Kopachuck State Park

Kopachuck State Park, situated on Henderson Bay in Puget Sound, is a 109-acre (0.44 km2) marine and day use park with over a mile of saltwater shoreline. The park also includes Cutts Island known locally as "Deadman's Island". The island is about half mile from shore and reachable only by boat. The park provides sweeping views of sunsets, the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.[1]

The park has four kitchen shelters (available on a first-come, first-served basis) complete with electricity in addition to 16 sheltered and 76 unsheltered picnic tables. Other common recreation activities include swimming and kayaking. The normally steep rocky beach becomes a level sandbar at low tide and is a popular place for kids to play in the sand.


Kopachuck State Park bears a name whose origin derives from the language of the Chinook Tribe, a band of Pacific Coastal Indians. Kopachuck is a blend of two words: “kopa,” meaning “at,” and “chuck” meaning “water.” The Puyallup and Nisqually Indian Tribes used the area around the park for seasonal fishing and clam gatherings.

Cutts Island has had many different names throughout the years. One of the names for the island: "Deadman's Island" alludes to the belief that the island was used by saltwater tribes who buried their dead in canoes placed in the forks of trees. It is unknown how the island acquired the name "Cutts Island". Prior to its current popular names, the place was called "Crow Island," for the large quantity of crows explorer Peter Puget discovered there in 1792, and later "Scotts Island," in honor of Thomas Scott, quartermaster of the 1841 Wilkes expedition.

Diseased Trees

In 2011, it was found that many Douglas Firs in Kopachuck State Park were diseased with laminated tree rot, one of the deadliest diseases a fir tree can contract. The campground was closed by park rangers soon after.[2] In September of the same year, many of the diseased trees were cut down due to increasingly urgent safety issues. This started controversy in nearby cities, and several local artists created “Intertwined — Requiem for the Trees," which the artists said was to record the trees before their death. The piece was displayed in the Gig Harbor History Museum for a short time that fall.[3]

Recent Proposed Closure

Kopachuck has been tagged for closure by Washington Governor Chris Gregoire as part of budget cutbacks in the wake of hard economic times.

A recent rally of neighbors [4] has brought attention to an effort to save the park, doomed for closure. The neighbors formed a group called Preserve Our Park.

The group already has the support of at least one Washington state legislator. State Senator Derek Kilmer said he and others live in the Gig Harbor area because of the park. “This park and other parks (the governor has listed 12 others for possible closure) are a big park of our quality of life.” He said the challenge is great, given an $8.5 billion budget deficit, but he maintained something must be done to save parks for citizens to enjoy.

360° Panorama of Kopachuck State Park in late July on a sunny afternoon. Beachgoers play in the tide and on the beach while off in the distance are sights of the Olympic Mountains and Cutts Island.


Coordinates: 47°18′59″N 122°40′42″W / 47.31639°N 122.67833°W / 47.31639; -122.67833

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.