Holiday kicks off busy season at Deception Park

"The park was alive with the sound of recreation vehicles, children at play, shouting and boat motors.About 59,000 people from all over the state, and some from other states and countries, visited Deception Pass State Park over the Memorial Day weekend, according to Park Manager Bill Overby.Sandy Lyon spent a sunny Monday afternoon barbecuing hot dogs and digging her toes into the sand at the crowded shores of North Beach. She said she decided to bring her two children from their Central Oregon home to camp at the park after reading about it in a tourism brochure.Overby said the park attendance was typical for the three-day holiday weekend, which park staff consider the opening day crowd for the busy summer season. Deception Pass is historically the most popular park in Washington park system, with an estimated 5.8 million annual visitors.The biggest day was Monday, he said, because of the nice weather. About 22,000 people, which is larger than the population of Oak Harbor, showed up that day.Not surprisingly, all of the camp sites were filled. Overby said the park system's new telephone reservation system has eased the camping process for both visitors and rangers.There isn't the clamour for camp sites anymore, he said. People are a lot more relaxed and more focused on having fun. But with all the people inevitably comes problems. Overby said a man was injured while climbing on rocks near North Beach Saturday. The man fell, breaking his ankle and hurting his back. He was transported to Whidbey General Hospital.Monday night, a family was stranded on Skagit Island and had to be rescued. Overby said the family's boat was left high and dry while they were hiking and not paying attention to the tides.There was also a 911 report Monday afternoon that a blue biplane flew underneath the Deception Pass bridge. Deputies, however, weren't able to confirm if it or find a suspect plane.Overby said he hadn't heard the report and also wasn't sure if it was true. He said he hear about a similar incident many years ago but thought people had learned enough not to do that sort of thing anymore. It's feasible, he said, but I sure wouldn't advise it."

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