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Where History and Recreation Merge Inside this Issue Hiking San Juan Island is the walkable island with many trails along the west side. See our new trail map. (Page 4) American and English camps offer numerous hiking trails. Browse our maps and trail guide to find one that suits you. (Pages 6 & 7)

National Parks From living history to nature to evenings of song and dance, it’s all here. Check our summer program guide. (Pages 5 & 8)

Camping There are a few places where you can camp and see the whales from your fire pit. Find out the best spots. (Page 9)

Museums Visit the island’s Heritage Sites and many museums with the help of our listings. (Page 11)

2011 Park and Trails Guide,

San Juan Island: trails to you Visitors flock to San Juan Island each and every year by the thousands. Maybe it’s the sunshine, 247 days a year, on average. Maybe it’s the scenic beauty or abundance of wildlife — the sight of a killer whale breaching the water’s surface is truly something to behold. Or maybe they’re drawn by the laidback lifestyle of Friday Harbor and its small-town charm, and by the rural landscape that surrounds it. All good reasons. But the best way to breathe in the true character of the island — as most islanders would agree — is by visiting one of its many parks or taking a sojourn along one of its numerous hiking trails. That’s where the island’s natural beauty and the echoes of its past truly come alive. Whether it’s a park, trail, museum or campground that captures your interest, our 2011 Parks and Trails Guide will help get you on your way to discovering some of the best of the best that the island has to offer. Bon voyage.

English Camp’s commissary, blockSan Juan Island’s hiking trails house are renown sunshine and and formal for garden sit at theanedge abundance of madrona trees. of the enbankment on Garrison Bay.

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2. 2011 PARK AND TRAILS GUIDE Welcome to our guide to the Park and Trails of San Juan

6th Annual salute to our Parks and Trails. National, State, County, Historical, Natural, and Marine By Scott Rasmussen

For Kids: It’s like one big, natural amusement park Eagle Cove: sandy beach, playful waves and relatively warm water. It’s a great place to body surf, Boogie board, build a sandcastle, fly a kite, or improve your tan. Take Cattle Point Road out of town, turn right on Eagle Cove Drive. Skateboarders will find plenty of bends, curves and steep terrain at Friday Harbor Skatepark, at the San Juan County Fairgrounds on Argyle Avenue. It’s great for beginners too. And there’s a family park with playground equipment and a sheltered picnic area. The park is run by Island Rec, which offers yearround programs. Call 360-378-4953; visit Arts and crafts, dance, drama, games, music and swimming are among the activities offered at Bill & Rita Ament’s Summer Creative Arts Day Camp, at Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island. Camp begins July 6. Call 360-378-9628. Camp Eagle Rock in Friday Harbor begins June 22, daily, for children ages 6-12. Activities include arts and crafts, bus trips, games, music and swimming. A daily snack is provided. Call 360-378-4953; visit www. islandrec.

San Juan Island is where it all began. The Hudson Bay Company, the Pig War, the joint occupation by U.S. and British military forces, which led to a peaceful settlement of an international boundary dispute. Then came Roche Harbor Lime Company and its emergence in the late 1800s as an economic heavyweight. Today, San Juan Island remains the home of San Juan County’s only incorporated town, Friday Harbor. As a result, it’s the seat of local government and serves as the county’s commercial hub and its primary gateway for border crossings to and from Canada. Friday Harbor celebrated its 100th birthday in 2009. In the summer, with its streets teeming with visitors, it’s easy to forget that the town, which consists of about one square mile, is home to no more than 2,500 year-round residents. But they’re a busy bunch. And there’s plenty to do in Friday Harbor regardless of the season. The town is home to the bustling Port of Friday Harbor, numerous art galleries, an assortment of parks, a movie theater, an art museum, a historical museum, a military museum and a whale museum. There are also enough quality restaurants and first class cafés to satisfy the palate and the pocketbook of just about anyone. While its history and vitality are palpable, nothing surpasses the island’s scenic beauty. You’ll find it in full display on the coveted west side of the island, where 30-plus miles of shoreline brush up against the waters of Haro Strait, a favorite hunting ground of the region’s resident, and endangered, killer whales. It’s no more than 15 miles from

2011 Park and Trails Guide,

Friday Harbor, located on the east side of the island, to the west side. There’s a lot to see along the way, as the landscape begins to reveal the island’s legacy and its resurgence as a agricultural producer. Situated closer to Canada than mainland U.S.A., the west side of San Juan offers dazzling sunsets, sweeping vistas and stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s also one of the sweetest spots on Earth from which to launch a kayak. As if that weren’t enough, there’s a county-run campground, complete with mooring buoys and a boat ramp, a state park that features a historic lighthouse and locations that are beyond compare for a picnic and landbased whale watching. There’s also a pair of National Park Service properties, as well as four different nature preserves dedicated to low-impact recreation, like hiking. All told, more than 3,000 acres on San Juan’s west side are open to

the public and nearly all those parks and preserves boast significant tracts of waterfront. (If you ask a local for directions to Eagle Cove and its sandy beach, please don’t mention that you heard about it here). The west side of the island is anchored at the south end by the National Historical Park’s American Camp. It’s anchored on the north end by Roche Harbor Resort. From its roots as a blue-collar company town, founded on the production of lime, Roche Harbor has evolved into a full-fledged resort and seaside village. It boasts a thriving marina, an airstrip, a 19-acre sculpture park, numerous hiking trails and a disc-golf course, as well as an outdoor amphitheater, where Island Stage Left, a local production company, performs Shakespearean and other classic theater. For more information and maps of San Juan Island, visit the Chamber of Commerce: 135 Spring St., downtown Friday Harbor, 360-378-5240, www.

