An Update on Camp Colman

For over 50 years, Camp Colman has served kids and families of Washington State with inspiring outdoor experiences that can impact them for life. As an integral part of camp, Whiteman Cove provides a living classroom for the next generation of environmental stewards, offering a safe and serene place to observe a great blue heron relaxing in the reeds or watch an eagle dive for a fish.

The cove, or lagoon as it is known to campers, is an invaluable place for youth and families to learn and practice water safety and provides a predictable saltwater environment to study marine life. Within its calm waters, protected by the berm, campers learn to swim in an open body of water, row a boat, paddle a canoe, or literally save lives through lifeguard training, all while exploring the ecosystem unique to the Pacific Northwest.

Earlier this year, 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.

A Favorable Outcome

On May 2021, Governor Inslee approved the 2021-2022 capital budget which includes a special proviso to fund work to scope, plan, and advance the future of the Camp Colman experience while moving forward with the restoration of the Whiteman Cove saltwater estuary.

The process will include collaborating with local tribes, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and other stakeholders to develop a plan for returning the cove to a fully functioning saltwater estuary, supporting environmental outdoor education, learning native cultural heritage unique and specific to the natural and human history of the site. The plan will also address the physical improvements for the camp and funding recommendations. Lastly, the proviso also invests funds for DNR design of fish blockage removal and predesign enhancements for a new bridge and roadway across the cove to maintain the route as access to camp and minimize disruption of camp programs.

A Collaborative Solution

As you know, the Y’s environmental educators teach about salmon lifecycles and marine habitats to 8,300 Washington students annually. Camp Colman has been a beacon for outdoor education and recreation for the over 50 years. The solution proposed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor will allow the Y to work together with the other stakeholders to develop a plan that will continue to provide a living classroom for the next generation of environmental stewards.

Thank You

We’d like to thank everyone who helped support this effort. We believe your support - whether a call, tweet or email to legislators played a key role in this win-win-win solution for salmon restoration, for youth and families, and future environmental stewards. Thank you to the Y community for sharing your stories about the importance of camp and encouraging all stakeholders to come together to forge a solution. Thank you

Send Your Appreciation to Your Elected Official

We invite you to take a moment to thank your elected official for their involvement and support regarding this important first step in saving salmon and saving camp. 

Send an email or tweet today! 



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