Camp David Jr. gets new park fees

Director: ‘Still the best value in area’

PORT ANGELES — Camp David Jr., the oldest park in Clallam County, is getting its first fee increases in more than a decade.

The 2023 changes in both the amount of fees and a group priority system for Camp David Jr. is part of an overall review of the Clallam County Parks and Recreation Department’s fees.

“The issue is it’s not just about the numbers. It has been some time, and in some cases since 2011, when rates were increased,” said Don Crawford, Clallam County Parks, Fair and Facilities director.

Under the new rates, organized youth groups up to 100 people will pay $550 per night plus $1 per person per night. Organized adult groups will pay $550 per night plus a $200 lodge fee plus $2 per person per night.

Individual, family and friends groups will pay $700 per night plus a $200 lodge fee plus $3 per person per night. A three-night minimum rental also is being imposed.

The old rates were $47 per night for youth who are county residents, $62 per night for youth who aren’t county residents and adults who are, and $72 per night for adults who aren’t county residents.

Complete rates and restrictions can be found on the county parks department website at https://www.clallamcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10295/Camp-David-Jr-Fee-Schedule-2023-PDF?bidId=.

“Those rates are still the best value in area, better than the state, Olympic National Park and certainly private campgrounds. The other part is we are emphasizing youth groups,” Crawford said.

Camp David Jr. covers 8.75 acres of Lake Crescent waterfront property that provides settings for group activities, focusing on youth groups. Originally a health spa, it has been maintained as an outdoor recreation camp since 1935.

Crawford said Camp David Jr. operates on a different model from other facilities.

“It’s not a campground,” he said. “A deed restriction set it aside for boys and girls for recreational, therapeutic and educational purposes. So, it is not typically for small groups.

“The last 10 or 20 years, there’s been less of an emphasis on youth camps and groups. We have two conversations: The rate increase for Camp David Jr. and an administrative change we are making that is related,” Crawford said.

“We created three priorities and kids are the first priority. We decided 501(c)(3)s and schools are youth groups. They are the first priority. They have a better rate than next two,” he said.

“We still give priority to Clallam County groups. If it’s between the Boys & Girls Club in Shoreline and Port Angeles, we will prioritize the Clallam group. They always get priority.

“After the youth are organized, adult groups such 501(c)(3) and schools, churches and social clubs. Those are the second priority. The third priority is friends and family, everyone else who isn’t an organization or group,” Crawford said.

“This year’s registration is priority one will start registering in early January. Then priority two and three will register in February,” he said.

“The youth groups are getting the best value we can give them. Adults are paying a couple more dollars per head. The third priority will pay the most, Crawford said.

The other reservation change is instituting mandatory minimums, such as three nights, from the Friday before Memorial Day to Monday Labor Day.

“This will give us fewest gaps so we get as many kids as we can,” he said.

_______

Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

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