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2011 Park and Trails Guide .3 Basic information

Finding your way to the national parks


American Camp

he American Camp visitor center is about six miles southeast of Friday Harbor along Cattle Point Road. Simply drive west on Spring Street to Mullis Street and turn left. The road will wind a bit and change its name twice until it becomes Cattle Point Road. Turn right on the visitor center entrance road after you see the large park entrance sign. If you turn before the sign, you’ll be in the Eagle Cove housing development. Cattle Point Road passes three miles through the park right-of-way, and the speed limit is 45 mph. Please be mindful, especially in the wooded stretch, that wild animals cross this road and bicyclists may be just around one of the blind corners. Startled cyclists tend to turn and look over their left shoulders, which causes them to swerve toward the center line. Park speed limits are 15 mph on the visitor center entrance road and 25 mph on Pickett’s Lane (which leads to South Beach). Remember to be especially careful when exiting the American Camp visitor center entrance road. Over the years, several accidents have occurred at this intersection.

English Camp

English Camp is located about nine miles northwest of Friday Harbor on West Valley Road. Take Spring Street to Second Street and turn right. At the first stop sign you encounter, Second becomes Guard. Go to the next stop sign and continue to go straight. The street runs past the library, curves right and left, and then becomes Beaverton Valley Road. Continue over Cady Mountain (not much altitude gain here—it’s a small mountain) until the road becomes West Valley Road. About 500 feet past the park entrance sign, on the left, is the entrance road to the parade ground that follows the original Military Road. The speed limit on this gravel track is 15 mph, and we urge you to take it seriously. English Camp may also be accessed via Roche Harbor Road. To reach Roche Harbor Road from Friday Harbor, turn right at the second stop sign onto Tucker Avenue, which becomes Roche Harbor Road just outside of town. Continue to West Valley Road and turn left. The parade ground entrance road will be your second right after you pass the park entrance sign.

A word about road safety

Because the island is only 54 square miles (about 16 1/2 miles long and 6 1/2 miles wide at the midsection), it’s easy to get around. Plus, on island time you don’t have to be in such an all-fired hurry to get anywhere! If you’re driving an automobile or truck, be espe-

2011 Park and Trails Guide,

Fast facts about the national parks English and American camps are important archaeological areas dating back 8,000 years to the time of the Coast Salish Indians. Artifacts such as bottles, buttons, bone pendants, projectile points and fish hooks are on display at the American Camp visitor center. Both locations are day-use- only areas with picnic tables, open from dawn to 11 p.m. There are no campgrounds available at either camp, but several private facilities and a county-owned campground are available on the island. Pets must be kept on a leash within park boundaries. Bags are provided to clean up after them. Please respect the leash law — it not only protects fragile plants and wildlife, but other visitors and their pets as well. Because artifacts are protected under federal law, collecting, digging or using metal detectors is prohibited. Please do not disturb natural features and ruins. You may collect fruits, nuts, unoccupied seashells and mushrooms. Off-road travel (by vehicles or mopeds) is not allowed in the park. Bicycling is permitted only on gravel paths. Use or possession of fireworks is prohibited year-round. Horseback riding is allowed by permit in designated areas only.

cially mindful of bicycles, mopeds and three-wheeled motorized scooters. They have the same right-of-way as you. If you must pass, do it carefully and do not cross a solid double line. Conversely, cyclists should remember that, while they do have the right-of-way on county roads, it’s considered a courtesy here to

Do not hunt, trap or use firearms on park lands.

form a single line right. Adults take note: If children are along, be sure to ride both at the front and rear of the pack. Keep your eyes open. You may encounter a deer, fox, or even a river otter crossing the road.

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4. 2011 PARK AND TRAILS GUIDE 2011 National Parks Summer Special Program Schedule Special Programs

Sound/Salish Sea Basin. Join Park Historian Mike Vouri and Integrated Resources Chief Jerald Weaver for a journey across time as they explore changes in teh resource from the glacier to today’s restoration efforts. 7 to 8:30 p.m., Monday, August 1, San Juan Island Libray.

America’s Pastime at American Camp — It is likely that the new game of base ball (two words then) was played by the soldiers posted at American Camp. Join Park Ranger, and co-founder of the annual vintage base ball matches at Fort Vancouver NHS, Doug Halsey for a workshop on thisgloveless game, where unruly “cranks� (fans) could be fined by the umpire! You will be surprised at the other differences, and similarities, to today’s rules. 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 25, American Camp parade ground San Juan and Civil War — Park Historian Mike Vouri explores the impact of the American Civil War on San Juan Island, the other soliders stationed here. He also touches on how the secession crisis affected Washington Territory and the Pacific Coast before and immediately after Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday, July 8, San Juan Island Library

Pickett’s Irish: The Irish in the U.S. Army in the 1850s — Folk musician Michael Cohen and historian Mike Vouri bring back this popular program that takes a closer look at the Irish in the U.S. Army in words and song. 3 to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, August 6, English Camp barracks.

