Sunday, March 25, 2012

Curlew Lake State Park
Perhaps the park I love most!

The recent issue of Washington Trails magazine has some nice features on our state's wonderful (and financially threatened) state park system. I have long advocated for our parks and am one of the system's biggest fans having been to nearly all of our wonderful parks. I even got married in a Washington state park, Curlew Lake in Ferry County. Not surprisingly then, Curlew Lake State Park is one of my favorite places in the entire state. The full piece that I had submitted to the magazine was edited down due to space constraints. Here is the full piece. Enjoy it. And what about you? Do you have a special park near and dear to your heart, too?

Nestled in the Okanogan Highlands of Northeastern Washington just north of the old gold mining town of Republic, Curlew Lake State Park is a long way from the state’s hurried and populated centers.  Consisting of 123 acres of hillsides of golden grasses and groves of majestic mature ponderosa pines along the shore of long and slender Curlew Lake, the park is cherished for its boating, fishing, sandy beach and family friendly camping.  I love the park for its setting in Washington’s final frontier—and its proximity to the Kettle River Range, one of my favorite hiking haunts in the state. Back in the summer of 1996 I enticed my girlfriend, Heather to join me on a camping trip—her first—to Curlew Lake State Park. We spent the days hiking along the lofty lonely Kettle Crest and the nights back at the park hunkered down at our lakeside campsite; where we watched through warming flames of fire, moonlight dance on the lake’s placid waters. We enjoyed morning visits by docile deer and evening gatherings by inquisitive quails. We savored the sweet serenity of the park and fell in love with our special campsite. We returned each summer to the park and to “our” site. In 2006 we were married at “our” campsite and shared our love for this park and region with our families. We continue to return to Curlew Lake. And I continue to extol the beauties and charms of this park to my outdoor loving friends and acquaintances. I made sure to include a chapter on the park’s wonderful nature trail in my next guidebook.
(bottom photo: Craig and Heather at Curlew Lake summer of 1996)

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