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Long-envisioned marina on Lake Cascade closer to reality; Tamarack hopes to operate it

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A long-planned marina could soon pop up on Lake Cascade, and Tamarack Resort could operate it.

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation hopes to have a marina up and running by next summer – and put out a request for proposals looking for someone to build and operate it.

One of the possible operators is Tamarack Resort. During the Capital Connect conference in May in Boise, Tamarack’s Kyle Mowitz teased the potential of a lakeside operation for the all-season resort.

“We’ve received the RFP for the development of marina facilities at Lake Cascade and look forward to submitting a robust response,” Mowitz told BoiseDev.

Long-sought marina

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Various agencies mulled a marina on the reservoir in the last few decades. Those include a 2002 resource management plan from the Bureau of Reclamation, and Cascade’s 2004 master plan. Tamarack’s initial 1988 plan under the Valbois Resort name called for a 250-slip marina facility.

Unlike other popular boating destinations like Payette Lake and Lucky Peak Reservoir, Lake Cascade currently doesn’t host a marina.

The RFP directly asks for proposals on two sites:

  • Near the Van Wyck Campground on the east side of the lake near the town of Cascade.
  • At the Poison Creek Campground on the west side near the main entrance to Tamarack Resort.

Tamarack currently runs a waterfront cabana for its guests at Poison Creek through an agreement with Parks & Rec. Mowitz said the RFP could give Tamarack a chance to beef up its operation.

[Tamarack Resort set for new owner: how it plans to kickstart development]

“As interest and demand for recreating on the lake only grows, we support efforts to enhance the facilities and offerings on the lakefront through a public/private partnership like this one,” he said.

Possible ammenities

The RFP outlines a number of items officials will evaluate in choosing a winner:

  • Sales of recreational gear, personal items and other retail goods.
  • On-lake fueling station for boats.
  • Marina slips for long and short-term rentals.
  • Pump out facilities.
  • Additional parking.
  • Temporary building for the operation.

The RFP document says bidders may “propose recreational services the exceed the minimums listed,” and may submit more than one concept for consideration.

[Improvements, expansion possible for popular Lucky Peak marina]

Parks and Rec officials will hold a walk-through conference later this week, and bids are due by July 19th. An evaluation committee will go through the bids and the project could go to the Parks board in August.

When BoiseDev first broke news of the Tamarack sale last year, Mowitz said the lake helped attract his interest in the project.

“The first time I went up there was the summer and someone asked me if I want to go waterskiing on the lake. I said, ‘no, I don’t like cold water. When I jumped in 79-degree water, I was shocked in a great way, going ‘wow, this is really different from a lot of ski resorts.'”

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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