Park staff, volunteers and re-enactors from throughout the region recreate life on San Juan Island at mid19th century. Encampment 2011 will be July 23 & 24

Northwest Pioneer Folkways Demonstrations — Janet Oakley, former Education Coordinator for the Skagit County Historical Museum in La Conner, demonstrates pioneer folkways from butter churning to Dutch oven baking and other tasks. Noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, July 16, English Camp parade ground.

highlight of the weekend will be the Candlelight Ball, an evening of dancing and refreshments, scheduled 8 to 10 p.m. on Saturday. All day, Saturday and Sunday July 23 & 24, English Camp.

Encampment 2011 — Park staff, volunteers and re-enactors from throughout the region recreate life on San Juan Island at mid-19th century. The major

A Prairie’s Life — in a region known for its ample amount of rainfall, lush forest and coastal climate, American Camp’s prairie is unique in the Puget

BICYCLE RENTALS See the San Juans Best by Bike

Specialty Foods & Cookware Specialty Foods & Cookware

Specialty Foods & Cookware Specialty Foods & Cookware

A Weaving Weekend — Weavers from San Juan Island and Washington State will gather for the weekend to demonstrate how European and American Indian techniques melded to create woven objects and clothing unique to the Pacific Northwest. Cowlitz Nation weaver Judy Bridges and Fort Nisqually interpreter and storyteller Karen Haas will show how it was done with all-natural fibers. All day, Saturday and Sunday, August 27-28, English Camp parade ground.

Programs are free and open to the public, except where noted. Programs are subject to change. For updates and accessibility information, call (360) 3782240, ext. 2227.

Step Back in Time





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2011 Park and Trails Guide,

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Visit the 1894 James King Farmhouse and several historic structures which include the original 1890’s San Juan County Jail. Located a short distance from the ferry in Friday Harbor. Hours: May–September, Wed.–Sat. 10-4, Sun. 1-4 April–October, Sat. 1 – 4 November–March by appointment Tours of the museum can be made at other times and days by appointment.

San Juan Historical Museum 405 Price Street Friday Harbor, WA 98250


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2011 PARK AND TRAILS GUIDE .5 2011 National Historical Park Summer Program Schedule Daily Programs Walk to the Eagle’s Nest — Curious as to where the American Camp bald eagles are now nesting? Ask a staff member to show you! An easy 10-minute, (one-way) walk on the new Fraser Homestead trail. Daily, to August 27, American Camp Scoping the Osprey — Want to know about ospreys nesting above English Camp parade ground? Check out our spoting scope at the East ehnd of the Royal Marine barracks. A park ranger or volunteer is always on duty to answer your questions. Daily, to August 27, American

Weekly Programs Winter Village and Bell Point Trail Nature Walk — Take a ranger-guided or volunteer walk along the shoreline and through the Pacific madrona forest and learn about 2,500 years of continuous occupation. 11:00 to 12:30 p.m., Saturdays, to August 27, meets in the English Camp barracks

Life During the Joint Military Occupation on San Juan Island — Park rangers and volunteers recreate military and civilian life during the island’s early pioneer period. Activities may include blacksmithing, coopering, weaving, needlework and exhibitions of military equipment and skills. 12:00 to 3:00 p.m., Saturdays, to August 27, English Camp parade ground. On June 18, this program will take place at the San Juan Historical Museum instead of English Camp. Preserving the Prairie Walk — The prairie at American Camp is onr of the last natural prairies in the region. Join Park Ranger M Karraker to learn about its past and discover how you can play a role in its future. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays, to August 27, meets at American Camp Visitor Center A Bird Walk through the Prairie — The prairie at American Camp attracts a variety of birds throughout the summer, and offers a prime birding and hiking experience. Join park staff in enjoying this wonderful island

resource. 10 a.m. to Noon, Sundays, to August 27, meets at American Camp Visitor Center The Habitats of Jakle’s Lagoon and Mount Finlayson — So much variety in so little distance! Accompany a staff member along this three-mile loop that passes through salt water lagoons, coniferous forests, and upland prairie. 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Sundays, to August 27, meets in the Jakle’s Lagoon Trail head Parking Area Contra Dancing at English Camp — Folk singer Michael Cohen and local folk musicians present an evening of trditional folk tunes and dancing for those wishing a turn on the floor. Cohen plays regularly at the San juan Farmer’s Market. He worked with the Smithsonian in cataloging American folk music. 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays, June 20 to August 15, meets in the English Camp barracks

of 650-foot Young Hill, where the summit offers splendid views of the Juan de Fuca and Haro straits, Vancouver Island and the Olympic Mountains. See the Royal Marine Cemetery and the Garry oak woodland. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. , Wednesdays, to August 27, meets at the North end of the English Camp parking area Hike with Mike (Fraser Homestead) — Many of today’s island families are descended from U.S. Army soldiers. Join Park Historian Mike Vouri and learn more about how American Camp’s “frontiersmen in blue” played a key role in pioneering Euro-American settlement on San Juan Island. Vouri also will discuss how agriculture operations changed the character of island landscapes, especially on the American Camp prairie. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. , Fridays, to August 27, meets at American Camp Visitor Center

Hike with Mike (Young Hill/Royal Marine Cemetery) — Serious hikers will enjoy this 2-hour journey, led by Park Historian Mike Vouri up the slope

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2011 Park and Trails Guide,

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6. 2011 Park and Trails Guide

Outpost of Empire: The Royal Marines and the Joint Occupation of San Juan Island, by Mike Vouri. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska, by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon. Wild Plants of the San Juan Islands, by Scott Atkinson & Fred Sharpe. The Butterflies of Cascadia: A Field Guide to All the Species of Washington, Oregon and Surrounding Territories, by Robert Michael Pyle. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast, an Illustrated Guide to Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, by Eugene N. Kozloff. Birds of the Puget Sound Region, by Morse, Averza and Opperman. Birding in the San Juan Islands, by Mark G. Lewis and Fred A. Sharpe. The Audubon Society Field Guide to the Bald Eagle. American Cetacean Society Field Guide to the Orca. The Restless Northwest: A Geological Study, by Hill Williams. Guide to Native Wildflowers of American Camp, by Julia Vouri.

