Offut Lake Resort does not have a campsite with an abundance of recreation

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By Eric Trent / [email protected]

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TENINO – Something is strangely missing at Offut Lake Resort this summer. Gone is the smoky smell of campfires that float lazily through the resort. Owner Rebecca Pogue likens it to something you don’t realize you’re missing out on until it’s gone.

Offut Lake Resort, located approximately five miles north of Tenino, sits on the 200-acre Offut Lake. Normally busy at the beginning of September with an abundance of campers, the campground with 35 pitches for tents and motorhomes is empty. It has been closed since COVID-19 restrictions hit Thurston County in mid-March, and will remain so for the rest of the year.

Rebecca discovered that with the size of the campground and all of the restrictions and guidelines, she and her family were not able to adequately meet these guidelines for overnight camping.

“I miss the smell of a marshmallow,” she said. “But it will be back next year. We will be back next year with a vengeance.”

The resort began in 1939 and was purchased by the Pogue family in 1998. Rebecca’s grandson, Tyler Pogue, helps manage day-to-day operations and is the third of four Pogue generations to be at the resort.

While campers are non-existent this year, everything else is still open at the resort and it’s still a popular summer spot for day trippers. The Pogues have seen a record number of recreational visitors who come to isolate themselves and socially distance themselves. Rebecca said they had double the amount of previous summers.

“Everything else is open, with great caution,” Tyler said.

The resort offers fishing activities of all kinds, including dockside and boat fishing, with the boats being sanitized daily. Anglers looking to catch a fish can find rainbow trout, bass and perch on the lake.

The resort offers pontoons, fishing boats, kayaks, pedal boats and canoes. It has a general store that offers fishing licenses, fishing equipment and general grocery items.

Tyler, who grew up on the lake and the resort, has countless and treasured memories of sitting on the dock and enjoying the fresh air and water.

“I have spent many, many summer days enjoying this beautiful place,” said Tyler. “I couldn’t ask for a better place in the world. Sometimes it’s hard not to get lost in all of this. This place will forever be my home whether I am here or not.

This is one of the reasons the Pogues decided to buy the place, Rebecca said, because they have always been big fans of the outdoors and it was the perfect opportunity to keep doing what ‘they like.

“Recreation is very important to us and we love people who enjoy outdoor recreation,” said Rebecca.

The resort also has a lakeside restaurant, The Lady Lake of the House, perched near the water with indoor and outdoor seating. The restaurant offers evening specials, such as steak, fish and chips, tacos (beef, chicken and fish) and prime rib with shrimp.

Every winter, the resort hosts the Polar Plunge, an annual event that has lasted for 12 years. Participants can celebrate the New Year by jumping into the freezing 40-degree waters every January 1. The number of participants varies from 50 to 100, and many more come just to watch. Even Tyler joins us. No one remembers exactly how it started, but they think it started with a camper who wanted to jump into the water and that’s when it all took off.

“Anyone can enjoy the bubbling waters here,” Tyler said. “You get used to it after a while.”

The general store is open every day from 7 a.m. The restaurant La Dame du Lac is open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday; 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday; from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday; and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

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Journalist Eric Trent can be reached at [email protected] Visit chronline.com/business for more local business coverage.

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