Project Highlight: Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park

July 22, 2016


Our Policy Associate took her family to Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park to enjoy one of Central Washington’s most scenic landscapes.

Lou Daoust-Filiatrault, the Coalition’s Policy Associate, took a weekend to explore one of our state’s beautiful WWRP and LWCF sites. She reported back on her experience:

I have been living in Washington for over a year but I am still amazed by the variety of landscapes and recreational opportunities this state has to offer. Inspired by my work at the Coalition (and a poster in our office), I took my family out to Central Washington to explore Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park. The park is a major beneficiary of both the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) and Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

We also brought along a young family member who had never been camping before. Our “teen tag-along” wanted to build a campfire, roast her first s’mores, and sleep in a tent. Luckily, Sun Lakes-Dry Falls Park offers all that and more. There are a wide range of recreational opportunities including over fifteen miles of trails, interpretive programs, camping, boating, golfing, and wildlife viewing.

Located just a few minutes south of Coulee City, the park is an impressive example of the nationally significant landscapes found along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. There are panoramic views of the Grand Coulee, dormant waterfalls, and a series of groundwater-fed lakes. We spent our weekend swimming in the lakes, hiking nearby trails, and watching a fifteen year old willingly push her limits and take full advantage of her first time in a state park.

Secretary Jewell noted at a press conference last week that “we are growing as a people. Our children are more disconnected from nature than ever before […] and our beautiful public lands give those breathing spaces for young people to play.” Places like Sun Lakes-Dry Falls Park are an excellent example of how public lands can provide people of all ages with the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy Washington’s natural heritage.

Grant programs like the WWRP and LWCF help ensure these spaces exist for younger generations to enjoy. Over the last fifteen years, the park has received over four million dollars in WWRP and LWCF funding. This money purchased almost 300 acres of waterfront property to provide additional public access to the lake and trail routes to high plateaus overlooking the park and region. Funds have also helped develop new campsites which include electric, water, and sewer utilities.

The next time you are in the area, Sun Lakes-Dry Falls Park is not a place to be missed!