We Need Your Help

We're excited to partner with the Department of Natural Resources, local tribes, and other stakeholders to restore Whiteman to a saltwater estuary while also supporting environmental outdoor education. We need your help to keep the momentum going! Please send letters of support to your elected officials to express your support for this request, urging them to fund the project.

Update on Whiteman Cove Restoration Project

Embracing Nature and Education 

At YMCA Camp Colman, we have embarked on an exciting journey in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Washington State. Over the past few years, we have worked diligently to identify the key program and site impacts of the reopening of Whiteman Cove Estuary on our beloved camp. This monumental project, led by DNR, aims to revitalize the natural beauty of the Whiteman Cove Estuary and save our local salmon. 

At the beginning of this project, we asked our supporters to ask state legislators to advocate for a solution for Camp Colman that supports fish passage and preserves the enriching camp experience. We are pleased to share that we have reached a favorable outcome.

Now, we need your support to keep the momentum going. 

The YMCA of Greater Seattle has partnered with DNR to request $6.2m in Fiscal Year 2024 funding to move this work forward. DNR has included this in their plans and budget requests, and we need to be sure the Governor includes this funding in his upcoming 2024 Budget. That planning is happening right now, and that’s why we need your immediate help. 

Even with this assistance, YMCA Camp Colman recognizes the challenges ahead. The restoration project will undoubtedly impact our programs and capacity to serve children and families. To address these challenges, we are actively working with DNR and the state to secure additional planning and construction funds, ensuring that our camp remains a vibrant and nurturing environment for generations to come. 

Share Your Support with Your Elected Officials 

Your legislators look to the public to gauge the importance of this project and the importance of camp in the lives of youth across Washington. Please write and/or call to make your voice heard and spread the word to help save salmon AND Camp Colman. 

Send an email today! 


Investing in Our Future 

The State of Washington has shown its commitment to our cause by providing initial support of $1.9 million. These funds are allocated for the study of the impacts of the estuary restoration, with $1.4m specifically designated for the design and installation of a new water system. This system will not only improve the camp's infrastructure but also provide the required fire suppression capabilities for future buildings. 

We are pleased to share that DNR's project planners have actively engaged with our dedicated Y staff to incorporate our recommendations. Together, we have worked on minimizing disruptions and ensuring that our camp can continue to operate seamlessly throughout the project. 

Our Vision for Whiteman Cove Estuary Restoration 
DNR's dedication to this restoration project is evident in the comprehensive scope of work. By September 2024, we expect major developments to take shape, including: 

  1. New Road and Bridge: A new road and bridge will be constructed parallel to our current camp road, ensuring easier access and transportation for all our campers. 
  2. Beach Restoration: Existing tide gates and pipes will be removed, and our beaches will be returned to their natural state, allowing the beauty of the coastline to shine once more. 
  3. Rising Sea Level Protection: To combat the rising sea levels, the beachside roadway will be raised by 1-2 feet, ensuring the safety and sustainability of our camp. 
  4. Clear Channel: A channel from the outer bay to the estuary will be cleared, providing a vital connection and allowing the estuary to flourish. 
  5. Full Tidal Flow: The estuary will be reopened to full tidal flow, rejuvenating the ecosystem and enhancing the natural beauty of the area. 


Save Camp Colman AND Salmon 

For the past 57 years, YMCA Camp Colman's lagoon has been the heart of recreation. It's where campers swim, learn to paddle canoes, and connect with the water. We've also maintained a small Marine Center to teach and inspire campers about the South Sound ecosystem. 

The Estuary restoration project represents a transformation for our camp, shifting our largest feature from recreation to education. We eagerly anticipate the return of salmon and the re-establishment of estuary habitat, which will become integral to our Outdoor Environmental Education curriculum and programs. 



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