Bateman Island welcomes first visitors since last year's fire

Bateman Island welcomes first visitors since last year's fire

RICHLAND, Wash. — Bateman Island is once again open to the public after being closed for nearly a year.

Signs of last year's fire are still visible, even as new growth springs up and restores what was lost.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who manages the island and closed it last July after a fire burned for several days.

Roger Skaer of Kennewick said he'd been coming to the island for years before the blaze, so he's really missed it.

“I didn’t like it at all," he said of the island closure. "I was hoping it would re-open and they kept putting it off for environmental reasons and safety reasons and whatever. Now, it’s finally open and I hope it doesn’t happen again.”

Skaer told Action News the island is a great place for nature walks and fishing but he hoped everyone going to check it out will respect the beauty and solitude, and take their litter with them.

According to the City of Richland, Bateman Island is owned by the United States, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased to the City of Richland.

It's located where the Yakima River meets the Columbia River, and is accessed from Columbia Park Trail just south of North Columbia Center Boulevard.

The island has soft surface walking trails (motor vehicles are not allowed), fishing, wildlife and vegetation viewing.

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