Volunteers to Run County’s Primitive Campground
Volunteers will operate Lake Leland campground near Quilcene, Wash., this summer, reopening the county-owned facility for the first time since budget cuts forced its closure at the end of the 2009 season, the Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, has reported.
“We are excited about this because it provides an affordable family experience,” said Parks and Recreation Director Matt Tyler at Monday’s county commissioners meeting. “This is a very important service to the community.”
The eight-space campground closed after the county could no longer afford to keep the park open.
The closure was accompanied by a call for volunteers.
The campground remained closed during the 2010 season, but Lake Leland residents Curtis Stacey and Tanya Royer decided to take the project on for this year.
The eight-acre park is located approximately six miles north of Quilcene and five miles south of Discovery Bay on U.S. Highway 101.
The facilities are sparse — there is no running water or electricity, and pit toilets are the only waste facilities available.
There are no pay phones or emergency lines since most people travel with cell phones, Stacey said.
“We don’t think people will stay here for very long,” Stacey said. “People can go without a shower for a couple of days but not much longer.”
The camping fee is $18 per night and will be collected on the honor system, Royer said. People can stay without paying but she expects that most visitors will be honest and leave money in the supplied envelope.
With a projected 300 visits a year, this will generate enough revenue for the operation, with the biggest expense the pumping of toilets once a year, the county said.
Stacey and Royer live on the other side of the lake from the campground. They will visit daily but will not provide a steady on-site presence.
The pair has already recruited 15 other volunteers who helped with landscaping and cleaned up the park to prepare for the season, which begins May 1.
It will stay open until mid-October, long enough to provide accommodations for the Quilcene Fair.
Stacey said that opening the campground would help to revitalize the Lake Leland neighborhood, which once had its own general store and railroad depot.
Of the 18 county campgrounds closed due to budget cuts all but one — in Chimacum — have reopened using volunteer labor, Tyler said.
“Volunteers have risen to the challenge to help us out in these tough economic times,” he said.
Even so, the Lake Leland commitment is not permanent.
“We thought this would be a good thing for the neighborhood,” Stacey said.
“If it turns out to be a big fat drag, we won’t do it next year. “