PUD upgrades a welcome start to boating season
VANTAGE — Just in time for Memorial Day, the Columbia River shoreline between Wanapum and Rock Island dams is back open with more than just a stronger Wanapum Dam to show for it.
The Grant County PUD has spent about $6 million on spiffy new upgrades to boat launches, picnic areas, trails, and campgrounds all around the Wanapum Reservoir, from Crescent Bar to below Vantage.
That’s excellent news for riverside vacation communities such as Crescent Bar, which saw its normally red-hot summer season fizzle last year when the shoreline around its stretch of the Columbia River was closed for work for nearly a year to repair the cracked spillway at Wanapum Dam.
Here’s a look at the improvements:
wApricot Orchard Boat Launch, about 20 miles south of Wenatchee off Highway 28. Better boat launch; disabled access to boating, trails; vault toilet, info kiosk.
wCrescent Bar, about 7 miles west of Quincy off Highway 28 at Trinidad. Boating channel has been dredged, boat launch extended.
wRattlesnake Cove Day Use Area, just south of Sunland Estates, off Interstate 90. Picnic tables, swim beach, kiosk, vault toilet.
wFrenchman Coulee Recreation Area, 22 miles southwest of Quincy off I-90. Sandy beaches, new boat launch ramp, disabled boarding float, picnic tables, kiosk, 1-mile trail, vault toilet.
wRocky Coulee Recreation Area, 1.5 miles north of Vantage off of Lakeview Avenue. Picnic area, walk-in tent camping, vault toilets, hand boat launch, trails, kiosk, disabled access.
wVantage Boat Launch, at Vantage. Dredged, upgraded and extended boat launch; disabled boarding float; picnic area; restroom, walking trail.
wSand Hollow Recreation Area, just south of the I-90 bridge off Highway 243. By June: day-use picnic area, 10 primitive walk-in campsites, 30 semi-private vehicle-access camp sites, vault toilets, swimming beach.
wHuntzinger Road Fishing Access, about 6 miles south of Vantage at Wanapum Dam. Fishing pier with disabled access, vault toilet.
wWanapum Upper Boat Launch, just above Wanapum Dam off Highway 243. Single-lane launch large enough for recreational boats.
In more good news for locals and visitors, Grant PUD will open its new Wanapum Heritage Center later this summer. The new heritage center at Priest Rapids Dam will include an interpretive center with permanent and temporary exhibits, a repository and collection facility, archives and a research library.
Visit grantpud.org/community/rec-area-maps# for driving directions to these sites and more on the Wanapum and Priest Rapids stretches of the Columbia River.
— By Christine Pratt, Wenatchee World