The Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center

The Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center (the Center) is a project of the Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN). The Center is planned for the mouth of the Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway at Helen McCabe State Park and anticipates 100,000 visitors annually. Visibility along the Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway, with 1,500,000 travelers annually, ensures our audience and we will stock gift shop items with travelers in mind. This will allow the Center to thrive and expand.

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The Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center (the Center) is a project of the Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN). The Center is planned for the mouth of the Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway at Helen McCabe State Park and anticipates 100,000 visitors annually. Visibility along the Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway, with 1,500,000 travelers annually, ensures our audience and we will stock gift shop items with travelers in mind. This will allow the Center to thrive and expand.

KEEN has been stewarding Helen McCabe State Park for 17-years and holds a long-term lease on the park to construct the Center. As the gateway to the first designated Scenic Byway in Washington State, the Center will welcome travelers from I-90 and I-82 who come to experience world-class fly-fishing, wildlife viewing, and Central Washington wines and cider.

KEEN is working with Marc Brown Design, Barker Landscape Architects, and Krekow-Jennings to design and construct the Center. Together we envision a 4,000sq.ft. structure built in harmony with the park and with the scenic byway. Integrated into the surrounding habitat with ample room for rentable meeting spaces, event spaces, and wine/gift concessionaires, the Center will be a tourist destination and a local treasure.

KEEN’s financial plan shows a positive revenue stream in the first 6 years with Revenue/Expenses showing $50,000, $30,000, $72,000, $190,000, $288,000, and $341,000 supported by gift-shop sales and other innovative revenue streams. Opportunities to name the facility and supporting structures are built into the fundraising plan.

Continued collaboration with Central Washington University and non-profit groups will allow KEEN to expand our program offerings and provide a sustainable revenue stream in support of operations. Marketing and promotions will occur statewide and ensure a steady income from meeting and event rentals.

Landscape improvements to the park, which have been implemented by KEEN over the last 14-years, will attract people to the Center to stretch their legs on the trails, fish for the afternoon at the pond, and explore available educational programs. KEEN will expand on our current educational programming and collaborations with area schools to offer one-time and re-occurring learning opportunities to K-12 and beyond. Citizen science programs will be expanded with highlights for birding and wildlife observations.

This project represents an unparalleled opportunity to engage visitors and community members of all ages in outdoor education, draw tourists to Central Washington, undertake environmental stewardship and habitat restoration, and accomplish protection of the endangered shrub-steppe biome.

Mailing Address

414 South Willow Street

Ellensburg, WA 98926

kittitasee@ycic.org 

509-551-8807

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Our mission is to cultivate an active awareness and understanding of the endangered shrub-steppe, provide

nature-based education for all ages, and strengthen commitment to environmental stewardship.

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