In June 1956, a contest was held to name Rayonier’s new roadside park situated near Sappho. School children in Forks and Clallam Bay were invited to send in their suggestions. Three finally were selected by the judges; Tumbling Rapids, by Rochelle Mains (the late Rocky Hinkle), See-See-Chem by Robert Swanson and Muk-Kan-Kula by Nancy Whitney.
The judges felt both Tumbling Rapids and See-See-Chem deserved to win so both Rochelle and Robert won $50, but the judges finally settled on Tumbling Rapids.
On July 15, 1956, what was the largest crowd to ever attend anything in Clallam County, and it may still be a record, an estimated 8,500 people attended the grand opening. Dignitaries gave speeches, people ate chicken and Darigold ice cream, and checked out Rayonier’s gift to the area to be used to showcase the company’s dedication to not only harvesting and reforesting but to maximize the recreational value of the forestlands.
The park was used by many over the years and maintained by Rayonier but several years ago Rayonier put the property up for sale.
Fast forward to today, Tumbling Rapids was looked at by several potential buyers and eventually was purchased by West End resident Darrel Gaydeski.
If you have driven by, you will see it has been logged now.
Gaydeski said yes he has logged it and that he is sure that is what all of the potential buyers were going to do. As far as future plans, the new owner of the property says that things are still up in the air, but he is entertaining thoughts to again make it a campground, saying, “the cooking area was dark and really needed some light let in.”
His thoughts are of a possible private campground where all campsite owners would have access to the 4,000 feet over river front. Gaydeski said in doing the logging they were very careful to preserve the nature trail which is called the “Ron Smith Memorial Trail” and was recognized with a very large sign. Unfortunately someone has come in and cut the limb holding the sign and made off with limb, sign and all.
If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the sign, Gaydeski would like it back so it can be placed back on the trail.