Saving Camp Melacoma

By Heather Acheson, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

More than 100 acres of open space, plenty of fresh air, lots of room to roam, completely natural surroundings.

For many city dwellers, even small cities like Camas and Washougal, these aren’t things they get to experience on a day-to-day basis. But fortunately, it’s not necessary to travel too far find to find them. And thanks to the efforts of one local couple, a popular youth summer residence camp will be preserved for current and future generations to have this kind of special outdoor experience for many years to come.

Through the formation of the Camp Melacoma Association, in July longtime Washougal area residents Dodi and Andy Jensen purchased Camp Melacoma from Camp Fire Columbia.

As the on-site caretaker of the property for the past five years, Dodi Jensen developed a passion for that land, the creatures that call it home, and the opportunities it has the potential to provide to local youth.

The property had been in jeopardy of someday being purchased by private parties, which could have resulted in use of the 142-acre site changing drastically from the traditional youth camp that many people had come to know and love.

Dodi and Andy said they just couldn’t let that happen. After negotiations, their non-profit was finally able to buy the camp at a greatly reduced price.

There will still be hurdles to overcome, namely the purchase and installation of a water treatment system that will need state approval before the camp can open to the public.

But given Dodi Jensen’s determination, heart and passion, there is little doubt that this will happen, and Camp Melacoma will once again become a place where memories of open space, fresh air, room to roam, and interacting with nature will be made.