Protecting and preserving an open space jewel

Camas is home to some of the most beautiful parks and trails in Clark County.

A jewel among them is Lacamas Lake Regional Park, owned and operated by Clark County. Today, the 312-acre natural area is home to six miles of trails, which connect up with the Heritage Trail along the south shore of Lacamas Lake. The park’s highlights include the Camas lily fields, rock formations, waterfalls and Round Lake.

The area’s history is dynamic for several reasons.

According to an article published by the Center for Columbia River History, the park came to be thanks to a land donation by the owners of the Camas paper mill.

“The LaCamas Colony Corporation, which developed the town mill, bought the land around Lacamas Lake in 1883. Chinese laborers channeled the lake’s water into an aqueduct, providing the mill with electricity. In addition, workers dammed LaCamas Creek at the lower end of Round Lake, the resulting backwaters that caused the two lakes to merge. Mill owners eventually donated 312 acres of their property for Lacamas Park.”

According to a 2006 article in The Seattle Times, the park’s natural history is unique as well.

“At the end of the last Ice Age, failing ice dams near the front of receding glaciers unleashed catastrophic floods, carrying walls of water more than 500 feet high down the Columbia Gorge,” the article states. “The water scoured out depressions high on the hills that later became lakes, including Lacamas Lake and Round Lake.”

Today, Lacamas Park is visited by thousands of walkers, runners and bicyclists every year.

This jewel has only remained so thanks to the dedication of local government leaders, as well as active and passionate citizens who use their time and talents maintaining and preserving it.

An article inside today’s Post-Record details the efforts of the Lacamas Trails Advocacy Group, whose members are on a mission to maintain the trails out of “concern for the safety of other users, the health of the forests, and a love of nature.”

As Camas continues to grow in population and development, it will be up to all of us to protect these kinds of areas that have become such key factors in the quality of life that the city has to offer.