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History

Archive photo of horse and wagon with family and herd of cattle at the rivers edge

Schafer State Park is a 119-acre camping park on the Satsop River, midway between Olympia and Ocean Park. A big attraction to park users is the abundant fishing for steelhead, cutthroat trout and salmon on the Satsop River. Wading and swimming in the shallow water make it an equally attractive site for family gatherings. Buildings are constructed from native stone. Rich in local history, the park is a state and national historic site as designated by the Washington Heritage Register and National Register of Historic Places.

Schafer State Park is a colorful haven created in memory of John and Anna Schafer, who had settled in the area in 1872. Their sons Peter, Hubert and Albert formed the Schafer Bros. Logging Company, which, at its height, was one of the largest lumber and logging companies in the Pacific Northwest. In 1924, Schafer Bros. Logging Company donated the park to the State of Washington. It was the first such donation by a company from the lumber industry. Prior to 1924 the site was the scene of many Schafer family picnics.

From the 1920s to the 1940s, Schafer Bros. Company employees held their annual picnic in the park, with as many as 6,000 people in attendance. Several other local associations also held annual events at the park, including the Farm Bureau, the Scandinavian Central Committee and Vasa Lodge.

The Satsop River, which runs through the park, has been a popular fishing site for Native Americans for centuries. The river continues to be a productive and popular site for fishing. Since 1909, salmon have been harvested from this location for nearby salmon hatcheries.

In 2010, the park was designated a state and national historic site of statewide significance by its addition to the Washington Heritage Register and National Register of Historic Places.

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