CAMP WOOTEN ELC AND RETREAT CENTER
A camp with a colorful past, Washington State Parks’ largest retreat center, Camp Wooten, sits in the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington along the threadlike Tucannon River.
Columbia County’s former sherriff, one of the first state game protectors, William T. Wooten, worked in law enforcement and wildlife protection for nearly 50 years. One of Wooten’s greatest legacies may be the preservation of Chinook salmon runs in the Tucannon River. The so-named W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area honors his efforts on behalf of local wildlife and habitat. The Wildlife Area, which encompasses Camp Wooten, was named for Wooten after his death in 1948.
In 1935, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp known as Camp Pomeroy, was established at the present-day site of Camp Wooten. After the CCC era and throughout World War II, the camp was a popular site for Methodist youth camps and local 4-H clubs. In 1950, the property was leased to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission by the Department of Game (now the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) for use as an environmental learning center.
Today’s Camp Wooten retains the feel of both a game range and a CCC-era camp; it offers a dining hall with large commercial kitchen, a recreation hall, sleeping cabins, restrooms with showers, a lake for canoeing, an archery range, a mixed-use sports court with loaner nets and an indoor swimming pool. There are sleeping accommodations for up to 200 people, and with park manager approval, tents and RVs may be allowed.