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 of explosive concern left over from decades of military training.
Project update - September 2015
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently agreed to provide $4.8 million for the second of four phases for Camp Bonneville's cleanup.
The money will be used to search for and clear munitions of explosive concern on an additional 124 acres of the property. The additional cleanup encompasses former demolition areas, grenade and rocket ranges, and firing positions for artillery and mortars.
Some areas will surface cleared to a depth of 3 inches while others will be subsurface cleared to a depth of 14 inches.
Weston Solutions Inc., the county's contractor for Camp Bonneville's cleanup, initially expected to complete the cleanup's first phase, subsurface clearing of the site's central valley floor, by the end of June 2014.
However, the work has been more extensive than initially estimated and will now continue through April 2017. Weston has cited difficult conditions with a large amount of metallic debris requiring a labor-intensive process to locate potential munitions underground.
In April 2014, the federal government agreed to provide another $7.1 million for this portion of Camp Bonneville's cleanup.
Read a monthly report prepared by Clark County Public Works summarizing progress on Camp Bonneville's cleanup, available below.
A map on the report's final page indicates the current level of cleanup on Camp Bonneville's central valley floor and associated wetlands.
Areas marked in dark gray are 100 feet by 100 feet subgrids that has been cleared for munitions of explosive concern to a depth of 14 inches below ground.
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.
- 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.