The Washington State Parks Department thinks Schafer State Park could use a makeover and they could spend about $4 million to do it.
The 113-acre camping park in the southwest corner of Mason County, about 9 miles northeast of Montesano, features fishing in and access to the Satsop River, four pits for throwing horseshoes, about 40 campsites, an amphitheater and other amenities.
The agency has hired Seattle landscape architecture and planning firm J.A. Brennan Associates to begin planning improvements at the park. The public’s next opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions on what changes are needed is 6 p.m. Dec. 5 at Montesano City Hall.
The campsites flood during most rainy seasons. State Parks hopes to make the campsites and the rest of the park more accessible to users year-round.
Two day-use shelters that were destroyed by falling trees already are being restored. But there is much more that State Parks wants to do.
“The goal is to improve the camping experience at Schafer, develop a shoulder season capability, preserve the historic and cultural features, improve the recreational experience and improve habitat conditions along the river,” Stet Parker said by email. Parker is a member of the Friends of Schafer and Lake Sylvia group (fosls.org) that supports the two state parks. “(The work) might include improving the entrance to the park and adding a welcoming center, improved RV access and any other features that will make the park more attractive and inviting to the public. The process right now is pretty open for ideas.”
A Friends of Schafer and Lake Sylvia release states that the revitalization of the park, which could take 10 years, might include “increasing camping and RV facilities, adding cabins for the park, improving habitat along the river for salmon, adding trails” among other things. Palmer said the total project estimate is more than $4 million over 10 years.
“The deteriorating ranger’s residence will be carefully restored under direction of the agency’s historic properties staff,” Palmer said in an email.
Jim Brennan, who’s firm is helping develop a facility plan for the park, says the purpose is “to protect the historic cultural features, expand the recreational experience and enhance natural systems, especially along the Satsop River. We are attempting to strike a balance to retain the historic character of the park while also modernizing it.”
The state allocated about $700,000 to start planning the changes.