The State Parks and Recreation Commission has closed Lake Wenatchee State Park, located 18 miles northwest of Leavenworth, because of forest health issues and safety concerns for park visitors.
Within a two-week span, two seemingly healthy trees fell in the south campground of the park. State Parks staff and a pathologist from the Department of Natural Resources did an emergency assessment of the trees and concluded the failure was due to root rot that was not evident from outward appearances, said a State Parks news release.
Staff also conducted assessments on trees in the north and south campgrounds and found additional trees infected with root rot. These trees were immediately removed. The root rot has been identified in grand fir and Douglas fir trees.
State Parks staff, with the assistance of the DNR pathologist, are scheduled to check the structural integrity of the trees in high-risk areas in the next several days.
The park will remained closed until this assessment can be completed and any necessary corrective action is taken.
A section of the south campground where the trees originally fell has been identified as a high-risk area and will not reopen for the remainder of the 2010 camping season. If it is determined other campsites in the park can safely be reopened, park staff will notify campers as soon as possible.
Campers with reservations have been individually notified of the emergency closure and park staff are offering alternate accommodations to displaced campers for free. This includes opening day-use areas in other state parks to tent campers and a parking lot for RV campers. Displaced campers with reservations will receive a full refund by calling 1-888-226-7688. Those who make alternate reservations on their own will pay regular camping fees, minus the “change reservations fee” usually required.
An emergency response center has been activated and displaced campers may call 360-902-8560 for additional assistance.
The park’s day-use and watercraft launch areas also are closed until further notice. Visitors may check the park’s web page at www.parks.wa.gov for updates.
Lake Wenatchee State Park is a 489-acre camping park with 12,623 feet of waterfront on Lake Wenatchee and the Wenatchee River. The park is bisected by the Wenatchee River, creating two distinct areas – South Park, with areas for camping, swimming and horseback riding; and North Park, in a less developed, forested section, a quarter-mile walk from the lake. The park has nearly 200 campsites, a group camp, equestrian area and hiking trails.