Roa d y

The Pig War: Standoff at Griffin Bay, by Mike Vouri.

Bell Point


Images of America: The Pig War, by Mike Vouri.

Westcott Bay

Bell Point Trail

Roche Harbor Trail


Friday Harbor, by Mike and Julia Vouri.

Young Hill trail—Hike this fairly steep trail up 650 feet to the top of Young Hill for a panoramic view of the island group’s northwest corner, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Novice walkers should take care to pace themselves as most of the gain is in the last half mile. An exhibit panel identifying geographic features is mounted on an overlook about twothirds of the way up the hill. (1.25 mi.)


Both American Camp and English Camp (summer only) have visitor centers with maps, books, gifts and more. The bookstore at American Camp is more comprehensive. Here are some of the more popular guides and books.

English Camp Trails


National Park Visitor Center Resources

Garrison Bay


Young Hill Trail

BarStorehouse Blockhouse Formal Garden

Guss Island

Officers’ Quarters Site


Young Hill 650 ft (198m)

Royal Marine cemetery—The Royal Marine cemetery is about Royal Marine Cemetery 50 yards off the Young Hill trail, about a third of the way up. Five Royal Marines are interred, To Friday Harbor and a memorial stone is in place for two other marines. A stone also commemorates a civilian who was accidentally shot by his brother while hunting. Bell Point trail—Walk the mile-long, fairly level trail to Bell Point for a view of Westcott Bay. If you like to harvest shellfish, check with the park ranger at the visitor center for information on licensing, locations, daily limits and red tide warnings. (2-mi. loop) Self-guided walk—Relive the Royal Marine era along the trail that starts at the base of the main entrance trail. Pick up a guide in the box next to the bulletin board and follow the numbered posts. When finished, please return it to the box provided at the end of the walk. Or, you can purchase a guide for a $1 donation at the visitor center. (.25 mi.) English formal garden—The flower and herb garden—originally known as the strawberry garden—lies between the officers’ quarters site and the parade ground. The camp’s second commanding officer had it built for his family to remind them of home. Roche Harbor trail—Follow in the footsteps of the Royal Marines to Roche Harbor Village. Ask a park ranger or volunteer for directions to the trail connection completed in 2010 in partnership with the San Juan Island Trails Committee. (3 mi.)




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2011 PARK AND TRAILS GUIDE .7 American Camp Trails To Friday Harbor

Rosler Road

Griffin Bay Frazer Homestead Trail

P American Camp Visitor Center

Officers’ Quarters


Self-guided History Walk Laundress Quarters

P ad Ro int Po ttle Ca Pickett’s Lane

Prairie Walks

Grandma’s Cove

Lagoon and Selfguided Walk Trail Third Lagoon

Jakle’s Lagoon


Belle Vue Farm Site

Old Town Lagoon


Mt. Finlayson 290 ft. (88m)

Mt. Finlayson Trail

Park Boundary

DNR Cattle Point Interpretive Area

South Beach Bluff Trails

Cattle Point Light

Strait of Juan de Fuca

Trails range from leisurely to strenuous. Ask a park ranger or volunteer about the best hike for you.

Self-guided history walk—Relive the Pig War along the trail that starts and finishes in the visitor center parking area. Pick up guides in boxes at the trailhead and follow the numbers. (1.25 mi.) Frazer Homestead trail—Trace the route of the old Military Road from the Visitor Center north to Rosler Road on this joint project of the park, the San Juan Island Trails Committee and the San Juan County Land Bank. Highlights include a pine forest. (1.7 mi.) Prairie walks—Primitive tracks crisscross the prairie and trace the bluff from Grandma’s Cove to South Beach and back to the visitor center via the Redoubt. A great place for viewing Orca whales, the Redoubt also offers a regional perspective with views of Mt. Baker, the Olympic and Cascade ranges, Vancouver Island, and on an exceptionally clear day, even Mt. Rainier, 130 miles up Admiralty Inlet. Sweeping views are also plentiful from the Cattle Point and Redoubt roads and Pickett’s Lane. Walkers are advised to use caution as rabbits have excavated warrens throughout the prairie. (2.5 mi.) Grandma’s Cove—Stroll downhill to one of the finest beaches on the island. Use caution when descending the bluff. (.25 mi.)

Mt. Finlayson trail—Hike along the grassy ridge to the top of Mt. Finlayson where you can see Mt. Baker to the east, Mt. Rainier to the southeast, the Olympic Mountains to the south and Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the west. Come back the way you came, or, for a change of scenery, go through Jakle’s Lagoon. (3-mi. loop) Jakle’s Lagoon trail—Pick up a self-guided walk booklet, hike along the old roadbed and enjoy the quiet of a Douglas fir, cedar and hemlock canopy. This wooded area shelters deer and many types of birds, and is one of the most popular hiking areas on San Juan Island. (1.5 mi.) South Beach—Walk along the longest public beach on the island. This is a great place to see an abundance of shorebirds, and in spring and summer, Orca whales. The beach is mainly gravel, so shoes or sandals are advised. Fires are limited to grates in the picnic areas. (2 mi.)

