Victor Falls is seen from the viewing area at Victor Falls Park in Bonney Lake. The Bonney Lake Arts Commission chose the park to hold its first-ever arts and music event this month in conjunction with the city’s grand opening. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com
Victor Falls is seen from the viewing area at Victor Falls Park in Bonney Lake. The Bonney Lake Arts Commission chose the park to hold its first-ever arts and music event this month in conjunction with the city’s grand opening. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

Puyallup: Sumner

Enjoy the views at Bonney Lake’s Victor Falls Park — just watch your step

By Allison Needles

aneedles@puyallupherald.com

September 19, 2017 10:10 AM

There’s a feature at Victor Falls Park that visitors can’t find at any other Bonney Lake park: a 70-foot waterfall.

And while the rushing water can be heard from the parking lot, the park at 18212 Rhodes Lake Rd E. is often described as small and quiet.

“It’s a really good place to sit and read and listen to the falls,” said Glory Cancro, assistant chair on the Bonney Lake Arts Commission.

That’s part of the reason the commission chose the location to hold its first-ever arts and music event this month in conjunction with the city’s grand opening of Victor Falls Park. The hope was to bring awareness to both the commission and the park.

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“The city has put a lot of effort into fixing up the park,” Cancro said. “We’re trying to put the park on the map for the public. We just really liked the location because it’s a really pretty area.”

The city has put a lot of effort into fixing up the park. We’re trying to put the park on the map for the public. We just really liked the location because it’s a really pretty area.

Glory Cancro, Bonney Lake Arts Commission

At only 3.25 acres, Victor Falls Park is one of Bonney Lake’s smaller parks, and it’s a short walk from parking lot to waterfall. But the area is packed with Bonney Lake history.

The falls was named after Victor Johns, the son of Emmanuel Johns, who worked in a shingle mill located above the falls. But Victor died as a teenager in 1901, and the mill eventually closed down. The house, located beside the park, became under ownership of the Frazier family, who lived in it until 1995.

“The importance (of the park) is centered around the falls — it’s a hidden falls and it’s very beautiful,” said Bonney Lake Historical Society member Glorianna Nicholson.

The city purchased the property in 2012 with the intention of preserving the history and the water provided by the watershed.

“We made a trail so there’s a really nice view of the waterfall,” said Bonney Lake project manager Gary Leaf. “That was the main idea behind the park — so you can get a nice view of the waterfall in a safe area.”

We made a trail so there’s a really nice view of the waterfall. That was the main idea behind the park —so you can get a nice view of the waterfall in a safe area.

Gary Leaf, Bonney Lake project manager

But while the city installed a fence and cliff warning signs, there are still some park visitors who try to climb their way down to the bottom of the falls.

“We don’t recommend it,” Leaf said.

Cancro, whose husband is an East Pierce firefighter, said there’s been more than one rescue at the park.

“People have tied ropes to trees and tried to get down there,” she said.

The city also installed benches and garbage cans throughout the area. Moving forward, a master plan is being considered for the park. But first, more land would have to be acquired.

“There have been surveys done,” Historical Society member Winona Jacobsen said. “It’s been overwhelming when questions go out — people want a trail.”

The Bonney Lake Arts Commission, which was created three years ago, plans on having more arts events in local parks. The next one is expected to be at Allan Yorke Park, which is getting upgrades of its own.

Allison Needles: 253-597-8507, @herald_allison