BURBANK, Wash. – Fishhook Park, located off of State Route 124 along the lower Snake River in Walla Walla County, will be without potable water this summer while the water system is upgraded; however, it will remain open to visitors during its normal summer recreation season -- May 18 through Sept. 4, 2018.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been cooperating with Washington State Department of Health as nitrate levels increased to an unacceptable level in the park’s drinking water.
“During the past several years, we’ve had to alert our users to the poor water quality and encourage them to provide their own drinking water,” says Park Ranger Heather Geertsen. “That’s not what people expect when they go to a full-service park and campground, so we’re correcting it before it gets worse.”
Construction on the water system at Fishhook Park will occur in stages throughout the summer. Weeds and debris have already been cleared to identify the trench for the main water line. Construction of the main line could start as early as May, although most construction activities will likely occur during August through October 2018.
Providing access to public lands is an important part of the Corps’ mission, but by choosing to keep the park open, it will impact the way visitors use the facilities. Water will be turned off to individual campsites, restrooms, drinking fountains, and dump station as the new system components are installed. Portable toilets will be available.
“We didn’t want to completely close the park while this work is being done, so we’re trying hard to get the word out to let visitors know to bring their own water,” said Geertson. “This way people will still be able to use the park, and drinking water will once again be available after construction of the new system is completed.”
The Corps is offering campers discounted reservations to make up for some of the inconvenience and uncertainty about actual construction dates.
Campsite reservation prices will be discounted by 50 percent during the 2018 camping season at Fishhook. The discount does not apply to non-prime days (Monday-Thursday), which are already discounted 50 percent of the normal camping rate. Campers can make reservations up to six months in advance of their stay at www.recreation.gov
, or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Opening weekend is May 18, 2018.
Nearby Charbonneau Park will remain open for camping, and has a dump station with potable water to fill RV tanks and other containers before driving to Fishhook.
The Corps will continue to keep the public informed as construction-schedule details are developed. Visitors may contact the Tri-Rivers Natural Resources Office at 509-547-2048 for more information.