Since the 1970s, Vancouver Lake and surrounding lowlands have been identified as a region important to the economic well-being of Clark County. At that time, the area was designated for recreational opportunities and development.
In 2020, Friends of Vancouver Lake commissioned Part 1 of an economic impact study detailing the current economic impact of activities at the lake and comparing uses of other lakes in the U.S. for sailing, rowing, paddling events. We hope to soon commission Part 2 to detail potential new revenues to city and county coffers based on expanded but balanced development at the lake, increased tourism and recreation.
“A broader vision for Vancouver Lake area development could involve not only enhancement of existing and new public recreation/sport opportunities, but also address the potential for other complementary private development – as with marina, dining, lodging, high wage tech-campus, service-retail, residential and mixed use development. Also addressed should be potential for area-wide conservation and ecosystem enhancement – possibly creating additional wetland and other habitat including improved linkage to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.” ~E. D. Hovee & Company, LLC
To summarize, a successful strategy for Vancouver Lake recreation should serve to:
Balance conservation and economic development values
Incentivize area-wide economic development
Lead with on-lake and shoreside recreation opportunities
Leverage sustainable public and private investment
“As a place of on-going interaction between the natural environment and human gathering dating back thousands of years, Vancouver Lake represents perhaps this region’s signature asset, unduplicated but with its full potential yet unfulfilled. Re-establishing the lake’s ecological functioning within the Columbia River system can serve to draw new and expanded recreation opportunities. The lake’s recreational and aesthetic significance may then leverage private investment essential for multi-generational economic and ecosystem sustainability.” ~E. D. Hovee & Company, LLC