Camping is Part of the State Park’s History
Youth Scout troops were early users of the park for overnight ant day camps. Boy Scout Troop 426 camped out the weekend just prior to the park’s opening in 1952. Beginning in 1954, Campfire Girls had several 2 to 3 week-long sessions every year. By 1956, more than 200 girls attended day camp for a two-week session that cost $1 per girl to cover the price of bus transportation from town. Once the Hans Jensen farm became a part of the park dedicated to youth group camping, youth groups had a designated place for summer campers.
In 1962, the Seattle’s World Fair brought millions of visitors to the state, many of whom needed a place to camp. For that summer only, State Parks allowed the general public to camp at Lake Sammamish, using a vacant field which was later developed into a parking lot and kitchen shelter. The 150 sites were full almost every night but when the fair ended, so did the park’s experience at providing camping. However, an RV dump station and nearby restroom were built nearby to serve the campers and remain in use today.
The only camping in the park outside of Hans Jensen Youth Camp allowed now is for Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park’s one-night Camp S’more fundraiser, allowing families new to camping to give it a try. This year the 70 camp sites were sold out long before the Aug. 3 event. The state park’s current master plan, adopted in 2007, includes plans for a small RV park with tent sites and yurts. The master plan is currently being updated and it is unknown whether the future urban camp area will remain.
Source: The Issaquah Press, “Issaquah Living,” Winter 2005, Source: Richard Benson’s history of the park