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8. 2011 Park and Trails Guide Existing Trails & Proposed Priority Trail Corridors (2007 - 2012)

1. Pipeline Trail 2. Friday Harbor American Camp 3. Friday Harbor - Jackson’s Beach 4. Roche Harbor - English Camp 5. San Juan County Park - Lime Kiln State Park 6. Cross-Island Trail 7. Friday Harbor Walking Trail (Ballfields Trail) 8. Nature Trail(s) - Site yet to be determined


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2011 Park and Trails Guide,

Take a walk on the wild side The only drawback to hiking on the west side of San Juan Island is having to decide which trail to take. There’s not enough time in one day to do it all, so set aside two or three. Mount Finlayson/South Beach: Only 295 feet tall, Mount Finlayson is generously named, but it towers over the southern tip of the island just the same. It is one of the most popular hiking areas for locals and visitors alike. Take the ridge line trail and the Olympic Mountains are seemingly an arm’s length away, and the views over Haro and Juan de Fuca straits, and Vancouver Island to the west, are unmatched. At the summit, a prairie of golden grass tumbles down the hill and to the beach below. On the north side, a trail drops down from the parking lot into a dense, cool forest of fir trees, snakes by a pair of saltwater lagoons, and climbs to the top of the ridge where the two trails intersect. Lime Kiln State Park/Lime Kiln Preserve: Two are indeed better than one when it comes

hiking in the middle of the island’s west side. The state park and the county-owned nature preserve together host a network of hiking trails that stretch from the shoreline to a series of rugged and rocky cliffs that overlook Haro Strait and onto Vancouver Island and beyond. The park, home to a historic lighthouse and a killer whale-watch park, and the nature preserve, the site of a former limestone mining operation, feature more than 210 acres of assorted natural habitat and varied terrain combined. (The footing on some of the preserve’s bluffs can be unstable, so heed the warning signs). Mount Young: You’ll stroll beneath a forested canopy, by an 1860s British Marine cemetery, which dates to the joint military occupation of the island, and along open meadows dotted by Garry oaks on a half-mile hike to the summit. The final leg is steep, but the view from the 650-foot summit, which spans the entire south end of the island and beyond, is unmatched. Roche Harbor Highlands/ Mitchell Hill: At the north end of the island, the Highlands offer more than 10 miles of hiking

trails, including a marquee 3-mile loop around a large freshwater reservoir. Trails lead to Mitchell Hill, a 386-acre state recreation site. It takes about an hour to circle the reservoir at a steady pace and chances are you’ll see a bald eagle, a blue heron or a gaggle of ducks along the way. The reservoir is a rest-stop of migrating trumpeter swans in the winter. Mitchell Hill features a variety of terrain, some rugged, some not, dense forests and a seasonal stream that runs along its southern border. Trails from Mitchell Hill also connect to the back side of Mount Young and connect to the Highlands as well. If you enjoy the feeling of being lost in the woods, even though you know you’re not, this is the place to be.

Hiking resources online: land_bank

Anemone Clone War rages in San Juan Island Waters Dr. Lisbeth Francis

While British and Americans settled their dispute peacefully here in 1872, a more primitive territorial battle continues to this day on the wave-swept rocks at Grandma’s Cove, with boundaries drawn between clones rather than nations. Dr. Lisbeth Francis (W.W.U. Shannon Point Marine Center and U.W. Friday Harbor Labs) found that as the common local sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima grows, it divides and spreads to monopolize and defend a territory. Look closely in the tide pools and you may find subtle differences in the color markings of different clones.

Those in a single cluster are from the same original founder and look alike: they all have the same genes. But whereas clonemates live peaceably together, they vigorously attack outsiders. Look for small, gaps (less than an inch wide) between the groups, and for the specialized weaponry - white spheres (acrorhagi) below the feeding tentacles. Witnessing these battles requires patience: warrior anemones attack very slowly, stretching, bending and rubbing their neighbors with their acrorhagi to apply tiny, white scraps of tissue full of poisonous stinging capsules.

Warrior anemones at Grandma’s Cove: the clonal aggregating anemone, Anthopleura elegantissima, showing the round, white acrorhagi used to attack anemones from different clones.

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2011 PARK AND TRAILS GUIDE .9 Sunny days, starry nights and the waterfront at your fingertips: camping on San Juan Island By Scott Rasmussen

