Camp Bonneville barracks.
Clark County Public Works has received many questions from neighbors regarding efforts to reduce the risk of wildfires at Camp Bonneville. The county has worked in coordination with the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to mitigate these risks. Some of this work includes establishing perimeter roads and fire breaks, having an agreement for Helitak resources to be onsite five months out of the year, paying the fire protection assessment, and important forest management work like thinning, pruning and fuel-reduction burning. For more details on the county’s work to reduce the risk of wildfires at Camp Bonneville, please reference this Memo to County Manager. Learn more about our efforts at Camp Bonneville by reading our FAQs.
Camp Bonneville is located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains about seven miles north of the Columbia River. It was established in 1909 as a drill field and rifle range for Vancouver Barracks and was used primarily as a training camp for various branches of the military for 85 years. The property is largely undeveloped; more than half of its six square miles is forested.
Clark County is working with the U.S. Army and the Washington State Department of Ecology to clean up the site so a portion of it ultimately can be used by the public. The work includes searching for and removing munitions or explosives of concern left over from decades of military training.
Weston Solutions Inc., the county's contractor for Camp Bonneville's cleanup, has completed clearing Camp Bonneville's central valley floor.
Cleanup update – Dec. 18, 2018
The Washington State Department of Ecology is seeking public comments on a proposed change to the cleanup action plan for Camp Bonneville.
The proposed change is for the Western Slopes, the area generally west of Lacamas Creek on the 3,840-acre property. (See map at the bottom of this page.) The area slated for clearance would be reduced from 425 acres to 194 acres.
Munitions generally were fired from the Western Slopes toward the east, which is supported by the location and minimal amount of munitions or explosives of concern previously found. The revised surface clearance area would focus on the Western Slopes’ eastern portion, where munitions or explosives of concern are more likely to be found.
More information, including how to submit comments, can be found in the state's four-page handout (PDF).
Financial update - September 2017
The U.S. Army has agreed to provide an additional $7.18 million to clean up 100 acres surrounding former hard targets in the Central Impact Target Area. The target area will be expanded by about 100 acres, and a new access road constructed.
This is the latest in a series of amendments to the project's Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement to allow additional funds for Camp Bonneville's cleanup. Below are some staff reports from previous amendments.
Searching for munitions at Camp Bonneville.
Camp Bonneville's central valley floor.
Read a monthly report prepared by Clark County Public Works summarizing progress on Camp Bonneville's cleanup, available below.
In June 2012, Weston Solutions resumed the cleanup at Camp Bonneville. One month earlier, Board of County Commissioners approved a $7.6 million agreement with the international company that operates from 60 locations, including Seattle and its headquarters in Pennsylvania.
Clark County sought a new contractor and accepted ownership of the 3,840-acre former military post in 2011 after the U.S. Army agreed to provide the funding for the next phase of the cleanup, with the understanding that additional funding will be needed to complete all work at the site.
The ongoing work involves removing munitions of explosive concern and other hazardous materials left over from 85 years of military training. Weston will clear Camp Bonneville’s central valley floor. The Washington State Department of Ecology continues to regulate site cleanup.
Federal funding agreements shield the county from financial responsibility for the cleanup. The county will need additional funding from the Army to complete all work at Camp Bonneville.
- Department of Ecology's fact sheet on changes to the cleanup plan - August 2017 (PDF)
- Clark County newsletter - March 2016 (PDF)
Clark County newsletter - October 2012 (PDF)
- EPA fact sheet on groundwater contamination - October 2012 (PDF)
- Department of Ecology newsletter - April 2009 (PDF)
- Camp Bonneville reuse plan, September 1998 (revised February 2003 and November 2005) (PDF)
Please – no trespassing
For more than a decade, Clark County consistently has said Camp Bonneville will not open for public use until the property has been cleaned up.
For this reason, Camp Bonneville remains closed. A perimeter fence surrounds the site because of the danger posed by unexploded ordnance after decades of military training. Hundreds of munitions of explosive concern have been located and, in some cases, detonated, but an unknown number remain.
Warning signs have been placed at gates, along the perimeter fence and at various spots inside the site. These signs mean precisely what they say. For your own safety, please do not trespass on this property.
Background on Camp Bonneville
Since the U.S. Army closed Camp Bonneville in 1995, the 3,840-acre property has captured the imagination of hikers, equestrians, parks planners, wildlife enthusiasts, campers, Native American groups and many others.
After the Army closed the facility along with several others nationwide, the property was selected for transfer and reuse by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
On October 3, 2006, after 10 years of dialog and negotiation with the Army and the state Department of Ecology, the Board of Clark County Commissioners accepted transfer of property ownership from the Army to the county.
The county then transferred ownership to the Bonneville Conservation Restoration & Renewal Team LLC, an organization that for several years managed a team of contractors with expertise in removing hazardous waste and unexploded ordnance.
In 2011, the county accepted ownership of the property after the Army agreed to provide additional funding for the cleanup that is far more extensive and expensive than preliminary estimates.