Port of Port Angeles OKs sprint-boat track’s 5-year contract

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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By Arwyn Rice

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The Extreme Sports Park has access to water for its boat track for the next five years — at least as far as the Port of Port Angeles is concerned.

Port commissioners and the owners of the sprint boat track park, Dan and Kelie Morrison, agreed to a contract Monday — with the port’s approval of the entire five-year contract contingent on the park getting a water transfer permit from the state Department of Ecology after a temporary permit expires at the end of this year.

The sports park has an Ecology permit through December 2013 but must renew its permit for 2014 and beyond.

The park will host the annual U.S. Sprint Boat Association Sprint Boat Race on
Aug. 10 and the USSBA National Finals on Sept. 7.

Entry fees at both events is $25 for adults, $20 for military with identification and $10 for children 6 to 12 years old.

There is free admission for children 5 and younger. Gates will open at 8 a.m., with races beginning at 10 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased at www.extremesportspark.net. Tickets also will be sold at the gate and at many businesses in Port Angeles.

According to the terms of the contract with the port, A2Z Enterprises LLC, which owns Extreme Sports Park, will pay the port $500 for initial administrative fees and $100 per year — a total of $600 — for up to 2.5 acre-feet, or 800,000 gallons per year.

The company probably will not use the entire volume of water allowed for the track — just enough to top off the water that is already there, said Dan Morrison.

Because the stormwater in the pond is considered to be a “non-permitted water source” by Ecology, the owners of the track and the port are not required to purchase water rights, but an Ecology permit is needed to pipe the water from the pond to the property where it will be used.

The park, built in 2011, hosts two major sprint boat races each year, and the owners are in negotiations with international sprint boat organizations for a proposed world meet in the future, Dan Morrison said.

In 2011 and 2012, sprint boat races in Port Angeles drew 8,000 to 10,000 spectators for the one-day events, according to organizers and estimates by the State Patrol.

This year, the races will be televised nationally on MAV TV, available through Direct TV and Dish TV, Morrison said.

Water from a stormwater runoff holding pond at the west end of the airport is used to fill the bowl-shaped, twisting track to a depth of 2 to 3 feet.

“There is always water in the track,” Dan Morrison said.

The clay-bottomed track is filled in winter with natural rain and runoff, and that water is also used to irrigate fields near the track, he said.

Morrison said that before the summer races, the track water is too shallow and needs to be “topped off” to race depth.

Sprint boats can reach speeds of more than 80 mph in straightaways, as race drivers and their navigators negotiate a series of straightaways and sharp turns around islands built into the center of the track.

Boats are required to have roll bars to protect the competitors if they lose control and roll onto the grassy banks of the track.

The sport was invented in the 1980s in New Zealand and has gained popularity in Australia and the Pacific Northwest.

The races separate the boats into three competition classes: Super Modified, A-400 and the unlimited “super boats.”

The park also hosts the 5K “Run A Muck” Obstacle Course Mud Run, which is set for Aug. 3.

The entry fee is $50 for general admission and $40 for students and active military personnel. Spectator admission is $10.

For more information, visit www.extremesportspark.net.

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 23. 2013 5:57PM
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