The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) warns Memorial Day
weekend campers in southeast Washington that there are fewer campsites this year at
the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area on the Tucannon River in Columbia County.
Memorial Day weekend is the busiest time of the year for camping at the wildlife
area. Wooten is one of the most popular wildlife areas in the state because of its
camping facilities and easy access to fishing in eight hatchery-trout-stocked, man-made
lakes on the Tucannon River. The site now has 10 campgrounds accommodating about
100 people, instead of the 17 campgrounds of the past.
Flooding during the past two years re-arranged the river's path and naturally
reduced the available camping area. WDFW's long-range plan for Wooten has been to
reduce campgrounds, or move them away from the river shoreline, to protect
streamside habitat for fish and wildlife.
Camping at Wooten is on a first-come, first-served basis, with overnight camping
only in designated areas; campfires only in designated campsites; pit toilets, and a
pack-it-in/pack-it-out trash policy.
Alternatives to camping at Wooten include at least a half-dozen U.S. Forest
Service campgrounds further south on the Tucannon and up Panjab and Sheep creeks
in the Umatilla Forest, as well as a private resort just north of the wildlife area.
Day-use-only areas with parking space and toilets also are available to fishers at
all eight Tucannon lakes.