Rules and Regulations

Prohibited acts for all County Parks: playing golf, smoking or vaping within 25 ft of playgrounds or structures,  posting signs, building unsanctioned structures, using weapons or explosives, fireworks, drones, model rockets, merchandise sales, feeding wildlife, dogs off leash, not picking up pet waste, driving vehicles on trails or lawns, camping outside of designated campsites, ATV and UTV at Riverside Park, using metal detectors at Riverside Park and Catlin Cemetery.  Please see Park Code 9.06  below

Riverside Park

Park Hours:    April-September  6 a.m. - 10 p.m.                          October-March   7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Does the park accept Reservations?

Pavilion and Picnic Sites can be reserved seasonally June 1-Sept 1. every year. You can make reservations now and up to 12 months in advance. Click on the Reservations tab for more information.

September  2- May 31 is first come first serve and you must be physically present to hold your spot. 

I made a reservation but want to know what's included.

Brightly colored signs will be stapled to 4 tables, Garbage will be emptied in the a.m.

For Picnic Site you will have a minimum of three 16 ft tables, and one 8 ft table. You are allowed to move them to fit your needs. 

For the Pavilion you will  have access to all the tables inside and around the building. People move the tables so configuration may change, Four 16ft tables, one 8ft table will be inside the Pavilion. Power and water will be on inside the Pavilion if you have a reservation. The sink only has cold water so make sure you are turning the faucet to cold. 

Does the Park allow Bounce Houses?
At this time Bounce Houses are not allowed on County property due to liability issues without written permission from the Director.

Can I have weddings at the Park?
Yes. We suggest reserving a site for your special occasion.

Can I have alcohol in the park?
Alcohol is not permitted on county property without written permission from the Director. 

I would like to host a promotional event at the park. Who do I contact?

I found somebody doing illegal activities at the park. Who do I contact?
If you see anybody doing something illegal that puts others at risk please call 911 right away.

I have a concern regarding the dike. Who do I contact?
The dike that surrounds Riverside Park is the property of the Cowlitz County Diking District. You can contact them with concerns.

Can I use metal detectors in the Park?
No. We do not allow metal detectors at Riverside Park or Catlin Cemetery. We have plastic sprinkler heads that can be easily damaged and digging up the grass creates tripping hazards for small children. 

Can I fly drones or model rockets?

Park Code 9.06 Prohibited acts : Operating any radio/remote controlled or self-propelled model airplane, glider, car, boat or any model rocket except in areas specifically designated by the county and posted for such use. All drones must be operated per FAA regulations. 

Open areas to fly: We currently do not have any designated flying areas. 

Are there fines for violating Park Code rules and regulations in the Park?
Yes. $75-$300

Harry Gardner Park

Park Hours:   Dawn- 10 p.m.

Does the Park accept reservations?
Yes. Click on the Reservations tab for more information. 

Does the Covered Pavilion in the Park accept reservations?

Starting June 1, 2023  the Pavilion can be reserved seasonally June 1-Sept 1. every year. You can make reservations now and up to 12 months in advance. Click on the Reservations tab for more information.

September  2- May 31 is first come first serve and you must be physically present to hold your spot. 

Can I have a campfire at the park during a state wide burn ban?
The county follows different burn ban regulations than the state. Please call 360-577-3030 for the latest update.

At the entrance of each park will be a rules and regulations sign that may contain additional rules. 

Cowlitz County Park Code 9.06

9.06.015 County parks – Designated.

The list of properties designated as county parks which are subject to the Cowlitz County Park Code shall be as follows:

A. Riverside Park;

B. LT-1 and public shooting range;

C. Woodbrook Park;

D. Finn Hall historic site;

E. Catlin Historical Cemetery;

F. Cook Ferry Trail and properties;

G. Coal Creek Boat Launch;

H. Cougar Wayside;

I. Coweeman River Park;

J. Harry Gardner Park. [Ord. 20-010 § 1, 3-3-20.]

9.06.020 Definitions – Grammatical construction.

A. The terms used herein, unless clearly contrary to or inconsistent with the context in which used, shall be construed as follows:

“Director” means the Director of the Cowlitz County Department of Public Works or their designee.

