Longbranch, Washington. Where I grew up, where I call home, and where mom and dad live still in the same house. Joemma Beach is about half a mile down the road. I would walk the gravel road almost every day in the summer. This dock wasn’t there then. In fact, nothing was there but beach in those days. Now there are camping spaces, picnic tables, restroom facilities, the dock and a locking gate entrance. The road into the park itself is paved and has speed bumps.
In the late 60s the Dept. of Natural Resources began developing the area and renamed it Robert F Kennedy Recreation Area. The locals never did get used to the name and called it Joemma Beach anyway, after Joe & Emma Smith who settled the area in the early 1900s. When it was transferred to the parks department and the campground officially opened in 1995, the name was changed back. It is now called Joemma Beach State Park. I, for one, am very glad. Probably seems silly to anyone who wasn’t around back then, but for me it’s almost like meeting up with an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time, like going home. Lucky for me it IS home!