With everyone trying to save a buck or two during uncertain economic times like these, demand for campsites in the San Juans may be greater than ever before. On the other hand, it could turn out to be the year that the waterfront campsite you’ve been pining for is, at last, available. Time will tell. Some things, however, you can bank on. Snow-capped mountains on the horizon. Bonfires on the beach. Miles of hiking trails right outside your tent flap. And more sun-splashed days — 247 a year, on average — than you can shake a marshmallow-roasting stick at. Whether rustic or plush, public or private, nearly all of the islands’ campgrounds — about 15 in all — are located near the shoreline. Few are more than a minute’s drive from a local hamlet, town or village where supplies, entertainment or a restaurant can be easily found. San Juan County Park: This 12-acre waterfront park features 20 camp-

sites, moorage and a boat ramp for easy access into Haro Strait. The comings and goings of the killer whales that frequent the waterways of the San Juans are a familiar sight from the shore of this popular campground and recreation site. And the sunsets are beyond compare. Group sites must be reserved in advance in summer months; sorry, no showers, but party ice is available. Call 360-378-2992 or visit Lakedale Resort, 360-378-4762, www.lakedale. com. With 195 campsites, 19 of which accommodate RVs, Lakedale is At Lakedale Resort, you can paddle a boat, row a canoe, or toss in a fishing line. the primary camping attraction on San Juan Island. The 82-acre water. resort has three trout-stocked lakes, Mitchell Bay Landing, 360-378beach volleyball, canoes, paddle boats, 9296 Snug Harbor Marina Resort, 360showers, several swim areas and a Camp sites for tents, RVs, vehicles 378-4762,, Forgeneral store, which offers groceries, est campsites, boat launch, kayaking Porta-Potties with handwashing stacamping supplies, fishing equipment and whale watching tours and marina. tions, potable bottled water and well and bait.

Marine Parks About a dozen outer islands, such as Stuart and Sucia, offer campsites on a first-come, first-serve basis, and which generally fill up fast. Jones and Sucia islands have group campsites which can be reserved. Patos, the northernmost island in San Juan County, has a historic lighthouse built in 1893. Blind Bay Marine Park, on Blind Island between Orcas and Shaw, has four campsites which are coveted by kayakers; it also has four mooring buoys. Turn Island, located near San Juan Island’s Turn Point, is popular with kayakers and, like several marine parks, is a federallydesignated wildlife refuge. Marine parks with campsites and that are not part of the San Juans wildlife refuge: Clark Island, east of Orcas Island; James Island, west of Decatur Island; and Posey and Stuart, north of San Juan. Potable water is rarely available at the marine parks, so bring your own. Call 360-378-2044 or 360-376-2073, or visit

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10. 2011 Park and Trails Guide Exploring the history of the San Juan Islands is rather easy to do. Images of the human history that set the stage for what the islands are today are tightly woven into the landscape and still fresh at hand. Depending on what bend in the road or turn of the hiking trail you take, you just might stumble upon a rustic-looking barn that’s nearly 100 years old and that served as the hub of a flourishing commercial enterprise at the turn of the century, when the San Juans were known as the “Bread Basket” of the Puget Sound region and agricultural production was at its zenith. A batch of cherries harvested in the islands earned top prize in its category back in 1909 when Seattle played host to the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, a four-month-long extravaganza that showcased the era’s leading inventions and innovations, and agricultural products as well, and that drew 3.7 million people from across the globe. Or, you may wander into a souvenir shop that was once home to a pioneer family that scratched out a living by

netting fish from the local waters and who’s half-dozen children attended class in a one-room schoolhouse that’s been renovated, given a new lease on life and still stands at its original location about a mile or so down the road. The names of numerous pioneer families are attached to many of the islands’ streets and gravel roads. You’ll be tracing the steps of the islands’ earliest inhabitants as you stroll the rocky shorelines or comb the sandy beaches of the San Juan archipelago. Human history began with the comings and goings of various Coast Salish tribes and the eventual formation of villages by several of them. Salishspeaking people, chiefly the Lummi, Samish and Swinomish, fished, hunted, traded and maintained a large presence in the islands until the late 1880s. In fact, no fewer than 10 Lummi villages were scattered across the islands at one time. The main village was situated in what is now the core of Eastsound Village on Orcas Island and boasted three longhouses back in the

Pig War officers went off to the fight


any of the key American players in the Pig War incident, on and off island, went on to serve in the American Civil War in both Confederate and Union ranks. For some the war brought fame, promotion and long careers. For others, it brought death, destrucFrom left; George Pickett and James Alden were among tion, lasting heartache several Pig War officers who went on to play key roles in and legend. the American Civil War. Alden’s moment came when he American Camp led the Union line into Mobile Bay in August 1864. remained an active U.S. Army installation garriPig War crisis, as the Active served soned entirely by regular Army soldiers as a messenger ship throughout the who rotated between Northwest incident. The senior Alden was one of Washington and the battlefields of the the U.S. Navy’s most stalwart captains, East. The enlisted soldiers probably commanding three different warships counted their blessings to be away on blockade duty during the Civil War. from the fray, while the officers chafed As commander of the steam sloop for glory and the promotions that were U.S.S. Brooklyn, he led Admiral David certain to follow. Here are our top Farragut’s battle line into Mobile Bay. four: When Alden stopped under heavy Born January 28, 1825, George fire to locate and clear mines, one of E. Pickett was commander of Camp which had sunk the ironclad U.S.S. Pickett, San Juan Island, from July 27, Tecumseh with all hands (save two), 1859 to August 10, 1859; and again Farragut, aboard the U.S.S.Hartford, from April 28, 1860 to July 25, 1861. is said to have shouted, “Damn the Promoted to brigadier general in Janutorpedoes, four bells (or full speed ary 1862, he served in the Seven Days ahead)!” campaign and was seriously wounded Winfield Scott was born June 13, dent of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins 1786 near Petersburg, Virginia. He of Mayflower fame. As commander was known as the “Great Pacificator” of the U.S. Coast Survey Ship Active, because twice he helped settle border Alden was directly involved in the disputes with the British—at San Juan

