RAYMOND — Butte Creek Day-Use Area reopened July 1 with significant improvements to roads, amenities and trail following work by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its partners.
The Butte Creek Day-Use Area closed to the public after the massive December 2007 windstorm damaged the site. The Great Recession of 2008 followed by budget cuts that affected recreation staffing and funds served to keep this site and others like it around the state closed.
Butte Creek was slated for repairs and maintenance in late 2019 in hopes of reopening the area in 2020. In March of 2017, while Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, and DNR staff prepared to invest $3.5 million into four Rural Communities Partnership Initiative (RCPI) economic development projects in Southwest Washington, the local community brought up Butte Creek Day-Use Area as a priority. In the spirit of RCPI’s mission to improve the well-being of rural communities agency staff added the project to the list, DNR said in a press release.
“I’m thrilled to reopen this beloved site so families can once again come and enjoy walking and picnicking in this scenic place,” Franz said. “I believe in the importance of accessible green spaces and the impact they have on a community. Thank you to our partners for their collaborative work in returning Butte Creek to a destination for Pacific County.”
In preparation for the reopening of the site, DNR completed significant renovations that greatly improve the ease of use for visitors. The Butte Creek .8-mile loop trail was reestablished and upgraded with two new bridges so visitors can sustainably explore the area.
In addition, crews improved seven picnic sites with new tables for families to enjoy and regraded roadways and paths. Other improvements include trail maintenance, refurbished amenities, and revamped kiosks and signage.
Work on the area was conducted by DNR recreation staff, local DNR fire crews, and the Naselle Youth Camp.
Butte Creek is a historically significant site. It was part of the original Butte Creek Homestead of Marion and Sarah Ann Monohon. A historic sign depicting the story of the Monohon family remains at the site to preserve the local cultural history of the area. The sign was moved during the renovations into a location where it is easier for visitors to read more about the site.
Butte Creek Day-Use Area is an area like several in Pacific County that DNR has been able to do restoration work as funds through grants and capital became available. In addition to reopening the Butte Creek Day-Use Area, the DNR was also able to improve Snag Lake, Western Lake and Tunerville Campgrounds in Pacific County.