Dash Point State Park became an officially recognized state park in 1962, thanks in large part to a former Federal Way resident who wrote letters to Washington parks and government officials to start the process.
Carl Anderson, who passed away in 1985, enjoyed spending time at Dash Point and wanted to make sure the piece of land could be around for generations to enjoy.
Anderson’s name, however, was largely forgotten in the history of the park after the 1960s.
Many news articles from that time gave credit to the land being sold by the McLeod family with no mention of the letters Anderson wrote detailing how the land would make a great state park.
An excerpt from the first letter he wrote in 1957 reads:
“Now, at long last, my dream of a perfect salt water state park is at hand. As I was driving through Dash Point the other day I discovered the very piece of property I’ve had in mind for a park being offered for sale. According to the sign it is three hundred acres with one thousand feet of beach.”
No one seemed to remember Anderson’s contribution after. No one except his children.
He is survived, along with many other relatives, by his two children, his daughter Chris Jaquish and his son Steve Anderson.
They can vividly recall the love their father had for the park, and how often he brought them out to spend time there.
Jaquish even remembers when the land was first dedicated as a state park in 1962 because they met Albert Rosellini, who was Washington’s governor at the time.
“Gov. Rosellini was here, and I remember him shaking my dad’s hand,” she said. “It was pretty impressive from our perspective.”
Anderson’s kids never forgot his contribution, and after years of working with the state parks department, their hard work has paid off. The parks and recreation commissions “realized that yes, Carl Anderson did deserve the respect, that what he did was important,” Jaquish said.
Jaquish said they have been working with the parks and recreation commissions for years trying to figure out how to properly honor Anderson’s contribution — until they found the perfect idea.
A bench, located at the picnic area at Dash Point State Park, was dedicated to Anderson’s contribution. The bench reads: “Dedicated to Carl O. Anderson in honor of his contribution to the establishment of Dash Point State Park.”
“We can see our dad sitting there today… he’s smiling somewhere today, because really this park would not be here without him,” she said.
The bench and surrounding cobblestones were assembled by Hal Heather, a local maintenance man who workss in the parks.
A small memorial dedication was held July 31, on what would have been Anderson’s 112th birthday, with family and close friends in attendance.
Steve Brand, the partnership and planning program manager for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, was also in attendance and was very moved by the efforts Carl Anderson and his family made for Dash Point.
“I hope that I can leave even a fraction of the mark Carl Anderson did,” Brand said.
It was an emotional moment for everyone in attendance, including Brand.
“It’s a gift to all the people of the state of Washington, and my expression is just the gratitude of that state,” he said.
Jaquish also wanted to recognize all those with the parks and recreation commission and rangers at Dash Point who were unable to attend, including Jeff Vassallo, a ranger, and Jamie VanDeVanter, who also works in the department. “It takes a village,” she said.