Kopachuck State Park - Washington

US National Parks and Monuments Travel Guide: US-Parks.com

Park Overview

Kopachuck State Park is a 109-acre marine and camping park with 5,600 feet of saltwater shoreline on Henderson Bay. One portion of the park, Cutts Island (or "Deadman's Island") is a half mile from shore and reachable only by boat. The park provides scenic views of sunsets, the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.

History

The name "Kopachuck" originated from "Chinook Jargon," the trade language of the Pacific Coastal Indians. Kopachuck is a merging of two words: "Kopa" meaning "at," and "chuck" meaning "water." This scenic park was once a seasonal fishing and clamming site of the Puyallup and Nisqually tribes.

Cutts Island, which sets in the water a half mile away from the park proper, is also known as "Deadman's Island." The latter name derives from the belief that the island was used by saltwater tribes who buried their dead in canoes placed in the forks of trees. It is unknown how the island acquired the name "Cutts Island." Prior to its current popular names, the place was called "Crow Island," for the large quantity of crows explorer Peter Puget discovered there in 1792, and later "Scotts Island," in honor of Thomas Scott, quartermaster of the 1841 Wilkes expedition.

Park Features

This beautiful park has a western exposure with spectacular sunsets, sandy beaches and a panoramic view of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. Cutts Island, a portion of the park located half a mile from the park proper, is reachable only by private boat.

Interpretive opportunities

The park offers Junior Ranger beach walks for kids aged 12 and under during the spring and summer only. Rangers lead the walks, explaining marine habitat and environmental features. Walks are by appointment through the park ranger office.

Activities

Most of the activities at Kopachuck center around the beach. During low tide, the sun warms the sand, which in turn warms the water brought in by the tide. The sandy beach is ideal for wading, sand-castle building, and exploring the marine habitat. The most popular day-use area is the beach. Getting there requires a short 1/8-mile walk down a hill. People with limited mobility may drive or be driven to the beach. Contact park staff to make such transportation arrangements.

Address

11101 56th St. NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Directions

Located five miles west of Gig Harbor, Wash. in Pierce County.

Coming from either the east or the west, take the Wollochet Street exit off Highway 16. Look for the Kopachuck State Park sign. Take that exit, and follow signs five miles to the park.

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