What Will Summer Operations Look Like at Ross Lake Resort?
We have developed a plan for summer operations inline with CDC and NPS guidance on COVID-19. Here are details regarding June reservations, ongoing cabin restrictions, and - most importantly - our plan to remain as safe as possible while remaining flexible to changes.
I hope that this note finds you well and that you and your loved ones are managing these challenging times ok.
I wanted to reach-out to provide an important update on our plans for the summer of 2020 in response to COVID-19. After extensive discussion, including with our colleagues in the National Park Service (NPS), we have developed a COVID-19 operating plan that is based on guidance from the CDC and NPS and is meant to align with the Washington State Phased Approach to Reopening.
Key Update 1: June Operations
After much consideration, we have decided that lodging for guests at the Resort will remain closed through the end of June. When the National Park reopens and when the state advances to Phase 2 of the Washington State Phased Approach to Reopening, we plan to open in June for boat rentals, water taxi, and portage services for day visitors and those with permits to camp on the lake.
Please note that the North Cascades National Park Service Complex is currently closed. Our colleagues in the Park Service are working hard on a phased reopening plan and you can stay updated on the status of the Park at https://www.nps.gov/noca/index.htm. We will align the opening of our services for day use and campers to match the status of the Park.
Key Update 2: What comes after June?
Conditional upon the status of the Washington State Phased Approach to Reopening, we plan to open lodging at the Resort in July. However, we have made the tough decision to remove some of our cabins from being available for guest lodging. Our Little Cabins and Bunkhouse Cabins – five cabins in total – will not be available for guest lodging for the 2020 season.
The reason behind this decision is multifold. First, the NPS has issued mandatory guidance on staff housing for 2020 due to COVID-19. To comply with this guidance, we must spread our staff out from communal staff housing and dedicate a private room for each crewmember. Therefore, each of those rental cabins will instead be dedicated to a crewmember.
In addition, the decision to specifically use the bunkhouses to house a single crew member in each was made because the bunkhouses are otherwise particularly conducive to enabling virus transmission due to the open sleeping arrangement (i.e., many people sleeping in close proximity). Also, removing all five of these cabins reduces the number of people we will have at the Resort at any given time which helps decrease the likelihood of virus transmission and, since we will have a limited number of staff this summer, also ensures that we maintain an adequate staff-to-guest ratio to operate safely.
Our commitment to you
Moving forward we are committed to upholding several core principles. First, our decision making will continue to be driven by what we believe is in the best interest of the well-being of our crew and customers and will be based on the best available guidance. Second, we will remain flexible and we will reevaluate our plans and be prepared to expand or contract our services as the virus guidelines evolve. Finally, we are committed to communicating and will keep you updated as our operating posture changes.
Taken together, we believe these decisions allow us a stepwise return to operations while providing a working and recreating environment that will help mitigate the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission. Importantly, we recognize these decisions impact many of our customers who will be displaced from rental cabins by these decisions. Those customers with June reservations or with reservations in the Little or Bunkhouse cabins will be given priority to take any canceled reservations that occur in 2020. We are also working with the Park Service to help facilitate access to camping on the lake for those who would like to explore that opportunity. Finally, we are evaluating the possibility of extending our season a few weeks into November for those displaced guests who may be interested in a Fall trip to the Resort. Our staff will be reaching out to all impacted guests over the next several weeks to follow-up.
Our summer operations plan also details guidelines for how we will operate at the Resort, including how we will run our transportation (trucks and boats) and how we will operate our office and marina. We are also in contact with Seattle City Light discussing the operation of the Diablo Lake Ferry. We will share more of these details as we get closer to opening.
Finally, I would like to end on a personal note. With a family history of visiting the lake that started over 70 years ago with my great grandfather, I care deeply about the legacy of the Resort. Every day at the Resort – and often when I am traveling with a Ross Lake shirt on – I am stopped by people who share their personal stories of the importance of Ross Lake and the National Park. In an otherwise uncertain world, Ross Lake has been a constant and a stabilizing place. I recognize that in the time of COVID-19, when so many are dealing with health or financial or other serious concerns, that a visit to Ross Lake is something that many have been looking forward to. Therefore, please know that we make our decision to restrict our operations to comply with COVID-19 guidelines only after much thought and I truly recognize how disappointing this will be for many. We will do all we can to help our guests impacted by these decisions.
Please know that the Resort will continue to work to support access to the National Park to share the magic with new and returning visitors alike. We are looking forward to working through this challenging time and cannot wait to see you on our docks again.
Owner, President and Chief Fishing Officer
Ross Lake Resort