Excerpt from Two Hands and a Shovel by Jack Hartt
When Deception Pass first became a state park, the eastern shores of Cranberry Lake were already popular with local communities as a gathering place for swimming, picnicking, and neighborhood potlucks.
With the beaches vacated by the military, allowing the general public to enjoy the saltwater shoreline for the first time, the popularity of Cranberry Lake did not wane.
The National Park Service recognized the value of this freshwater lake for recreation. They designed their master plan to focus on the access to the saltwater beaches while maintaining and improving the opportunities to enjoy the lakeshore as well.
Some simple buildings had already been constructed along the lakeshore when the area became a park to accommodate the many people recreating in this area.
The Civilian Conservation Corps replaced these buildings with several new facilities, built in the classic rustic style. These facilities included a large picnic shelter not far from the shore, a large bathhouse and concession stand directly above the beach and dock, a restroom behind the bathhouse and another one further south, and two small picnic shelters, one to each side of the swimming beach.
Other facilities included improvements to the swim beach with a rock wall and walkways, an improved parking lot, and a pump house.
At the time of the CCC, the park entrance was a quarter mile to the north of this area. East Cranberry Lake relaxed at the end of the road, but as a popular swimming hole, it was the focus of most of the day use activity.
With the later development of West Beach in the 1950’s, the popularity of East Cranberry faded, leaving a quiet lakeshore enjoyed by fishermen, wedding planners, and other special events.
Today, the new park entrance comes in right next to the lakeshore, giving first-time visitors a chance to see what at that time the busiest and most popular part of the park. This quiet picnic and fishing area is now a relaxing haven away from the busier areas of the park.