Videographer promotes Washington state parks

December 24, 2013

By Joe Grove

DiscoverWashington 2013100 copyThe Eric Jensen family purchased a 27-foot travel trailer in 2006, and joined a couple of associations of parks catering to RVers, only to discover they wanted something more.

Jensen said the associations didn’t have the best properties for the outings.

“We decided we wanted the kids to have some great experiences with camping,” the Issaquah resident said. “This was real important to us.”

They started looking for other places to set up on their ventures out of Issaquah.

“We started going to a few state parks,” he said. “The first one we went to was Larrabee, 7 miles south of Bellingham. The neat thing about that park is that it is right on the ocean, and when the tide goes out you get tide pools.

“You take the kids to play in the tide pools and let them see all the sea life. It was just a neat opportunity. It was a great time for us with our kids. We’ll never forget that time.”

ric Jensen

ric Jensen

The happy campers became a little frustrated, though, when they began to search for other destinations.

“We had every magazine, every book that was available on the market,” Jensen said, “anything that was available that we could get our hands on to see what these parks would give us.”

He said there wasn’t anything that told them what a park looked like or what their experience would be like.

“A written description of the park is very difficult to translate into fresh air,” he said, “the ocean experience and how much fun your kids are going to have there.”

It was out of that frustration that Jensen, who provides videography services for attorneys, conceived the idea of putting together a DVD, showing what people could expect from the various state parks.

He went to the Washington State Parks Department and asked for a permit to do a DVD project of state parks and was granted the permit for $100.

With the permit, his wife Kerri, his sons Rhoddy and Joey, and daughter Katie Jo launched a seven-year project. He has videotaped some 70 state parks and has completed the DVD “Discover Washington Now.” It features 20 states parks, all except three, in Western Washington.

The Eastern Washington parks — Easton, Lake Chelan and Gingko/Wanapum — will be removed from that DVD and placed in a DVD of Eastern Washington parks when it comes out in the near future.

Jensen said his criterion for choosing which parks to video was that they had to have both tent and RV facilities.

With passion in his voice, Jensen said people do not realize from descriptions in books how beautiful the parks are. He said they had to video them and “show people what they are missing out there.

“One of the things we wanted to do was include the family in this (camping) and show people this is part of family and kids, and they enjoy it,” Jensen said. “Yeah, it is really fun.”

Eleven-year-old Katie Jo said her favorite park is Deception Pass.

“When we roast marshmallows and stuff, like the campfire, I like it because it keeps you warm at night and it is, like, when the whole family does it, we just sit and talk,” she said

Kerri said the project has been both educational and inspirational.

“I really appreciate the passion he has for this project,” she said of her husband. “It hasn’t been easy. It has been a long haul, but he has never given up, and he has stuck to trying to get that extra park filmed or get that extra script done. It is kind of a hobby or side business as he has another main business he works on.

“While it has taken him a long time, we have certainly enjoyed it as a family going to all these different parks,” she added. “We have gotten to know our state a little bit better, and we appreciate the parks more and all the people who work in the parks. As a family, it is great to sit around a campfire and enjoy each park and all it has to offer.”

Jensen said working with the parks has been wonderful — the parks are beautiful and the rangers are great people.

“I met a ranger just two weeks ago at Lake Wenatchee State Park, and that ranger has been there for 20 years,” he said. “He loves that park. He is a lifer for the park.”

The DVD is divided into categories, such as parks near lakes, parks near rivers, or parks with cabins or yurts.

“This DVD is by far the best info out there for state parks,” Mark Owens, of Seattle, said in a press release. “Super easy categories made watching and selecting parks a breeze. And our kids loved seeing all the things there are to do at each park.”

Jensen said he has a lot invested in the project. However, one of his immediate concerns is that his two sons are now both more than 6 feet tall and they don’t fit in the RV sleeping area anymore.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do, maybe get a tent for them to set up outside,” he said.

Jensen said he has made short clips of each park which the state parks system will use to add a little color to its website and its app for smart phones.


Get a copy

Get the DVD ‘Discover Washington Now’ at the state parks that have stores, at visitor centers around the state, at RV stores and at Jensen’s website,

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