Community Environment Government

Penrose State Park campground closure extended

Posted on May 10th, 2023 By:

Campers won’t be pitching tents at Penrose Point State Park for at least part of the season.

Supply-chain issues bogged down septic repair work and delayed the campground opening. The target to reopen is late summer, said State Parks Communications Manager Sarah Fronk. However, the 237-acre park near Lakebay on Key Peninsula is scheduled to become available for day use starting May 15. Moorage will be available throughout the summer.

Restrooms will remain off limits. Portable toilets will take their place.

“Our contractor is currently waiting for an equipment delivery,” said Fronk. “For this reason we do not have a set opening date for the campground or final completion date for this work. We will continue to update the park’s webpage as we have more information.”

Closed in January

The campground, where most of the work is taking place, closed on Jan. 3. The rest of the park followed on Jan. 16. Lack of restrooms necessitated the move, along with the safety hazard posed by holes and trenches, said Washington State Parks Assistant Area Manager for South Sound Olyvia Buday.

She stated at the time that the job would have to go “perfectly smoothly” for Penrose to open in mid-May. It didn’t.

Picnic tables at Penrose Point State Park.

Penrose Point State Park boasts 2 miles of shoreline on Mayo Cove and Carr Inlet.

Day use opens May 15

“Like many large construction projects, things change rapidly,” she said in an email on May 9. “While we are set to open day use on May 15, we still have no facilities for the public to use. Hence, the portable toilets. Our construction crew was unfortunately thrown a curveball and was hit with manufacturing delays which in turn delayed the finalization of the project.

“The campground closure is due to the septics not being finalized and some of the campsite reconstruction/paving that will need to take place once our last pieces get put in place.”

The contractor is waiting for custom control panels, Fronk said.

The state will refund people who made campground reservations.

CLS Septics of Ravensdale, King County, is doing the work on a contract estimated at just under $700,000. Problems ordering equipment and parts also forced postponement of construction last year, Buday said. This increase is expected to bump the cost by about $140,000, Fronk said.

Sunrise behind Mount Rainier and Carr Inlet from Penrose Point State Park.

Sunrise behind Mount Rainier and Carr Inlet from Penrose Point State Park.

Crews will continue to work in the park, but won’t be in the day-use or beach area, Fronk said.

Shellfishing will not reopen when the day-use area does, she said. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife closed it for the season and it won’t reopen until 2024.

Penrose, which fronts Mayo Cove and Carr Inlet, is 22 miles from Gig Harbor, about a 40-minute drive across the Purdy Bridge.

It joins Kopachuck State Park in not offering camping. The state closed the Kopachuck campground in 2011 as a safety precaution and made it day-use only after Douglas fir trees became infected with laminated root rot and hundreds were cut down.

Kopachuck was expected to close entirely early this year for a $7.6 million renovation. Parks officials had hoped to wrap up permitting by the end of the year and advertise for bids. It remains in permitting and environmental review, Fronk said. The 280-acre site 6 miles west of downtown Gig Harbor is across Carr Inlet from Penrose.

Other camping options

The nearest state park camping now is just a mile farther on Key Peninsula at Joemma Beach. Manchester State Park near Port Orchard is 23 miles away, Dash Point near Federal Way is 24 miles and Saltwater near Des Moines is 28 miles. Belfair and Twanoh on Hood Canal are 29 and 31 miles.