Kent, WA (PressExposure) February 25, 2015 -- Beautiful Panther Lake is in the center of urban sprawl. Renton and Kent residents are desperately in need of recreational space although the lake is within walking distance. Until today they have been excluded from using the 300 acre lake due to lack of access. A private residential driveway blocks the point that was the only public entry only four years ago. The state owns a 30 foot easement across the driveway, but even among those aware of the entrance, only a few residents dare to cross private property.
Washington Representative Steve Bergquist (D 11th LD) announced today that the state will post two signs near the lake. The signs will direct the public to a safe and secure access point. The Fish and Wildlife facility is not visible from the end of 116th Ave SE. The entrance is hidden behind a huge stand of Himalayan blackberries. WA F&W assures me that taxpayers can still use the lake access and boat launch area by taking advantage of the easement that the state maintains across the residential driveway during daylight hours.
The next step is to open the lake to the community. Prior to annexation, the entrance was highly visible and open to the public. However, King County sold the property bordering the access point for residential development during the annexation process a few years ago. One of those properties included the entrance to Panther Lake. Everyone who knows about the location, even Panther Lake old-timers are uncomfortable crossing the driveway. According to the Revised Code of Washington RCW 35.79.035 - Limitations on vacations of streets abutting bodies of water, (1) A city or town shall not vacate a street or alley if any portion of the street or alley abuts a body of fresh or salt water. King County must make it right by purchasing a piece of the adjacent property to expand the entrance. It is irregular in shape and would easily adapt to a new entrance.