Bing Canyon Pioneer Camp

Two miles north of the intersection of 16 PR SW and Highway 14.
Approximately 10 miles northwest of Plymouth, Washington, United States

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The Bing Canyon Pioneer Camp provides a primitive, secluded, secure site for trek groups. The camp is on rangeland that is part of a large irrigated farm that the Church owns and operates. The terrain is rolling hills and small canyons, and the vegetation is low shrub and prairie grass. Elevations range from 500 to 1,000 feet.

Directions with GPS: Use the intersection option: 16 PR SW and Highway 14, Plymouth, WA 99346

Directions without GPS: To reach the main campground, coming either south from Washington on I-82 or north from Oregon on I-82, take exit 131 (Highway 14) to Plymouth and Vancouver, just north of the Columbia River. Then travel west on Highway 14 for 8.4 miles. Turn right (north) on 16 PR SW, between mileposts 172 and 173. This is the second Agra-Northwest turnoff, which is called the Prior Land West Entrance. Do not take the EAST Agra-Northwest turnoff. Follow the gravel road between two rows of large pine trees. Travel two miles north along this road to the intersection where you will turn right into the farm. When you arrive at the shop, continue north along the dirt road and you will see signs directing you to Bing Canyon.

Access to the camp is by reservation only. 

Overview | Scheduling | Itinerary | Essentials | Training | Other


Overview

1. In what months are treks allowed at the site?
May through August

2. What is the cost per person to use the site?
$15 per person, including all adult trekkers, leaders, and staff members—even those who do not walk the trail. This fee is the same regardless of the length of the trek. It will be withdrawn from unit funds.

3. How many participants can the site accommodate at a time?
800

4. How many handcarts are available?
53. Maximum weight limit is 400 pounds. Standard loading consists of 10 five-gallon buckets for personal items and 2 five-gallon water containers.

Scheduling

1. Who may schedule a trek? Wards? Stakes? Families?
Wards, stakes, and families may schedule treks.

2. How far in advance should treks be scheduled?
Treks are scheduled one to four years in advance.

3. Who is the site contact for more information and scheduling?
Email bingcanyontrek@gmail.com.

4. Are missionaries available to help with treks? What services and activities will they provide?
Missionaries schedule activities, provide training, help establish trek routes, and coordinate trek activities with farm activities. As requested, they can also teach square dancing, provide square dance calling, tell pioneer stories, and help in other ways. Trek leaders receive a CD with pioneer dance music at the trek training meeting, and youth are encouraged to learn the dances before the trek. Missionaries wear blue shirts, making them easy to identify.

Itinerary

1. What is the recommended length (in days) of a trek at the site?
Two-, three-, or four-day treks may be scheduled, depending on the miles the group wants to trek.

2. How long are the trek trails?
There are two main trails that go up to 30 miles.

Participants must not leave designated trails and approach any fields, orchards, equipment, or sprinkler pivots. Participant safety is paramount. A minimum of 300 feet is required and strictly enforced from any farm activity and agriculture. Any participant (adult or youth) who violates this policy will be sent home.

Bing Canyon’s trails are now designed to simulate parts of the pioneer trail from Iowa City to the Salt Lake Valley. Each site has a specific spiritual significance, which includes vignettes or reenactments that honor the pioneers of the Willie and Martin handcart companies. The purpose of these “structured trails” is to touch the hearts and strengthen the testimonies of those who trek at Bing Canyon.

3. Is the trek a set route, or is there flexibility for different schedules and routes?
There are established trek routes that are flexible to meet the needs of individual groups—while minimizing the impact to natural resources and farming enterprises. These routes have varying mileages. 

4. What trek activities can be done at the site (such as a river crossing and women’s pull)?
All typical trek activities can be done on the property, including a river crossing and a women’s pull. Trek groups enjoy the “Sweetwater River” crossings, and the women’s pull has an excellent layout. The unique “hard rope pull” provides a great group activity that demonstrates teamwork and the need to “pull together” to succeed in life. The Jens and Elsie Nielson reenactment, done at the base of “Rocky Ridge,” has been a touching event.

Essentials

1. Is water available at the site? How do groups handle transporting water? Do they bring their own containers?
Bing Canyon has potable and nonpotable water. Each trek group is provided a 500-gallon water tank filled with potable water. The missionaries refill the tank each day. The water is to be used for drinking and cooking only, not for bathing. The tank is on a trailer, and trek groups must provide their own four-wheel-drive truck to pull it. Water faucets are located around the main campground but not at the trek campsites.

