Historic camp goes green

Kiwanis Camp Wa-Ri-Ki replaces fluorescent bulbs with efficient LEDs

With its former coat of pine needle-colored paint, Kiwanis Camp Wa-Ri-Ki used to be green on the outside. Now, a new energy efficiency program is helping the historic camp “go green” on the inside.

Camp personnel and volunteers recently replaced 250 traditional fluorescent bulbs with more efficient and earth-friendly light-emitting diode (LED) tubes, 50 LED light bulbs and 15 outdoor yard lights.

Camp Caretaker and Host Mike Richards said camp leaders installed more than 100 incandescent light bulbs during Wa-Ri-Ki’s 1958 construction and added fluorescent lights in the 1970s.

The latest lighting replacement project — funded by Skamania County Public Utility District rebates and a Kiwanis Foundation grant — adapted fluorescent fixtures to allow the new LED tubes.

The switch will reduce maintenance and replacement costs, since the LED bulbs last longer than fluorescent bulbs, and Richards said the program will cut the amount of electricity used for lighting the camp by 30 to 50 percent.

He estimates the savings will be $200 to $300 per month during the summer months.

“The savings are used to offset costs and keep rental costs down, so that more children can enjoy a camp experience,” Richards said.

Kiwanis Camp Wa-Ri-Ki is a nonprofit residential outdoor camp facility, located along the Washougal River by Dougan Falls. The camp, operated by a Kiwanis board of directors, is available for rent and is used for youth camps, retreats, family reunions and other large group events.

Built 60 years ago as a place where prisoners trained to fight wildfires, the camp didn’t take on its modern-day shape until the 1970s, when Kiwanis members modified the buildings to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

The camp has seven buildings, including dormitories, a gymnasium, kitchen, dining hall, shop and residence. Camp Wa-Ri-Ki is located on more than 20 acres at 17051 Washougal River Road. For more information visit campwariki.com or email info@campwariki.com.