PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Beacon Rock State Park is getting a bit bigger after Washington state acquired more land to expand it on Monday, June 13.
Washington State Parks announced the expansion Wednesday.
The state, with assistance from Friends of the Columbia Gorge, purchased a tract of land next to Beacon Rock State Park.
The new land will be used to build a new parking lot, a new entrance, a roundabout and an ADA-accessible pedestrian crossing. Washington State Parks said all these improvements will create a safer traffic flow and allow foot and wheelchair access between the north and south sides of the park.
Currently, State Route 14 runs through the busy park. State officials hope these changes will better protect pedestrians from the traffic.
“This project will not only provide a safer, more welcoming entrance to the park, but will be vital in helping increase accessibility at one of the most iconic recreation spots in the Gorge,” said Renée Tkach, a project manager with Friends of the Columbia Gorge and a local Skamania County resident.
The project is estimated to cost $25 million.
Washington State Parks acquired the land to expand Beacon Rock from Friends of the Columbia Gorge. The non-profit bought the property on the north side of SR-14 from a local couple, Sharon and John Jamieson, in 2019. The Jamiesons wanted to see the land used for recreation.
State Parks indicated it wished to purchase the land from Friends of the Columbia Gorge, but did not have the funds to acquire it until 2022. Recently, the state purchased the property using funds from a Recreation Conservation Office Inholdings Grant, which provides funding to purchase properties within or adjacent to existing state parks.
Beacon Rock State Park typically receives 250,000 to 300,000 visitors a year.