Thursday, May 24, 2018

Yellow Island

There are a lot of islands in the San Juans. Some are fairly large, like Orcas and San Juan, and are served by regular public ferries. Others are smaller and require residents to find their own passage - but this keeps them a bit more exclusive. And some are really small - sometimes just enough room for a big house, a boat house, and a few trees.

Fortunately, many of the islands are undeveloped. Some are state parks, some are part of a National Wildlife Refuge, and this one is owned by The Nature Conservancy. Technically, Yellow Island isn't really undeveloped, as there is an old cabin and an outbuilding or two that date back to the previous owners (the cabin is now used by the steward).

Periodic burning helps maintain the natural open meadows and the abundant wildflowers. During this visit, there was purple-blue camas, red-orange paintbrush, yellow buttercup, and a host of other stuff from serviceberry to sedums.

I think my favorite parts were the two little gravel tombolos at each end and the park-like setting, which meant that you could almost always see the water and other islands in the distance.

Yellow Island is one of The Nature Conservancy's longest held acquisitions in Washington. They were offering tours and I thought it would it be great chance to visit, and get a nice boat trip, too. M was busy grading papers, so I offered my extra spot to J, who despite her TNC connection, hadn't made it up here yet.

Phil, the steward for the last 18 years, is wrapping up his tenure and his replacement has just come on -- it was nice being there during this turnover.

TNC: Yellow Island
BLOG: Island Time on Yellow

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