FARRAGUT STATE PARK
FARRAGUT STATE PARK
Athol, Idaho 83801-8212
Phone: (208) 683-2425
Farragut State Park is located 30 miles north of Coeur d?Alene on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho?s largest lake. Once the world?s second largest naval training station, today the 4,000-acre park provides a multitude of recreation opportunities. To the traditional activities of picnicking, swimming, boating, hiking and camping; visitors can add playing disc golf, visiting the Farragut Naval Training Center Museum, taking advantage of the orienteering course, model airplane flyer?s field, taking the kids to the playground, and using the horseshoe pits and sand volleyball courts.
A diverse biological community exists in this scenic forest setting of lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, white pine, Douglas fir, poplar, western larch and grand fir. The forests are home to whitetail deer, squirrels, black bears, coyotes and bobcats. Common birds include owls, hummingbirds, hawks, woodpeckers, ducks and Idaho?s state bird, the mountain bluebird. The world-record kamloops (37 pounds) was caught in Lake Pend Oreille. The lake is home to rainbow trout, lake trout, perch, crappie, bass, kokanee, and whitefish.
The park encompasses land that was deposited during the last glacial period 10,000 years ago. Large glacial dams that existed to the east held back Glacial Lake Missoula over much of what is now Montana. These dams broke at various times during the ice age, and the outflow and impact of this water on its way to the ocean can still be seen on the escarpment of Bernard Peak. The escarpment is 500 feet higher than the current surface of Lake Pend Oreille; these waters rushed westward, leaving behind a large ?glacial gravel bar? between Cape Horn and Bernard Peak forming the peninsula that is now the park.
The creation of Farragut State Park is an unintended result of a compact between Adolf Hitler and the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. The intent to invade the United States and divide its land between them led to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The U.S. response to this attack included the building of the Farragut Naval Training Station inland, so that it would be protected from coastal invasion. Though that coastal attack never came, the world's second largest naval training station was built along the shore of Lake Pend Oreille.
Named after the first Admiral of the Navy, David Glasgow Farragut, the station operated from 1942 to 1946 and had 293,381 men from across the nation train here. Carved from the remote forests of North Idaho, it became the largest city in Idaho with a population over 50,000. At the end of World War II, the station continued to provide services to sailors through its extensive hospital complex and as Farragut Junior College. By the end of the 1940?s, most of the 776 buildings had been sold off or removed and the U.S. government initiated putting the land up for sale. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game bought parcels along the shoreline, and these acquisitions led to a larger agreement wherein the majority of the remaining land was given to the State of Idaho as the Farragut Wildlife Management Area. A 20- acre parcel was retained for an acoustic research detachment, which is still in operation today for the U.S. Navy.