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Bateman Island will reopen soon

Bateman Island will reopen soon, park rangers say

RICHLAND, Wash. -- The big "CLOSED" sign blocking off Bateman Island will finally be coming down after the massive fire last summer.

New life springs up where fire had once torn through.

“It's recovered really well,” said Jason Janosky, Richland Park Ranger. “We still have a lot of trees that are burnt, but everything's growing back.”

A little plowing and chopping is all it takes to clear a new path for visitors.

“That's why it's taken so long,” he said. “We want to make sure that it's safe.”

Janosky said the island will be ready to go in just a few weeks. Crews are removing dangerous, overhanging limbs off the pathway to make sure the island is safe.

And they said they might wait for some flooding to go down before they open.

“This will be packed with people fishing, people running, running their dogs, and it will be good to have this area back in action again,” he said.

People flocked to the area for nature walks and fishing until a fire closed the island last summer.

“I was really disheartened when I saw the smoke from my house,” Janosky said.

Janosky has already found evidence of people lighting campfires on the island.

“Bateman's not a spot for camping or fires,” he said.

He said in the past ten months they've just been waiting for the plants to regrow.

Fisherman and wildlife lovers won't have to wait too much longer.

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