Kopachuck State Park

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Kopachuck State Park, situated on Henderson Bay in Puget Sound, is a 109-acre (0.44 km2) marine and day use park with over a mile of saltwater shoreline. The park also includes Cutts Island known locally as "Deadman's Island". The island is about half mile from shore and reachable only by boat. The park provides sweeping views of sunsets, the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.[1]

The park has four kitchen shelters (available on a first-come, first-served basis) complete with electricity in addition to 16 sheltered and 76 unsheltered picnic tables. Other common recreation activities include swimming and kayaking. The normally steep rocky beach becomes a level sandbar at low tide and is a popular place for kids to play in the sand.

History[edit]

Kopachuck State Park bears a name whose origin derives from the language of the Chinook Tribe, a band of Pacific Coastal Indians. Kopachuck is a blend of two words: “kopa,” meaning “at,” and “chuck” meaning “water.” The Puyallup and Nisqually Indian Tribes used the area around the park for seasonal fishing and clam gatherings.

Cutts Island has had many different names throughout the years. One of the names for the island: "Deadman's Island" alludes to the belief that the island was used by saltwater tribes who buried their dead in canoes placed in the forks of trees. It is unknown how the island acquired the name "Cutts Island". Prior to its current popular names, the place was called "Crow Island," for the large quantity of crows explorer Peter Puget discovered there in 1792, and later "Scotts Island," in honor of Thomas Scott, quartermaster of the 1841 Wilkes expedition.

Diseased Trees[edit]

In 2011, it was found that many Douglas Firs in Kopachuck State Park were diseased with laminated tree rot, one of the deadliest diseases a fir tree can contract. The campground was closed by park rangers soon after.[2] In September of the same year, many of the diseased trees were cut down due to increasingly urgent safety issues. This started controversy in nearby cities, and several local artists created “Intertwined — Requiem for the Trees," which the artists said was to record the trees before their death. The piece was displayed in the Gig Harbor History Museum for a short time that fall.[3]

2009 Proposed Closure[edit]

Kopachuck was tagged for closure in 2009 by Washington Governor Chris Gregoire as part of budget cutbacks in the wake of hard economic times, prompting neighbors to rally to save the park.[4]

360° Panorama of Kopachuck State Park in late July on a sunny afternoon. Beachgoers play in the tide and on the beach while off in the distance are sights of the Olympic Mountains and Cutts Island.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 47°18′59″N 122°40′42″W / 47.31639°N 122.67833°W / 47.31639; -122.67833