Saltwater serenity just a few strokes away

By Cameron Boosman - Staff Reporter

Beautiful scenery and historical significance collide just down the road at Des Moines' Saltwater Park.

Saltwater State Park is a 90-acre park on the shores of the Poverty Bay just off South 252nd Street.

It is one of only five locations in South King County were the public can access Puget Sound.

 The park was originally built cooperatively by the cities of Seattle and Tacoma to signify an end to the civic rivalry between them. For years the pair had battled to see which would be the dominant city on Puget Sound.

The park was dedicated in 1926, with members of the two cities coming together to bury the hatchet, both literally and figuratively.  While the location of the hatchet has since been lost, the spirit that inspired the park's original construction remains.

State Park Ranger Coleman Wright has worked at the park for nearly a decade.

"The ranger station was actually constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid-30s," Wright said.

One of the original buildings constructed by the Corps has been converted into a small museum containing information about animal and plant species found in the park. It also houses items belonging to members of the Corps while they were stationed at Saltwater.

"The museum is open on the weekends," Wright said.  "We have some local school programs that bring their kids in to see the exhibits and explore the park."

Some things they can explore are the approximately four miles of hiking trails, and the part of the sound surrounding the park that has been designated a marine protected area.  Within the protected area there is no fishing or harvesting of any kind of shellfish allowed.  The park also has an artificial reef and is a popular destination for both beginner and experienced divers.

There are 47 campsites that are open from May 15 until Sept. 15.  Campgrounds can be registered for online or in person at the park, and fees range from $25 to $35.  

Saltwater Park is a member of the Washington State Discover Pass program.  The park normally charges $10 for parking, or a Discover Pass can be purchased for $30 and is usable at any participating state park and is good for a year.

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