Twin Bridges County Park Revitalized for Family Fun in Grays Harbor
As the sun climbs higher in the sky, enjoy Grays Harbor’s natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities at the newly upgraded Twin Bridges County Park. Known informally as the “Elks Picnic Grounds,” Grays Harbor County renamed the area last June when it took control of the park after a long-term, long-expired lease with the Aberdeen Elks was officially terminated. The “twin bridges” moniker comes from two bridges – one spanning a railroad and the other a county bridge. The name goes back about 50 years.
“For years and years, the kids all called it ‘Twin Bridges.’ They would jump off the bridges into the river in the summer,” comments Mark Cox, Grays Harbor County Utilities and Facilities Supervisor,
The bridges aren’t side-by-side, but the name stuck.
According to Cox, the area used to be the old county “poor farm, like a homeless work camp.” He says the county work crews have discovered “all sorts of interesting historical facts” while sprucing up the park, like coal and concrete. He surmises that the concrete may have been for road projects. The land was originally property of Grays Harbor County. It’s now set to re-open to the public, just in time for summer.
Tourist and family-friendly features include:
Easy entrance and egress on a newly graveled roundabout
Full-time caretaker on-site
8 old, refurbished wooden picnic tables with 6 new metal ones on order
Direct access to the Wynoochee River
ADA accessible portable toilet
Several hundred feet of gravel bar with a gentle decline
No sharp drop-offs into deep water (swim at your own risk)
Cox adds, “The fast side of the river is on the other side (of the park), so there’s safe wading for the little ones.” He also notes that the Wynoochee River that wraps around the park is clean. Read more here: www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/05/18/twin-bridges-county-park/
For some people the term “Ah, go fly a kite!” is more than a brush-off line from a 1930’s Little Rascals movie—it’s an actual call to the art of kite flying at the beach. Consistent winds on the Grays Harbor coast beckon all levels of flying aficionados year-round with any number of kite designs.
On blustery weekends, the western Ocean Shores sky is festooned with these wind floaters. From single string fabrications to their multiline sophisticates, from traditional four-corner tailed kites to modern behemoths, they share the oceanside vista in aerial dance.
Of the many flying experiences available, kitesurfing, stands out for its physicality and adventurous style.
Kitesurfing is a water-surface sport mixing the skills of other aquatic endeavors including wakeboarding, windsurfing, paragliding, and even terra firma gymnastics into one awesome extreme sport.
In particular, the Olympics can be difficult to access. In general, those seeking mountain adventures must hike for several miles to penetrate them. One easier way to admire the mountain scenery with younger nature lovers in tow is at Wynoochee Dam and Lake.
Located at the mouth of the Olympic Mountains, Wynoochee Lake is a hidden gem. The dam and day use area make a perfect destination for families looking for a day trip. The dam is a little over one hour’s drive from Aberdeen. There are no commercial services in the vicinity, so it is best to pack and plan accordingly. Cell phone coverage can be spotty, and although a pay phone is available, be sure to prepare for that as well.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, especially on and near the Olympic Peninsula, we are lucky to have access to some of the scenic drives in the country. From old growth forests housing elk, bear, bobcat and deer to coastal vistas that are wilder than anything seen along competing coastlines, the scenic beauty in our neck of the woods offer great opportunities for exploration. While many know that all you need to do is drive along Highway 101 around the Peninsula for fantastic views and experiences, few know the joy of experiencing a remote forest service road.
The remote roads around Grays Harbor not only show us the beauty of the region, but they also give us a glimpse into our shared history and culture. Driving along a dirt road in the middle of the woods, it is easy to see what drew so many settlers to this area and why the native populations have called this place home for millennia. On your next day off, pack a picnic, hop in your car and explore these nature drives around Grays Harbor. Read more here: http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2015/04/18/5-scenic-nature-drives-grays-harbor/
Attention residents of Grays Harbor: Prepare to be inundated with hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.
This weekend, Hoquiam will become the center of the world for shorebirds as they make their annual migration from South America. Some of these birds will travel over 15,000 miles, making a quick stop in our backyard before continuing their journey north. Since they are stopping by our own backyard wildlife refuge, what better way to welcome them than by throwing a huge festival?
Located at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds, this event is sure to get you excited to explore and experience the wilderness all around the Pacific Northwest. With great food, awesome drinks, fantastic vendors and amazing music, Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days promises to be the nature event of the spring. If you love the natural beauty of Grays Harbor and beyond, you do not want to miss this event. Partnering with Grays Harbor Tourism and Youth Outdoors Unlimited, this promises to be an great weekend for the entire family.
Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days is an event geared toward those who enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle, including hiking, fishing, bird watching, hunting, clamming, camping, shooting, and archery. Families who love being in nature will find plenty of informative vendors and engaging activities at this event.
The cost to attend is just $10 for guests 16 and older, while it is free for anyone 15 and younger.
“This event is to promote the great outdoors in the greater Grays Harbor County area and bring some exciting new exhibitors, vendors, attractions, and entertainment to the area,” explains Rex Peterson of Horns and Hooks. “We want to expose as many people as possible to the great outdoors throughout the area and the unforgettable opportunities we have in the area for people to enjoy.”
Horns and Hooks Outdoor Days has tons of activities for guests of all ages. Adults will enjoy the booths, seminars, guides, outfitters and deals on fantastic gear. This year’s event will have informational seminars from professional guides and outfitters, a 3D Archery Range organized by Youth Outdoors Unlimited, a free kids trout pond, a BB gun range, and kids archery. Read more here: http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/04/19/outdoor-days-grays-harbor/
16 Outdoor Adventures Await in Grays Harbor for 2016
Now that 2016 is upon us, it is time to look outdoors and start planning a year’s worth of adventures in the beautiful land we call home. In and around Grays Harbor, we are rewarded with stunning views, amazing wildlife experiences and some of the greatest weekend adventure in America. From sailing on rustic boats, to hiking in wilderness areas full of elk and bear, we have it all right here in our own backyard. While any adventure outdoors is great, we bring you 16 fantastic opportunities to make 2016 your best year in Grays Harbor. Do one or do them all and make 2016 the year you reconnect with the gorgeous landscape we know and love.
Beside the Grays Harbor College campus lies an unsuspecting patch of forest. Concealed within these towering trees is the peaceful and serene Lake Swano, a lovely spot nestled in the Alder Creek watershed.
In the late 1940s, Mr. Swano Katalinich owned and operated a gravel pit along Alder Creek. While placing a road to the gravel pit, construction crews built a dam in Alder Creek, creating Lake Swano.
In the decades following its formation, Lake Swano inspired various educational and recreational interests. Grays Harbor College purchased the lake in 1962, and immediately put plans for trail development into place. These plans would not come to fruition for some time, however.
Alder Creek became an area of interest for the college’s fisheries program. As a result, the John M. Smith Aquaculture Center was constructed in 1987, and it was not until after its completion that the first trail was developed. This trail was installed for interpreting fish habitat. Swiftly following its development, steps to the lake were built beside the 800 Building, and a loop trail completed around the lake. Read more here http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2016/03/06/lake-swano/
You’ll never forget the first time you spot a whale. From the initial sighting of the spray rising from the ocean swells, to the smell of the fishy odor of the spout, your first glimpse of a whale is something that you reminisce about for your entire life. Every April, just off the breaking waves along the Washington Coast, 18,000 gray whales make their way slowly up the Washington Coast. Heading north to the cold, food-filled waters of Alaska, the gray whales have returned, and can be spotted in an endless series of pods from late March to early May.
Gray whales are huge, weighing up to 80,000 pounds and measuring up to 49 feet in length. Living up to 70 years, feeding mostly on tiny shrimp-like animals that dwell in the ocean floor, the whales make this migration every spring, with newborns lingering behind them. The entire migration is amazing and visiting in person is strongly encouraged. Whale watching can be a highlight of the spring; a timeless tradition passed on to generation after generation in hopes to have better harmony and understanding with nature.
It might seem daunting to find a whale in the ocean, but you don’t need a sense of vengeance like Captain Ahab to track down these massive mammals. Instead, all you need is a sense of adventure, a day of exploration and a few tips on how and where to see gray whales off the Washington Coast.
Learn about Gray Whales and Whaling
One great destination to learn about Gray Whales and their historical importance to the local economy is the Maritime Museum in Westport. With an entire room highlighting Grays Harbor’s whaling past, including locations, pictures and relics from the long past days, the museum is a perfect stop on your Westport whaling adventure.
The ranger station and resort at Olympic National Park’s Kalaloch region also has some information about whales, including occasional talks from NPS rangers about the migration and whales. Contact the park to discover the locations and dates of these talks.
Further north, the Makah Museum on the Makah Reservation at Neah Bay has one of the best exhibits in the state on local tribes, whales, whaling and the connection between whales and local survival. The drive to get here might be a bit long, but combining a stop at Cape Flattery with the museum will almost guarantee you a whale sighting off in the distance.