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day. Names like Smallpox Bay, Skull Island and Massacre Bay are chilling, yet intriguing at the same time, reminders of the cultural clash that occurred generations ago. Farming, fishing and logging were the mainstays of the islands’ pioneer economy, but the islands’ fractured topography also lured a long line of bootleggers, smugglers and disenchanted sailors who decided to jump ship, and who took advantage of the archipelago’s many channels, hidden coves and complicated web of islands to play cat-and-mouse with the authorities of the day. You can actually reach out and touch the vestiges of what was arguably the most pivotal point in the history of the

San Juans, the joint occupation by U.S. and British troops of San Juan Island, from 1859 to 1872. The peaceful settlement of the two nations’ international boundary dispute, commonly referred to as the Pig War, stands as a testament to the power of diplomacy and a defining epoch in island history. Had Kaiser Wilhelm I, who mediated the settlement, sided with the British, the San Juans would belong to Canada. The National Parks Service commemorates the peaceful settlement by keeping much of both military encampments in tact at two separate historic parks, American Camp at San Juan Island’s south end, and English Camp to the north.

Historic Parks and Museums of San Juan American Legion Museum, American Legion Post 163, First Street, Friday Harbor. 360‑378‑5705, See artifacts, memorabilia, photographs and uniforms from wars in which islanders served, including World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Downtown Friday Harbor. Memorial Park, at the foot of Spring and Front streets, dates to the 1890s; the monument was dedicated in 1921 to honor local sailors and soldiers who died in World War I. A walking tour brochure takes you to 26 historic homes and buildings; pick up a brochure at Friday Harbor Town Hall, the San Juan Historical Museum and local bookstores. San Juan Aviation Museum, in the Roy Franklin Terminal at Friday Harbor Airport. Exhibits trace the aviation history of the island — from the days when local aviation pioneer Roy Franklin would buzz the cows to clear a landing spot in San Juan Valley, to the development of one of the busiest airports in the state. Lime Kiln Lighthouse on the island’s west side was built in 1917. It is a summer station for killer whale researchers. Roche Harbor Village, 360‑378‑2155, The Hotel de Haro was built in 1886 to house customers of

Island and in the 1830s near the town of Aroostook, Maine. As commanding general of the U.S. Army at the start the Civil War, the 74-year-old Scott knew that the war would be long and bloody and planned accordingly. He drafted a strategy that would give the North strategic advantage by occupying or blockading areas critical to the survival of the Confederacy as an independent nation. Scott finally resigned in November 1861 with Maj. Gen. George McClellan succeeding him as commanding general of all Union forces. Three bloody years would pass before the Union Army finally realized Scott’s vision under Ulysses S. Grant, a pre-war friend of George Pickett.

the Tacoma and Roche Harbor Lime Co. Ask for a walking tour brochure and visit the old quarries, the mausoleum, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel, built in 1889. San Juan Historical Museum, 405 Price St., Friday Harbor. 360‑378‑3949, Visit an 1894 farmhouse, the original county jail, a pioneer log cabin and other heritage buildings. Feel free to picnic on the grounds. San Juan National Historical Park, 360‑378‑2902, Buildings at American Camp, on the southern end of the island, and English Camp, on the northern end at Garrison Bay, date to 1859-60 and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These camps are where U.S. and British troops were stationed during the territory dispute of 1859-1872. Valley Church in San Juan Valley was built in 1892. The cemetery has sweeping views of the valley. The Whale Museum, 62 First St., Friday Harbor, 360‑378‑4710, The museum is located in a restored 1892 Oddfellows Lodge. The museum is devoted to the study of marine mammals, particularly the endangered pods of local killer whales.

James W. Forsyth was born August 8, 1835 in Maumee, Ohio. He was second, then first lieutenant of Company D, 9th Infantry from December 1856 to July 1861. During the war, Forsyth served on the staff of Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, where he became closely acquainted with a brash young officer named George A. Custer. Forsyth remained in the army and closely aligned with Sheridan following the war. As a full colonel, he commanded the Seventh Cavalry (Custer’s regiment) at Wounded Knee Creek on December 29, 1890. He survived an attempted censure from Brig. Gen. Nelson Miles, his immediate superior, and retired a major general.

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2011 Park and Trails Guide .11 The San Juans are part of a national wildlife refuge By Scott Rasmussen

