Columbia Park (Kennewick, Washington)
- For other places known as Columbia Park, see Columbia Park (disambiguation)
The Columbia River along Columbia Park
|Location||Kennewick, Washington, United States|
|Area||400 acres (1.6 km2)|
|Owned by||U.S. Army Corps of Engineers|
|Operated by||City of Kennewick|
|Status||Open all year|
Columbia Park is a 400-acre (160 ha) recreational area with 4.5 miles (7.2 km) of shoreline of the Columbia River located in the city of Kennewick in the U.S. state Washington. The park is a popular destination for residents of the surrounding area because of the many facilities and events at the park.
There are several trails for hiking and bicycling in Columbia Park. Running the entire length of the park is the Sacagawea Heritage Trail, a bike trail that loops around the Tri-Cities providing bicyclists access to Richland and Pasco. The trail is popular, especially during times of warm weather.
There is a Veterans Memorial in the east end of the park. This memorial has the tallest freestanding granite structure in the United States, standing at 40 feet in height.
Geocaching in the park is a popular activity. In 2015 there were 19 geocaches in Columbia Park.
Boat launches are located at the end of Edison Street along with in the east end of the park allowing boaters access to the Columbia River.
Playground of Dreams
In the east end of the park is the Playground of Dreams, which was built in 1999. Around half of the cost of the original playground was donated by Bechtel Hanford, KNDU-TV and Radio Tri-Cities. Around 6,000 volunteers helped in the construction of the playground
On November 29, 2003, arsonists burnt down the playground. Again the community raised the needed money to rebuild and volunteers from around the area offered a cumulative total of over 8,000 work hours. The playground was reopened on May 8, 2004. No one was arrested for the crime.
The Playground of Dreams has a wooden castle-like structure with artwork that looks like a spaceship, farm, house and pirate ship along with more local themes including the Blue Bridge and the Cable Bridge. There is also a swing set, monkey bars, climbing wall and an obstacle course.
Adjacent to the Playground of Dreams are a family fishing pond and an aquatic playground.
Since 1966 Columbia Park has hosted the a hydroplane race known as the Columbia Cup. During the Columbia Cup, portions of Columbia Park require a fee to enter and portions of the Sacagawea Heritage Trail are closed.
On Independence Day there is a large celebration in the park known as the River of Fire Celebration. There are multiple vendors and daylong activities, ending with fireworks being launched off of a barge floating offshore.
There are also several community events held throughout the year, and a polar bear plunge, which is held in the winter.
During the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled along what later became Columbia Park when they explored up to Bateman Island in Richland. Bateman Island is as far upstream on the Columbia River that they explored.
Previous to building the McNary Dam near Umatilla, Oregon and SR-240, Columbia Park Trail was US Highway 410 and later US Highway 12. Most of the current route of Columbia Park Trail follows the old route of US 410 except in the east end of the park where the old road is now used as a portion of the Sacagawea Heritage Trail.
During the Columbia Cup in July 1996, two men wading through the river stumbled across a human skull. There was a police investigation where more human remains were found. It was determined that the remains belonged to a man who lived around 9,400 years ago. The remains have been named Kennewick Man and remain in custody of the US Army Corps of Engineers.
- "Parks Interactive Map". City of Kennewick. 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- City of Kennewick page. Columbia Park Retrieved January 06, 2009.
- Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- The Columbia River - Columbia Park Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- HistoryLink.org Essay Tri-Citians build Playground of Dreams in Kennewick on September 19, 1999 Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- Columbia Park - city-data.com Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- Water Follies A to Z] Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- River of Fire Celebration Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- Thwaites, Reuben Gold (2001). Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Volume 3. Digital Scanning Inc. pp. 123–124. ISBN 9781582186542.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Columbia Park Retrieved January 06, 2009.
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