News Release 11-061
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road S.W., P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650, (360) 902-8500
Don Hoch, Director
Sandy Mealing, (360) 902-8559
Steve Wood, (360) 642-3029
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service:
Cape Disappointment State Park celebrates “Graveyard of the Pacific” event
Oct. 13, 2011 –
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission invites the public to attend the Graveyard of the Pacific celebration Oct. 22 and 23 at Cape Disappointment State Park in Ilwaco. The Columbia River bar area earned the name “Graveyard of the Pacific” after more than 2,000 vessels met their end where the river meets the Pacific Ocean.
The two-day event at Cape Disappointment State Park, 244 Robert Gray Drive, Ilwaco, highlights shipwrecks of the Northwest coast and the lighthouses built to prevent them. The event includes a variety of activities for visitors. The Discover Pass is required to attend this event.
Tours of the Cape Disappointment and North Head lighthouses are offered to the public during the event. Tours of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 22 and 23. North Head Lighthouse tours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 20 through 23. The Cape Disappointment lighthouse is typically closed to public access, with rare tours offered during Graveyard of the Pacific in celebration of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse 155th anniversary. Admission: Cape Disappointment tours are free; North Head Lighthouse tours are free for ages 7 to 17 and $2.50 for adults over 18. Be advised, the hike to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is difficult and entering
the lantern room requires climbing multiple ladders and fitting through small passages. Children must be 7 years and older to climb the tower at the North Head Lighthouse. Appropriate footwear is required; no flip flops or shoes without heel straps.
Lighthouse historian, author and former president of the Washington Lightkeepers Association, Elinor DeWire, presents “Lighthouses of Oregon and Washington” at 10 a.m. Oct. 22 at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. A book signing and complimentary refreshments will follow the presentation in the interpretive center conference room. DeWire is the author of multiple books on lighthouses worldwide.
A new temporary exhibit will be unveiled during the event. “The Shipwrecks of Washington’s Coast” features 36 drawings of Washington shipwrecks by artist Richard E. Wells. After publishing “A Guide to Shipwreck Sites Along the Washington Coast” in 1989, Wells donated his illustrations to Washington State Parks. The exhibit is the first unveiling of the drawings outside his book, which is no longer published.
Park rangers at Fort Stevens State Park of Oregon play host to an interpretive program from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Oct. 22, on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. The program is held on the beach of the park and describes the history of the shipwreck Peter Iredale. The Peter Iredale was a four-masted sailing ship, a barque, which ran aground at Fort Stevens on Oct. 25, 1906. The program will highlight the story of the Peter Iredale and other wrecks at the mouth of the Columbia River, known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. For more information about Fort Stevens State Park, please call (503) 861-3170 ext. 41 or visit http://oregonstateparks.org/park_179.php.
Graveyard of the Pacific is presented in cooperation by the U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team at Tongue Point, Fort Stevens State Park, the Friends of the Columbia River Gateway, the Keepers of the North Head Lighthouse and Cape Disappointment State Park.
Cape Disappointment State Park is a 1,882-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted
by the Pacific Ocean and along the Columbia River. The park offers two miles of ocean beach, two lighthouses, an interpretive center and hiking trails. The Confluence Project amphitheater was designed by world-renowned architect and artist, Maya Lin, as part of a larger art installation at the park.
The Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. The 98-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.
Washington State Parks is now on Twitter at WaStatePks_NEWS and YouTube at WashingtonStateParks.