roost at the top of Mount The San Juan Islands are part of a desConstitution on Orcas ignated national wildlife refuge consistIsland. Keep a close watch ing of 83 rocks, reefs, grassy islands, and on your munchables should forested islands. you decide to picnic there. This refuge, totaling almost 450 acres, Ravens notwithstanding, was established to protect colonies it’s an excellent location. of nesting seabirds, including doubleBlack-tailed deer are crested cormorants, pelagic cormorants ubiquitous throughout and pigeon guillemots. They also attract the islands and, though a variety of other wildlife, including bald scrawnier than their maineagles and harbor seals. land cousins, stroll boldly The San Juans also has the nation’s through neighborhoods only park set aside for land-based whale in search of tasty snacks watching: at Lime Kiln State Park on San of flowers or greenery. Juan Island. They’re cute but considered When you observe wildlife in the San a nuisance by many island Juans, you are watching something very gardeners. special. Ferrets and raccoons The pods of killer whales that spend maintain modest but much of the year here are endangered healthy populations on and protected by federal law. The popuislands where hobby farms lation was 99 in 1995, then dropped to and agriculture-based 79 in 2001. It climbed to 80 in 2002, 83 enterprises flourish. On San in 2003, 85 in 2004 and, in 2005, 89. Juan, foxes hunt and play Julie Corey Photo It has seesawed the past few years and on the American Camp The Southern resident pods of killer whales, or orcas, are endangered. Local, state and federal is now 86, according to the Center for prairie. laws are designed to help their population rebound. Whale Research. Before you jump onThe National Marine Fisheries Services board the ferry, make sure believes pollution, availability of prey and to keep the binoculars concentration of bald eagles in Washbecause of a similar dark dorsal fin. effects from vessels and sound are major and camera nearby. There’s an amazing ington state. The islands also are home Steller sea lions, which can weigh more threats to the whales’ health. amount of wildlife in the San Juans and to barn owls, golden eagles, osprey, than 2,000 pounds, are seasonal visitors. Few experiences compare with the with a little patience and a sharp eye peregrine falcons and turkey vultures. The Minke whales also frequent these waters. sight of a killer whale emerging from the you’re sure to capture more than a few great blue heron, a hypnotic and meAlong the shoreline and in the intedeep or the sensation of its massive preslasting memories. thodical hunter, is a common sight on the rior, the islands host a variety of species ence when it breaks the water’s surface. (Wildlife watching tip: Wildlife are exislands’ wetlands, shores and tidal flats. which are, compared to their mainland The local killer whales are icons of the actly that — wild. Watch from a distance. Beyond the shore, you may see harbor counterparts, seemingly more at ease in Pacific Northwest. Don’t feed them. seals, sea otters and Dall’s porpoises, human company. A crafty gang of the The San Juans are home to the highest which often are mistaken for killer whales largest ravens you’ve ever seen rule the

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Exploring the Salish Sea San Juan Island National Historical Park sits in the heart of the Salish Sea, a region named for its first stewards, the Strait Coast Salish peoples. One of the most diverse—and fragile—marine ecosystems in the world, it includes Puget Sound, Georgia Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Here is a sampling of marine life that may be seen from the park’s shorelines.

Orca whales

As you walk the bluffs of American Camp between May and September, listen for the soft spouting of Washington’s state marine mammal—the Orca whale, aka Killer whale. You’ll see more than one. They travel in large family groups, or pods, that often stay together for life and have been observed breathing in unison. These “whales” are actually dolphins that propel themselves through the water at great speeds, and true to their acrobatic status, they breach, lobtail, flipper-slap and spy-hop. If you’re lucky, you may spot the dorsal fin of one of the males. At six feet, they are the tallest in the sea.

Island Transportation San Juan Transit & Tours: 378-8887 or (800) 8878387 Regularly scheduled routes north to English Camp during the summer season with a reservation-only schedule to American Camp three times daily. Guided tours available.


Hike to the bluffs overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca at American Camp and look down. You may see one or more harbor seals sunning on the rocks or lolling in the water, heads up like periscopes. If so, please keep your distance. As marine mammals, pinnipeds are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, which forbids “hunting, killing, capture, and/or harassment of any marine mammal; or, the attempt at such.” The law

Dall’s porpoises

It’s easy to mistake a Dall’s porpoise for an Orca whale. The markings are similar, but they’re only about six feet long and have a much smaller dorsal fin. Look for their telltale rooster-tail spray as they slice through the water at up to 30 knots and play “chicken”before the bows of boats.

Minke whales

Minke whales regularly swim past South Beach at American Camp, but their dark, slim bodies, swift surfacing movements and nearly invisible blows can be overlooked in all but the calmest sea. The smallest of baleen whales at 25 to 35 feet, they approach smaller boats out of curiosity.

Classic Cab Company 378-7519 Island Bicycles: 378-4941 Bicycles. Susie’s Mopeds: 378-5244 or (800) 532-0087 Mopeds and automobiles.

Bob’s Taxi & Tours: 378-6777 or (877) 4-TAXIBOB Service to all points on request.

SJI Marine Center: 3786202 Electric boats, runabouts, kayaks, fishing kayaks and high-speed water taxies.

Bob’s Taxi & Tours: 378-6777 or (877) 4-TAXIBOB Service to all points on request.

M&W Rental Cars: 378-2794 or (800) 3236037 Automobile rentals and sales.

San Juan Taxi: 378-3550 or 378-TAXI

Island Tours/Taxi: 378-4453

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A harbor seal pup awaits the return of its mother on South Beach in 2009. Please do not approach within 200 yards of these animals.

such as molting elephant seals and California sea lions have appeared, with the former remaining for weeks at a time. To ensure the safety and wellbeing of pinnipeds and humans alike, the park may close a section of beach until the animals depart. However, the accepted practice— onshore, in a kayak or boat—is also pertains to remain 200 yards away from to dogs, and is one haul-out sites. of many “If even one seal acreasons why they must be knowledges your presleashed at all times in the park. ence by lifting its head Harbor seals are the most comand looking at you, you’re monly observed marine mammals too close,” said Amy Traxler of the in the park, as females often leave San Juan County Marine Mammal their young on the beaches for up Stranding Network. “Slowly back up to 24 hours while out foraging for and leave the area.“ Next contact food. Visitors may approach the the visitor center or call the Strandpups believing they are in danger, ing Network at 1-800-562-8832. which causes stress and dehydration For more information: and frightens off the mother. http://www.whalemuseum. In recent years, other pinnipeds org/programs/mmsn

Transit, Tours & Charters 378-8887

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