“Park” means each county park so designated in the Park Code. Each county park consists of the property on which the park is established, all contiguous property and ingress and egress thereto which is owned by Cowlitz County.

“Park Board” means the Cowlitz County Park and Recreation Board.

B. Wherever consistent with the content of this chapter, words in the present, past, or future tenses shall be construed to be interchangeable with each other, and words in the singular number shall be construed to include the plural. [Ord. 20-010 § 2, 3-3-20.]

9.06.025 Exceptions.

County employees, authorized agents of the county and law enforcement personnel are exempt from the regulations set forth in this chapter while in the performance of their lawful duties. [Ord. 20-010 § 3, 3-3-20.]

9.06.030 Park rules.

The Director is authorized to adopt rules for the management, operation and control of parks consistent with the police power of the county. Such rules shall be posted at all parks.

Violation of any posted rules will result in immediate removal from the park without a refund of any fees and the possible issuance of an infraction as defined in the Park Code. [Ord. 20-010 § 4, 3-3-20.]

9.06.040 Park hours.

No person or vehicle shall remain in any county park during posted closed hours except in designated camping or fishing areas or by written permit by the Director. [Ord. 20-010 § 5, 3-3-20.]

9.06.050 Prohibited acts and items.

The following acts and/or items are unlawful on and/or within any county park:

A. Signs and Structures. The use, placement or erection of any signboard, sign, billboard, bulletin board, post, pole or device of any kind for advertising in any park; or to attach any notice, bill, poster, sign, wire, rod or cord to any tree, shrub, railing, post or structure within any county park without the written consent of the Director.

B. Vandalism. The removal, destruction, mutilation or defacement of any structure, monument, statue, vase, fountain, wall, fence, railing, vehicle, bench, shrub, tree, fern, noninvasive plant, flower, lighting system, sprinkler system or any other property lawfully in any county park.

C. Reservations. Interfere with the authorized use of a reserved area of any county park.

D. Golf. Play golf or practice golf in any county park.

E. Metal Detectors. Metal detectors are not allowed at Riverside Park or Catlin Cemetery. Metal detectors are allowed in all other county parks under the following guidelines:

1. No digging in grass turf areas;

2. Do not disturb any irrigation system.

F. Bounce Houses. Bounce houses are not allowed within any county park without the signed permission of the Director.

G. Tobacco Products. No form of tobacco, including vaping, may be used while in or within 25 feet of the following:

1. Playgrounds or play areas;

2. Public restrooms, shelters and pavilions;

3. Public events at the parks and ball fields; and

4. During adult and youth league games and practices.

H. Weapons and Explosives. Shooting, firing, or exploding any firearm, crossbow, bow and arrow, torpedo or explosive of any kind or to shoot or fire any air gun, BB gun or to use any slingshot in or on county park property, except for those devices approved for use at the public shooting range.

I. Fireworks. No person shall possess or discharge fireworks without the written consent of the Director. As used herein, the terms “fireworks” and “common fireworks” have the same meaning as in Chapter 70.77 RCW, as now or hereafter amended.

J. Solicitations. Solicit contributions within any county park without a permit signed by the Director.

K. Merchandise Sales. Selling refreshments or merchandise without the written consent of the Director.

L. Feeding Wildlife. Leaving, placing or distributing foodstuffs or other material in any park to feed wildlife.

M. Disturbing Animals. Teasing, annoying, disturbing, molesting, catching, injuring or killing or to throw any stone, missile or object of any kind at or strike with any stick, weapon or object of any kind any animal.

N. Drones. Operating any radio/remote controlled or self-propelled model airplane, glider, car, boat or any model rocket except in areas specifically designated by the county and posted for such use. All drones must be operated per FAA regulations.

O. Vehicles. Riding or driving any bicycle, motorcycle or motor vehicle over or through any park except along and upon the park drives, parkways, park boulevards; riding or driving any motorcycle or motor vehicle along or upon bicycle paths; or at a speed in excess of 15 miles per hour or as signed; or park any vehicle, except in areas designated by the county. Vehicles which are not licensed for use on public highways are prohibited from being operated within any county park.

