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Lake Walcott State Park

Located near its namesake, Lake Walcott, the Lake Walcott State Park is a campground with multiple unit types in the city limits of Rupert, Idaho. The property spans a total of 140 acres, 60 of which comprise the area where guests can stay. Some of the features on the premises include seven bathroom stations, a basketball court, a playground, and a 21-hole disc golf course. The disc golf course is one of the park's most distinctive features, and it draws in players each year that participate in an annual tournament. Events such as weddings and family reunions can be held at Lake Walcott State Park due to a 60-person group reservation area along with three day-use pavilions. The campground is open throughout the year and offers RV sites, dry camping, and two camper cabins. 

About

The Lake Walcott State Park is a camping establishment located in the city limits of Rupert, Idaho, though the property is somewhat removed from the main body of the city. The park is both an organization responsible for maintaining roughly 140 acres of land, as well as a business that allows for reservations at their camping sites, RV sites, or camper cabins, which are located on 60 acres of the total acreage. Both the business and the organization are named after Lake Walcott, which is a reservoir that the property has direct access to by means of several boat docks. The reservoir allows for activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating, the latter of which is possible either with motorboats or kayaks. Both types of craft have designated docks at the property. 

As previously mentioned, the establishment is equipped with a few different types of units. There are a total of 38 campsites on the property; 22 of these are pull-in RV sites with water and electrical hookups. The water hookups are not available at all times of the year due to the frost that is common in Idaho during the winters. However, frost-free hydrants are located throughout the property and are available for more "communal" use during colder months. The electrical hookups at the RV sites are currently a mix of 30 and 50 amp, with plans set in place to convert all of them to 50 amp sometime in the future. Also included at each RV site are a picnic table and a fire pit, features which are also present in the dry camping sites located around the premises. It should be noted that the dry camping sites are on a "first-come, first-serve" basis in the property's off-season, which is from the middle of September to the middle of May. From May to September, these camping spots can be reserved ahead of time. 

The last unit type at Lake Walcott State Park is camper cabins, of which there are two. These cabins come with basic features that work to fight against the elements, such as heating, air conditioning, and electrical power. Ryan, who is the manager of the park, states that the camper cabins can accommodate "up to four or five people each." He also notes that the cabins can be booked a few weeks out through the visitor center, which is recommended. 

In addition to the units themselves, the park offers a variety of different features and activities that its guests are able to use. For example, there are seven different bathroom stations spread across the property. There is one in the RV loop that contains four showers that are free to use. The RV loop also has a dump station and a "day-use pavilion shelter." Other such pavilions can be found in other areas of the campground. For recreation, visitors are able to utilize the boat docks, a basketball court, a playground, and a 21-hole disc golf course. 

Culture

As a governmental unit, the Lake Walcott State Park is able to accommodate relatively large groups and activities. One feature that allows for this is a 60-person "group reservation area" with multiple fire pits and picnic tables. This area is occasionally rented out for family reunions or company retreats, though such events can take place in other areas of the park as well. A few weddings have also taken place at the state park over the years. 

Some of the more unique events that take place in the area include larping (live-action roleplaying) and disc golf tournaments. The former usually takes place in the form of a festival where hundreds of people participate in larping. The latter is possible because of the 21-hole disc golf course on the premises. Such tournaments take place each year, and during that time, the entire park is reserved for the individuals involved. Other smaller tournaments have taken place on the reservoir, specifically for fishing, but such activities are not managed directly by Lake Walcott State Park. 

Ryan, who is one of the property's managers, explains that the overall goal for the business is to help guests feel "happy" during their stay. He explains that the park is "pretty developed" compared to others like it, giving it an atmosphere of a "big city park." Though the park is located on the outskirts of Rupert, Idaho, the amount of people staying on the property is typically enough that the environment could be consider busy. That being said, it is possible to find quieter sections of the campground. Additionally, the park has a quiet time that is instituted between 10 PM and 7 AM each day, with slight fluctuations on those times depending on how much daylight is present in a given season. The state park is open during all times of the year, and pets are allowed as long as they are "under control," such as being on a leash.

There are many staff members at Lake Walcott State Park, with assignments that range from managing the visitor center (which acts as the establishment's main office), doing park maintenance, operating the entry kiosk, and interacting with patrons. One guest who stayed at the park said the following of their experience: "My family and I stayed Friday-Sunday in the tent camping area. Lots of shade on space 30 and camping spots surrounding it. Other friends stayed in the RV area. The staff was friendly and helpful. The area and bathrooms were clean."

History

Lake Walcott itself and much of the land directly surrounding it are owned by three separate organizations. The Bureau of Reclamation built the dam responsible for the reservoir, and it continues to own both to this day. The Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge manages the shoreline of the lake and the wildlife of the area. Only the areas that have frequent visitors or activities are handled by the Lake Walcott State Park, though that includes the only boat launch for the reservoir. 

The area as a whole was initially developed by the Bureau of Reclamation, which first took preservation measures in 1904. As the years went by, further settlement and development were conducted by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), such as the construction of walls and helping the area to be more traversable. 

The Lake Walcott State Park, as it is currently known, came into existence in 1996 when the Bureau of Reclamation gave control of portions of the land to the parks and recreation departments of the state. Since that time, some operational changes have come into effect, such as cleaning projects, increased reservoir access, and other minor renovations. The current manager of the Lake Walcott State Park is Ryan, who first got into the industry due to his love for the outdoors and the ability that it gives him to "live outside of town." Though the job involves a lot of public interfacing, in Ryan's opinion it is a positive experience. "It's not like working at the DMV. People are generally happy to be here." 

Some of the future projects that are planned for the campground consist of a complete conversion to 50 amp electrical hookups for the RV sites, increased dock and water access, and forming partnerships with kayak and other rental businesses to provide more options for visitors. 

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Established
1904
Location

959 Minidoka Dam Rd
Rupert, Idaho 83350
United States

Type

Campground

Owners

Lake Walcott State Park

Owned Since
1996
Previous Owners

Bureau of Reclamation

Phone
208-436-1258
Reviews
4.5 (284 Reviews)
4.5/5 284 Reviews
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