Oasis: The Resort Near Mayfield Dam Accommodates Gatherings and Boaters Alike
During a long career as a globe-trotting helicopter pilot, Dannie Richardson stayed at a lot of RV Parks.
He liked them so much, he thought it would be fun to own one himself. Now, a little more than a year after officially retiring, and about four years into owning the Lake Mayfield Resort and Marina, he’s just as busy as ever.
“It’s no kind of retirement I thought of,” he said.
As with the other campgrounds and resorts around East Lewis County, summertime is a very busy season. Because of Mayfield Lake’s central location between Seattle, Portland and Yakima, Richardson said the majority of his business comes in the form of family reunions and tourists exploring the Pacific Northwest by way of RV.
The place also has personality that lingers from the previous owners.
One of the rental units is officially named “the best little oar house,” though the Richardsons refer to it simply as “the best.” Donnie says it’s pretty clever, but they’ll likely change it’s name as soon as they’re able.
Although it’s mostly a tourist destination, it’s a common place for people living in the area to store their boats during the summer.
The marina is filled with everything from sporty-looking ski boats to flat and wide fishing boats, and occasionally a tiger muskie hiding under the docks.
Mayfield Lake is a great place for sport fishing for tiger muskie, rainbow trout and the occasional bass. A couple of the employees have a fervor for fishing that borders on religiousness and know some of the best spots to catch fish.
His wife Joy and son Trent also help run the facilities. The younger Richardson has a degree in biology, but years of experience working at seasonal resorts for Princess Cruises taught him enough about the tourism industry to run the resort as the general manager. He also travels to other resorts for research and brings new ideas back to Lake Mayfield.
“Going back to the days of me working up in Alaska, that’s what led me into wanting to do something like this. I know what to expect when I go places” he said. “There’s always things that we want to do to make what we do better.”
The resort and marina fits on 4 acres at the southwest side of Mayfield Lake and offers everything from space for tents to multi-room housing for entire families. Hiding the marina from the rest of the lake is an island with a lighthouse nestled into the trees and lots of space for tent campers.
The on-site bar and restaurant offer a broad selection of food and drinks with views overlooking the lake.
With available WiFi and full hook-ups at the RV sites, the place is light on wilderness and heavy on lakeside living.
“Some people like to camp to get away from it all. Ours isn’t that,” Dannie Richardson said.