P. Littering. Throwing any refuse, litter, broken glass or crockery, nails, shrubbery, trimmings, junk or advertising matter in any park or to deposit any such material therein, except in designated receptacles. It is illegal to dispose of any household waste, yard waste, animal or fish carcass, entrails, or material or to abandon any item on or within any county park.

Q. Competitions. Engaging in, conducting or holding any trials or competitions for speed, endurance or hill climbing involving any vehicle, boat, aircraft or animal in any county park without a permit signed by the Director.

R. Fires. Building any fires except in areas designated by the county.

S. Alcohol. Bringing in or consuming any whiskey, wine, beer or other intoxicating liquors unless approved in writing by the Director for special events, such as weddings or fund raising activities, and must be compliant with all state and local laws pertaining to intoxicating liquors distribution.

T. Camping outside of designated camping areas. [Ord. 20-010 § 6, 3-3-20.]

9.06.055 Trail use.

A. The following acts or uses shall be permitted on any established trail within a county park:

1. Non-motorized recreation including, but not limited to, pedestrian, cycling, skiing and equestrian use.

2. Trail use only during daylight hours.

3. Trail use within the designated trail bed.

4. A 15 miles per hour speed limit shall apply to all users of the trail, unless otherwise posted.

5. Power-driven mobility devices meeting the following requirements:

a. Shall not exceed 65 inches in width and vehicle weight is not to exceed 1,500 pounds.

b. A state-issued disability parking placard shall be visible as credible assurance that the use of other power-driven mobility devices is for the individual’s mobility disability.

c. The state-issued disability parking placard shall only be used by the person to whom it is issued.

d. In the event that individuals with mobility disabilities are unable to operate the other power-driven mobility device, a driver will be allowed to accompany them.

B. The following acts or uses shall be unlawful on any established trail or trail corridor within a county park:

1. Use of any motorized vehicles, including snowmobiles, except for emergency vehicles, county vehicles and those other power-driven mobility devices under subsection (A)(5) of this section or by permit signed by the Director.

2. Public must not leave the trail bed.

3. Blocking of the trail or trail corridor by fences or any other obstructions that restrict the use of the trail and/or trail corridor.

4. Damage to or removal of trail material. [Ord. 20-010 § 7, 3-3-20.]

9.06.060 Animals.

A. It is unlawful to allow or permit any animal to run at large or to harass any person or other animal within any park. All animals must be under the direct physical restraint and control of a responsible person except in areas designated and posted by the county as an “off-leash pet area.”

B. Pet Waste. Any person with a dog or other pet, including horses, in his or her control in any county park shall carry equipment for removing feces and shall immediately place feces deposited by such animal in an appropriate receptacle.

C. Pets Prohibited. Dogs or other pets shall be prohibited from entering a park, trail, or any area of a park that has been designated and posted by the county as prohibiting dogs or other pets, excluding service animals. [Ord. 20-010 § 8, 3-3-20.]

9.06.100 Violation – Described.

A. Any violation of any provision of this chapter is a civil infraction as established by Chapter 7.80 RCW and for each violation shall be subject to a civil penalty of $75.00; provided, that a second infraction is subject to a civil penalty of $150.00; and provided, that a third and subsequent infractions are subject to a civil penalty of $300.00. Unless otherwise stated, violations shall be administered by the Director under the processes and procedures set forth in CCC 2.06.050 through 2.06.070, and CCC 2.06.100 through 2.06.130; provided, that any violation of a rule or regulation relating to traffic, including parking, standing, stopping and pedestrian offenses, is a traffic infraction, except that violation of a rule or regulation equivalent to those provisions set forth in RCW 46.63.020 is a misdemeanor; provided further, that any violation of any provision relating to vandalism or possession, transportation, or consumption of any intoxicating liquor outside approved areas by the county is a misdemeanor. A civil infraction may be issued by any law enforcement officer with jurisdiction or by the Director.

B. There shall be a penalty of $25.00 for failure to respond to a notice of civil infraction. [Ord. 22-032 § 1, 4-12-22; Ord. 20-010 § 10, 3-3-20.]

Reservation Policies

For cash reservations guests must pay in person at 1600 South 13th Avenue, Kelso, WA 98626. Payments must be exact amount, checks are not accepted. If booking online, your credit/debit card will be charged at the time of booking, not at the time of stay.

