Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake is a flood risk management project that uses an off-stream storage reservoir (Bennington Lake) to store water during a flash flood event.
For up to date water levels visit USGS Current Conditions.
In the early 1900s, public concern over the frequent flooding of Walla Walla prompted Virgil B. Bennington, then President of the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce, to lobby the U.S. Congress for flood protection. Development of Mill Creek Dam system was authorized in the 1938 Flood Control Act. The improved Mill Creek channel and off-stream storage reservoir were completed in 1942. In 1992 the reservoir was officially named Virgil B. Bennington Lake.
Bennington Lake provides a place for people to get outdoors without having to get out of town. In the spring, water is diverted from Mill Creek to Bennington Lake once the risk of flooding is over. The lake is also stocked in the spring with rainbow trout by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Boating on the lake is limited to paddling, rowing, wind power, or vessels with electric motors. ***No gas engines are allowed on the water at any time. This policy protects the lake from unwanted pollutants associated with gasoline-operated motors and provides maximum space for vessels compatible with the lake’s small size.
Picnic tables, shelters and restrooms are available at the lake parking lot. Park benches and shelters along the trails provide resting areas to enjoy views of the lake and the Blue Mountains. There is also a life jacket loaner board to help keep everyone safe on the water.
Hunting is permitted around Bennington Lake in the areas designated on the map.
The Bennington Lake area is open year-round 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 pm.
Rooks Park offers visitors a wide variety of recreational opportunities. The 18 acre park includes a reservable picnic shelter, sand volleyball court, playground, horseshoe pit, group fire rings, picnic sites with tables, BBQ grills and accessible restrooms. Large open areas allow for football and soccer games, while small secluded areas provide a quiet place to enjoy the outdoors. The park is open from 7:00 am until posted closure hours, sunset. The entrance is open year-round to walk-in traffic, but seasonally closed to vehicles from October 15 to April 1 with reduced amenities.
To reserve the Rooks Park Shelter visit Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777.
Winter 2017 Phase-2 Visitor Access Map