funds, as well.
While kiteboarding will not be allowed from the new site, it will be a community access point designated for multiple user groups, not just as a windsurfing launch.