Ashford County Park dedication June 5

The public is invited Sat., June 5, as Pierce County dedicates its newest park, a 36-acre recreation area in Ashford. The dedication of Ashford County Park begins at 11 a.m., followed by the grand opening at noon. The park is located at 29700 State Route 706 East, Ashford.

Participants are scheduled to include Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, County Council Chairman Roger Bush (District 3), county parks Director Kathy Kravit-Smith, Rick Adams of Friends of the Upper Nisqually, state Rep. Tom Campbell, state Sen. Randi Becker and Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga.

Grand opening festivities are scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Activities include music, hamburgers and hot dogs, park tours, information booths and more.

The site dates back to the Auburn Coal and Coke Company in the early 1900s when coal was mined in the area and shipped by rail to the coking plant in Auburn. Some 20 years ago, local activists persuaded the Champion International Paper Company to donate 29 acres to Pierce County for park purposes. Since then, additional land has been acquired and the first phase of improvements have been constructed, including a playground, trails, restrooms, parking and more.

The first phase cost about $3.4 million, most of which is funded by a real estate excise tax dedicated to parks. Future phases include an amphitheater, cultural center and mountaineering museum.