2. Are pit toilets or portable toilets available on the property? If not, how do trek groups handle sanitation?
Each trek group is provided one trailer with four portable toilets for every 100 participants. Additional trailers are $100 each. Groups must bring their own four-wheel-drive trucks to pull to the trailers. Each toilet is stocked with two rolls of toilet paper, so groups should bring their own additional toilet paper. Hand-washing barrels to the side of the portable toilets are available, but groups need to bring their own hand sanitizer or soap. Pit toilets with hand sanitizer are available at the main campground but not at trek campsites.

3. How are trek groups to handle trash?
Trek groups are required to pack out all trash. Trash may not be left at the campsites or at Bing Canyon after the trek. There is no garbage service available.

Many groups reduce their garbage by using metal cups, plates, and utensils. At each campsite and at the main campground, groups should line up and do a final sweep before they leave the area. They should pick up any leftover food, paper, bottles, candy wrappers, and other litter.

Trek groups may rent a dumpster from the Bing Canyon camp for $200. Groups may also dispose of garbage at 81144 N Highway 395, Hermiston, Oregon. This sanitary landfill is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on most holidays. Fees vary.

4. What is the fire protocol at the site?
Open fires are not allowed at the trek campsites. Cooking is restricted to propane stoves or charcoal briquettes contained within a metal fire pan with legs at least 12 inches off the ground (this includes Dutch ovens). Most trek groups use propane stoves for cooking. If your cooking will create ashes, you will need to bring a metal trash can for the ashes and take them home with you. 

Training

1. Do missionaries from the site provide training to trek leaders? Is the training mandatory? When is it offered? How much does it cost per leader?
Trek leaders are required to attend a training meeting to discuss the rules, restrictions, and requirements at Bing Canyon and to receive assistance in planning their trek. Missionaries provide this training in a one-day trek seminar at Bing Canyon. The seminar is held each fall, usually on a Saturday, for groups that will be doing a trek the next year. The cost for printed materials is $10.

Additionally, a “route review” is offered in the spring, generally starting in May, to review trek trails for individual groups. Participants are welcome to visit Bing Canyon anytime between April and November but should contact the missionaries to schedule their visit.

2. Does the site have a site-specific handbook?
Yes. Your group will receive a copy at trek leader training or by contacting the missionaries who schedule the site.

Other

1. Does the site rent handcarts for groups to use at different locations?
No

2. Are other activities, besides trek, offered at the site?
Bing Canyon can be reserved for stake- and ward-sponsored activities, Scout camps, Young Women camps and other events, father-and-son camps and other events, women’s events, and family camps. The developed main campground has about four acres of lawn surrounded by trees with about 34 campsites and eight water faucet sites. The campsites have pavilions, tables, fire pits, potable water, and irrigation water.

A permanent fire ring with seating for more than 200 people is located near the pavilions. There is also an amphitheater at the west end of the park, which has a large fire ring and seating for about 200 people. Additional fire rings and limited firewood are available at the campground.

There is no charge to use the Bing Canyon Zion’s Camp for any of the daytime activities listed above; however, these events must be scheduled. Any overnight camping is $3.00 per person and must also be scheduled.

3. Are vehicles allowed at the site?
Groups should keep vehicles to a minimum. The missionaries will escort all support vehicles from campsite to campsite. All participants and support personnel must drive at posted safe speeds while on the property. All roads must remain clear to allow for farm traffic. No stopping or parking on roads is permitted. 

Because of the hazards of farm equipment and aerial spraying of crops, only those roads designated for public use may be used. Medical or emergency response vehicles may be granted exceptions to use other specified roads.

The medical staff needs to have a vehicle that stays nearby on access roads while the group is trekking. This vehicle is used to transport sick or injured trekkers if necessary. It needs to be four-wheel drive. The person driving the vehicle needs to have communication with leaders who are walking on the trail. If someone is injured or feeling sick, he or she needs to be escorted to the nearest road for pickup by the medical vehicle.

4. Are recreational vehicles, campers, and camp trailers allowed at the site?
No. The site is not equipped with RV hookups or with RV sanitary dump sites.

5. Are mountain bikes, horses, dogs, firearms, ammunition, fireworks, fishing equipment, or ATVs allowed at the site?
No, except for service dogs. ATVs can be used during trail reviews only and must be escorted at all times by the missionaries.

6. Where are the nearest medical facilities?
The trek staff should study the routes to the nearest hospitals or medical care facilities:

Trios Southridge Hospital
Plaza Way
Kennewick, WA
Phone: 509-221-7000
Trios Southridge Hospital is about 35 minutes from Bing Canyon Zion’s Camp. Take I-82 to Kennewick. Take Exit 113. The hospital is on the left.

Good Shepherd Medical Center
610 NW 11th Street
Hermiston, OR
541-667-3400
The Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston is about 25 minutes from Bing Canyon Zion’s Camp. Take I-82 across the bridge and take the first left onto Highway 730. Take the first right onto Highway 395 into Hermiston. Follow the signs to the hospital. Only on-call doctors are available.