Horse Heaven Cemetery
Added to the parks portfolio in 2012, Horse Heaven Cemetery is a two-acre decommissioned pioneer cemetery located about seven miles south of Benton City. Established in 1893 by the Dennis family, the cemetery has not had a burial since the 1940s. It has been challenged by the harsh conditions and the passage of time, but the County has been undertaking some modest restoration and beautification efforts in recent years to provide some dignity to the grounds and make it more of a point of interest.
Hover Park lies about six miles downstream of Two Rivers Park on the Columbia River, and is a Corps of Engineers property operated by Benton County under the same lease as Two Rivers. Hover consists of about 200 acres of undeveloped open space, and is near the site of the old town of Hover, remnants of which can be identified in the area. The Park Board is currently evaluating future options for Hover Park.
Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Facility
The Shooting Facility is operated for Benton County by the Tri-City Shooting Association, and the County leases the property jointly from Washington State and the US Bureau of Land Management. Multiple ranges have been constructed on the property to accommodate varied shooting disciplines. The Shooting Association reports enrollment of nearly 2,000 members.
Two Rivers Park
Contact Richard Hillmer, Park Ranger, at 509-531-7106
Two Rivers is the County’s most developed and most visited park, easily packing-in over 1,000 patrons per day in the summer. It is a bridge linking urban park amenities such as a playground, picnic sites, and 19 acres of lawn to rural open space qualities such as nature trails, native habitat, and open space. The park has three sheltered lagoons, fed from over two miles of Columbia River shoreline, and the last downstream developed boat launch in the Tri-Cities. Benton County leases Two Rivers Park from the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Originally developed by the Vista Junior Women’s Club in 1970, Vista is the County’s smallest park, located in the Tri-Cities Heights neighborhood of Kennewick. It was completely remodeled in 2015/16, with a new playground, refurbished lawn, donated tree, repainted wall, and other updates. It is a popular tot-lot/picnic spot for the neighborhood.
Wallula Gap Preserve
Wallula consists of three discontinuous parcels, ownership of which was transferred from the National Park Service to the County in the early 1990s. The parcels are remote and generally inaccessible, one of which being little more than the sheer basalt cliffs of Wallula Gap itself. These parcels, along with their sister parcels in the Two Sisters area of Walla Walla County, have “National Natural Landmark” status, and as such the County must file status reports with the Park Service every five years. Wallula is potentially a prime location for land trusts to buy land for perpetual public use, connecting these parcels and facilitating opportunities for unique outdoor experiences in our area.