Clallam to develop Salt Creek campsites for trail

Estimated development cost is $15,000 with annual maintenance at $1,500

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County’s park and recreation department will develop campsites at Salt Creek Recreation Area for users of the Cascadia Marine Trail, a non-motorized boat trail with 60 campsites and 160 day-use sites stretching from south Puget Sound northward.

The commissioners will consider a formal agreement with the Washington Water Trails Association ( to designate and maintain the sites at their next regular meeting, set for 10 a.m. May 28 in the commissioners’ meeting room at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles.

“(The Washington Water Trails Association has) trails all around the Puget Sound and now they’re going to want to start coming up the Strait,” said Don Crawford, the county’s parks, fair and facilities manager, at Monday’s work session.

“They already have ‘trail sites’ on Whidbey Island and in the San Juans, and so now they are wanting to come this way,” he said. “And the easiest no-brainer was Salt Creek since it is right on the water.”

The trail is a series of overnight and day-use sites for users of non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks and canoes.

“In a former life, I worked with them on the establishment of a site in the city of Oak Harbor,” Crawford said. “They are very easy to work with. They have a pretty energetic volunteer crew that helps watch everything and helps with development.

“So, while there are costs identified in here, it’s nothing that has to happen immediately. And it can be done with grants and in-kind donations between the two groups.”

The estimated development cost for the sites is $15,000 and annual maintenance is estimated at $1,500.

Salt Creek already has six designated “hiker-biker” campsites, which are off in the woods and cost $10 per person and don’t have utilities or water, he said.

The proposed sites would be a quarter-mile from the existing sites but close to the mouth of Salt Creek, Crawford said.

“So, it’s for a maximum of two nights and it’s reserved for what we are calling a hiker-biker-kayaker site now,” he said. “We already have the space there.

“And, essentially, all we needed to do besides get approval from the board is mow the area down to designate it as the site.”

Crawford said the campsites are “very low use,” about 200 to 300 people a year.

“But it’s just one more recreational activity that would, for what it costs in development and operations, is a no-brainer as far as staff is concerned,” he said.

The Cascadia Marine Trail ( is a National Recreation Trail and designated one of only 16 National Millennium Trails by the White House.

It originated with Tom Steinburn and Tom Deschner when they noticed many of their favorite spots were being purchased and so were not available. The goal is to have a put-in or take-out about every three hours.

Suitable for day or multi-day trips, the Cascadia Marine Trail (CMT) has grown to 66 campsites and 160 day-use sites. Most of the day-use sites are also good places to launch a non-motorized, beachable boat.


Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached by email at

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