Washington State Parks purchases land to expand Beacon Rock

Beacon Rock State Park
Beacon Rock State Park(Washington State Parks)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 11:56 AM PDT
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COLUMBIA GORGE, Wash. (KPTV) - A state park in the Columbia River Gorge which typically receives almost 300,000 visitors a year is expanding.

On Wednesday, Washington State Parks announced that it purchased a tract of land next to Beacon Rock State Park. The land was previously owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge, who bought the property from a local couple in 2019.

State Route 14 runs through the busy and popular Beacon Rock State Park. Since the park runs along both sides of the highway, it poses safety hazards for drivers and pedestrians.

Washington State Parks said it plans to use the new land to build a new parking lot, roundabout and ADA-accessible underground pedestrian crossing. The project, estimated to cost about $25 million, will ease congestion, create safer traffic flow and allow foot and wheelchair access between the north and south sides of the park.

“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.

There’s no word when the work will begin at Beacon Rock State Park. Washington State Parks said it will update the public, local government officials, nonprofits and neighbors when the work begins.