Daybreak 2

Wanted: Campground Hosts

mckinneyfrHave you ever spent a weekend camping and thought to yourself; “Man, I wish this didn’t have to end!" Well it might not have to.

Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for campground volunteer hosts and you may be just the person for the job.

DNR needs hosts for three sites in southwest Washington: Margaret McKenny campground in Capitol State Forest, Dougan Creek campground in Yacolt Burn State Forest, and Merrill Lake campground just north of Cougar, Washington. Margaret McKenny and Dougan Creek have full hook-ups on site. Merrill Lake is a more primitive site for those looking to get away from it all.

Margaret McKenny Campground - Capitol State Forest

·         Location:2.5 miles northwest of Littlerock, WA in Thurston County.

·         Description:Nestled on the eastern edge of the Capitol State Forest (map), the Margaret McKenny Campground is a favorite spot for family camping excursions.  There are 24 regular and 1 ADA campsites to choose from.

·         Amenities:Cement pad with covered shelter, power, water tank, septic holding tank, and phone line.

·         Host Needed:Year round

Dougan Creek Campground - Yacolt Burn State Forest

·         Location:19 miles northeast of the town of Washougal along Washougal River Road in Skamania County.

·         Description:Dougan Falls is the last waterfall along the Washougal River and is 100-feet wide. Area has 7 campsites and two outhouses. The nearby day-use area has 4 picnic sites and one outhouse. Campground is heavily used due to its proximity to the town of Washougal and the Vancouver/Portland metropolitan area. The presence of campground hosts and an active neighborhood watch group has helped deter inappropriate uses of the area. Campground hosts are encouraged to partner with the neighborhood watch group.

·         Amenities:Septic, power, and water are available for hook-up at host site. A land line phone is available to the host.

·         Host needed:Dougan Falls campground has the potential to be open year round, winter weather permitting.


Merrill Lake Natural Resources Conservation Area Campground - near Cougar, WA

·         Location: 4.5 miles north of Cougar, WA in Cowlitz County, southwest of Mount St. Helens in a stand of old growth trees. Elevation—2,500 feet.

·         Description: If you’re a fan of fly fishing, then you may have heard of Merrill Lake—a lake formed by volcano. The entire lake is off limits to boats with combustion-engines. Merrill Lake has a walk-in only tent campground with 9 sites and a day-use area. The day-use area has picnic sites, a boat launch, and a short trail through some old growth trees.

·         Amenities: Merrill Lake has septic, an available generator, and fuel for RV power. There is no phone service at host site but hosts will be provided a radio for contact with DNR dispatch. The site also has a hand pump for water - although we recommend boiling any pumped water before drinking. There is a single outhouse in campground area and a double outhouse in picnic area.

·         Host needed:Merrill Lake campground is generally open March 15 – November 15, depending on snow level. A host will need to be able to commit to living at the campground until it closes for the season.

Host duties include (but are not limited to):

·         Register campers.

·         Act as a point of contact, providing information on rules regulations and other recreation opportunities

·         Clean camp and day-use areas, including restrooms.

·         Help in educating visitors to follow campground rules and have a current Discover Pass.

·         Let visitors know about appropriate uses of adjacent day-use areas and trails.


IMAGE: As the gateway to the over 80 miles non-motorized trails, Margaret McKinney campground is a favorite for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian users alike. Photo by Diana Lofflin/DNR