W.E. Johnson Park
W.E. Johnson Park is a 236-acre park located in the City of Richland. Most of the park lies within the Yakima River floodplain and is designated as Natural Open Space. Within the park are riparian, wetland, and shrub-steppe habitats. The park is used for a variety of recreational activities: the 48-acre former landfill site at the north end of the park is a dedicated horse park; dedicated archery ranges are located to the west and east of the parking lot; a network of trails are located south of the parking lot and are used by hikers, equestrians, bikers and bird watchers. The Tapteal Trail crosses through the park.
W.E. Johnson Park is part of the Sun and Sage Loop of the Great Washington State Birding Trail. The park provides breeding habitat for a wide range of birds, including yellow-breasted chat, gray catbird, Cooper’s hawk, yellow warbler, and downy woodpecker. Other birds observed in the park include long-eared owl, red-tailed hawk, black-crowned night heron, and great egret.
The southern portion of the park is subjected to frequent flooding and contains established wetlands and permanent ponds. The late winter and spring floods impact the trail system: the southern portion of the Tapteal Spur Trail floods regularly; some spots along the southern portion of the Tapteal Trail occasionally flood; there are deep ditches that cross the Loop Trail that are filled with water through the spring and into the summer.
The large amount of standing water in the southern portion of the park promotes the breeding of mosquitos. Consequently, the Benton County Mosquito Control District maintains an active mosquito control program in the area.