State Parks staffer honored for his longtime boating safety efforts

Staff reportOctober 20, 2013 

Jim French, a longtime employee of the State Parks and Recreation’s Boating Program, has received a national honor from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

French received the group’s lifetime achievement award for his efforts on recreational boating safety and his work in supporting the national organization. The award was presented recently at the national conference in Boise.

French, 65, began his career in 1972, as a watercraft officer with the Ohio Division of Watercraft. In 1984, he was hired by Washington State Parks to work on the startup of Washington state’s boating safety program. Under his direction, the state’s marine law enforcement program was created, along with a variety of campaigns over the years to increase the safety of Washington’s waterways for boaters.

Among French’s notable accomplishments is the production of a 1992 video. “Adventures in Boating with Bill Nye, the Science Guy” featured a young and not-yet-famous Bill Nye.

While serving as the association’s president, French in 1993 testified before Congress alongside the National Traffic Safety Board on a number of issues that later were reflected in federal or state law, including mandatory boater education, mandatory wear of life jackets for children and increased penalties for boating under the influence, according to a department news release.

French and his wife, Sandy, live in Tumwater. They have three grown children. An avid hiker and outdoorsman, French also is known for his work on trail projects.


Two state parks will be hosting Halloween events this weekend.

Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island is hosting a harvest festival and “haunted booathouse Saturday from noon-4 p.m.

Activities for the family include pumpkin decorating, VegiCar races, and games and skill challenges. Visitors also can learn facts about animals that live on the beach, uncover the secrets of the park and The Center for Wooden Boats and get in the Halloween spirit by entering the “haunted booathouse.” The event is presented in partnership by The Center for Wooden Boats, Cama Café and the Cama Beach Foundation. For more information, visit

Fort Flagler State Park will hold its fifth annual Halloween Carnival from 6-9 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 27.

This community event is for the whole family. For a good scare, visit the new Powerhouse of Peril. For younger children, they can go down Trick or Treat Street for treats, hit the Crazy Carnival at the theater and play some games or take a turn in a bounce house. There also will be a tractor-pulled hay ride through the forest; just beware of what waits in the darkness. There will be a chance to grab a warm drink or snack at the welcome center. Admission is $5 per person or $15 per group of four.

For more information, call 360-385-1259.

Rainier road status update

With the park once again open, here is an update on the status of the major roads inside Mount Rainier National Park.

Mowich Lake Road: Closed for the season.

Nisqually-Paradise Road: Open

Paradise Valley Road: Expected to close Oct. 31.

Ricksecker Point Road: Expected to close Oct. 31.

State Route 123/Cayuse Pass: Is expected to close for the season Dec. 2, but could close sooner depending on the weather.

State Route 410/Chinook Pass: Is expected to close for the season Dec. 2, but could close sooner depending on the weather.

Stevens Canyon Road: Expected to close for the season Oct. 31.

Sunrise Road: Closed for the season.

Westside Road: Expected to close for the season Nov. 12.

Condition updates: Call 360-569-2211 or check @MountRainierNPS on Twitter.

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