Clues After Closure

Rockport State Park Campground Eerily Returns To Nature

picnic table covered in debris with lush plants and moss growing all around it
One of three remaining picnic tables, its cedar planks tired and spongy, sits forlornly in a moldering campsite surrounded by a thriving floor of moss and happy weeds. In the background, the rest of the site has thoroughly vanished under lush vegetation.
Salmonberry bushes on both sides of an old trailer pull-in site
Closing in for good, salmonberry bushes eight feet high stretch across a former pull-thru trailer site with newfound freedom. Once tamed by the yearly whips of Park Service pruning, it's hard to imagine today that trucks towing long camp trailers once had ample space to maneuver. Scraping with a curious boot heel, one discovers that here, too, a perfect bed of asphalt lies below the moss. Its condition is so new that it looks like the spot was paved only a year ago. As change overlaps change, a medium-sized tree has since fallen across this spot, crushing the lush bushes.
A short gray-water disposal inlet and water spigot poke up through an ocean of forest floor like subterranean periscopes, frozen in their desperate search for their missing campsite. While the snubnosed, gray-water fixture beyond scans with hopeful eyes, the taller water spigot leans away in futility, downcast in its realization that the campground will never be found.
Even the unmistakable hatchet wounds from abusive campers left in the trunk of this tree live on as evidence of the campsite that once existed in the greenery just beyond. No longer a defenseless target in a game with humans, I can only imagine the relief this tree must now feel. I said hello, gave it an empathetic pat, and moved on.
Cinderblock, gabled campground restroom with a forest behind and tree-needle covered pavement in the foreground
Once a necessary campground centerpiece, the old restroom building sits in an intoxicating stillness. Outside, a rock-work water fountain, its spring-loaded dribble long-silenced, wears a coat and top hat of moss as it stands guard. I wonder how many more decades the restroom will stand before it becomes a baseball mitt for a falling, 500-year-old conifer.
On a second visit a few months later, I struck gold again. Behind the Park Service Discovery Center, near a trail in the old campground, I was happy to discover this routered campsite number post relaxing among many numbered posts now used as dunnage. According to Don, it was once indeed posted at Rockport's campsite #33.



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David Scott Spangler

History can be connective. Since I am moved by what remains, I am documenting and sharing remnants of Pacific Northwest history before they vanish forever.