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I am lamenting the loss of 4 excellent Central and Eastern Washington State Parks. Many of you know that Lyons Ferry, Central Ferry, Crow Butte and Chief Timothy have all been shut down as a result of budget cuts. Their loss is particularly painful this time of year when you just need to get away and see the sunshine for a change. I have probably spent about 50 nights at Crow Butte over the years as I drove up and down the Columbia from Vancouver to the east side and back. Many times while living in Vanc. and just being so sick of rain we would hook up our rig and drive the 165 miles upriver to the Butte. Upon arriving we would open the doors and smell that soft warm sweet desert air and rejoice in the
sunshine. In summer it was just an oasis. Driving downriver in 100 deg. heat you could stop in there and it seemed like it was 20 deg cooler because of the shade canopy. I first visited the Butte when I was as tall as the trees there and have watched the place fill in over a couple of decades. The walk to the top presented a stunning view in all directions and usually provided a view of the resident deer herd that inhabited the island. On the river side of the island erosion created by the historical floods is still evident and the sandy beach there was no doubt created by a huge back eddy when those floods raged. Almost everytime I camped there I parked between the two red signs that said: "RATTLESNAKE AREA!", I seldom had neighbors except during the busiest times.
Crappie fishing from the dock in the lagoon was just legendary. The biggest crappie I have ever seen I caught there on a 1/64 oz micro jig and 2# Stren line-an 18" monster that looked more like a sofa pillow than a fish. At times I would stop there on the way east not to camp but to just get out of the truck for an hour and fish. Locals would sometimes be fishing there with bobbers as big as 200 watt light bulbs and a night crawler as big as a garter snake and have no fish to show for their efforts. I would show up and immediately start catching huge crappie all much to their amazement. Then I would hand out crappie jigs and explain that crappie bite very softly and 18# test line probably wasn't the hot ticket. Some caught on and started catching fish right away. "Teach a man to catch a fish....." well, you know. One day a family of four was fishing there including a little boy about 7 years old. They had caught essentially nothing and I had about a dozen BIG crappies so I strung up my fish and gave them to that kid as they were leaving. He had a smile as wide as the Columbia as he staggered up the ramp under the weight of those fish.
Central Ferry was a joy in the spring. Often windy but usually sunny and not very crowded in the off season. And dark at night, you could use a telescope there with little interference from ambiant light and the sky would just be magnificent. The lagoon had big bass in it in the spring and they would take a wolly bugger. Here too the dock produced enormous crappie up to 16". Early in the morning before the sun hit the water the fishing was outstanding and again just as it was getting too dark to see the big fish got active again. We parked there one time in our modest little 5th wheel and after we got settled in a yuppie couple pulled in next to us in an enormous motor home towing a brand new Jeep SUV. They unhooked the Jeep and parked it and then the guy got out a broom and carefully swept the entire parking area before he would pull the motorhome in! With that done he rolled out the carpet, put up the awning, unfolded the lawn chairs and set up the satelite receiver. Then they both went inside and didn't even open the door for a day and a half when they came out, packed everything up and drove away. Ahh, the great outdoors!! I think whatever they left home to get away from they probably brought with them.
Chief Timothy, like Crow Butte, is also on an island and was always the perfect place to stop on the way to Kelly Creek in Idaho. It would be wonderful to pull in there after driving all the way across the state and just be still for awhile. A broiled steak and a good beer generally improved one's spirits and gave you the strength needed to go down to the docks and fight the hordes of panfish that inhabit that area. Again, big crappie prevailed here and were pushovers for a small jig on light line. Crappie fillets fried in beer batter are some of the best table fare imaginable and there is little doubt that most of these fish in the Columbia and the Snake die of old age rather than make it to a table somewhere.
So this year we won't be going to any of these places and we are all poorer for it. Less than 2 million dollars was needed to keep them open and it just couldn't be found I guess. I think it cost about 20 million to elect our last senator and I believe we are still paying taxes for a stadium we built for a billionaire a couple of years ago. It cost more for the salary of a second rate utility infielder that sits on the bench all season than it would cost to keep those parks open all year.Go figure. Well, here's wishin' sunshine on ya, Ive
 

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There must be thousands of Washingtonians who feel the same way you do. Thanks for listing the positives to such great detail instead of the opposite. I think I'd have a hard time expressing how I feel about the closing of these parks with out getting extremely negative. You did a good job of displaying our loss. Let's hope something happens to re-open them soon.
 

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Nice post about our great loss. I guess the few miserable dollars we get back on our license plates will balance it all up. Hate to be sarcastic but you've got to ask who voted for all this?
Chief Timothy was a beautiful park and a real rest haven for me when I went to the Grande Rhonde last fall. I was proud to be a part owner. Now I guess I don't own diddly squat.:dunno
 

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It is obvious you are a man of passion and kindness. I have never been to any of the parks you mention. However, at least one of the parks I camped at last year ( Lake Cushman) has been scheduled to revert from state ownership to something else this year. It may close. It may become a private campground.
Based on the value you place on the spots you mention, they should be yours. You should be able to go there anytime you choose.
Where is the Villain? Some say the villians are in our state houses, working on our payroll and punishing us for not giving them everything they want. Maybe they are right. considering all the evidence makes me tired and all I want to do is go fishing. Perhaps we need to stop breeding for a generation or two. If we reduced our numbers we would need fewer lanes of concrete and fewer officials with rules that wast our time and cost us money.
Coming out against motherhood has never made me particularly popular either.
My rant.
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