Kopachuck State Park closed to campers due to ailing trees

Kopachuck State Park closed to campers due to ailing trees »Play Video
NEAR GIG HARBOR, Wash. -- There are 41 campsites at Kopachuck State Park.

And every summer weekend, they're full.

But there's a problem. Majestic Douglas firs are showing signs of distress.

The tree experts came in, some trees came down. The diagnosis: laminated root rot. It is the most serious disease a fir tree can get. They can look healthy, then suddenly fall.

So the campground is closed.

Park rangers say for someone moving through, the area is safe. For camping, though, the closure is in effect until the tree experts can determine just how bad the problem is.

Other experts are also trying to keep you safe by testing waters. This year, thanks to a federal grant, they've added places they've never checked before, like Seabeck.

"We see this nice, clean, beautiful water. We think it's clean. That's the assumption the public makes. That's why it is important that we do this monitoring," said Jim Zimney of the Kitsap County Health Department.

Possible problems include animals on the beach, problems with septic systems or runoff from the hills.

If there's anything wrong, you'll know before Memorial Day.

Last year, state and county health departments checked 52 beaches. This year, with more federal money, they'll check the 70 most popular saltwater beaches.