There is a 7 day stay limit for Harry Gardner Park.

You can make reservations 12 months to 5 days in advance before your first night’s stay. Example (If you are reserving Friday Night the last day to make a reservation is Sunday Night at 11:59 p.m.) Confirming your Reservation

You will receive a confirmation via e-mail (within 5 minutes) after making your reservation. Should you have any further questions regarding the details of your reservation, please call 360-577-3030.

All transactions are non-refundable.

For Harry Gardner Park:

Tent Sites are allowed 3 tents, 2 vehicles

RV Sites are allowed 1 RV, 1 vehicle, and 2 tents

If you have more that the allowed number please reserve an extra site.

For Riverside Park, electrical outlets will be turned on prior to the start of your event. If you overload the breaker there is no guarantee it will be turned back on before the end of your event. Please be aware of how much power you are using. :

Applicant hereby agrees to be responsible for repairing any damage caused to the both Riverside and Harry Gardner Park licensed herein during the applicant’s use of the park and pavilion, including damage to equipment, furnishings, buildings, and landscaping, which may be related to the proposed activity at the chosen park and Pavilion. Applicant agrees to hold harmless Cowlitz County, including its officers, agents, and employees, from any and all liability for injuries or losses to persons or property that may result from any act or omission to act on the part of said individual or organization, or the acts or omissions of its employees or agents or anyone visiting the park and pavilion, or using any of the equipment, furnishings, and buildings licensed herein, upon the invitation of said applicant, negligent or otherwise. Applicant agrees to follow all park and shelter rules and regulations which have been or will be applicant agrees to follow all park and pavilion rules and regulations which have been or will be adopted by Cowlitz County Parks and Recreation.

If you make a reservation at Riverside Park or Harry Gardner Park you will be agreeing to the information below. This is just general information for you before you make your reservation. You will click agree when making your reservation. 

For your Info only:   

Rules and Regulations for reservations made on our reservation site posted below. 

1. Licensees are permitted to use the facility only for purposes authorized by the County.
2. Licensees may not solicit funds for private gain.
3. Licensees may not charge admission to activities, except for the benefit of a charity and when prior written approval is received from the County.
4. Licensees understand that the County makes no warranties as to the fitness of its facilities for a particular purpose, and licensees have contracted for the facility after examining it and assuming full knowledge of its condition.
5. Licensees understand that the County Parks and Recreation Department assumes no responsibility for damage to or loss of any persons or property brought into the facility prior to, during, or after licensees’ use.
6. The licensee agrees to take full responsibility for licensees’ actions and the actions of licensees’ guests and agrees to abide by all County rules, regulations, and ordinances.
7. Restitution for any damages incurred during use will be the responsibility of the licensee.
8. Licensee and licensee’s guests will park only in the designated areas.
9. No alcohol or illegal substances are permitted in the facility.
10. Renters accept responsibility for ensuring that all trash is picked up and deposited in trash cans and that the property is left in good condition. Costs for repairing damage to the grounds will be assessed to the sponsoring Renter.
11. Cowlitz County only rents the pavilion and marked picnic areas. The rest of the Park is open to the general public.
12. Cowlitz County does not allow renters to bring bounce houses or other interactive inflatables, amusement rides or devices, or dunking booths onto Cowlitz County property.
13. Activities NOT permitted in the park: hunting, golfing, paintball and/or air soft guns, loud music or noise, automotive repair or the storing of vehicles.
14. Water balloons, rice, and confetti must be picked up. Pavilion must be swept if necessary.
15. No digging or spiking of grounds without areas being marked. An additional fee may be required for locating and marking underground utilities.
16. The use of a horse and carriage, petting zoo animals, or any other types of animals as part of the rental of a facility must be approved by the County. Proof of insurance may be required. Animal waste, straw, or any other waste materials must be completely cleaned up and removed from the park.
17. All pets must be on leashes and under control. Owners are to clean up after their pet.

19. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office has the authority to enter the park at any time to check for violations.
20. No ATVs or motorcycles are allowed at Riverside or Harry Gardner Park.
21. Only one RV per site is allowed at Harry Gardner Park.