San Juan historical park grows, adds beach access

  • By Sharon Wootton, Columnist
  • Friday, March 22, 2013 11:50am
  • Life

A valuable piece of property has been added to a historical park best known for its Pig War.

Thirty-four aces, including 2,500 feet of shoreline on Westcott Bay are now part of the English Camp unit of the San Juan Island Historical Park.

The property stands out for several reasons, said Jerald Weaver, chief of integrated resources for San Juan Island National Historical Park:

  • It protects the water quality of Doe Creek, which enters Westcott Bay.
  • It protects the boundaries of the Pig War.
  • The additional shoreline is available to the public on an island with limited public access to the shoreline.
  • The parcel is within the original military English camp.
  • It has evidence of significant Native American habitation.

“It’s a beautiful site,” Weaver said.

“(English Camp) focuses on the cultural history and protecting scenic qualities,” he said, and the addition offers new opportunities to the public.

The property, with upland forests and wetland habitats, was part of the Westcott Bay Sea Farm, owned and managed by the Webb family.

The Conservation Fund and the National Park Service designed a plan to protect the property while enabling the present and future owners of the historic sea farm to continue using a portion of the land and tidelands for oyster farming.

The site was acquired, in part, with a federal land-protection program and receives a percentage of proceeds from offshore oil and gas royalties.

Park officials want to open the 34 acres later this year.

The park was established in 1966 to commemorate the peaceful resolution of the San Juan Boundary Dispute, or Pig War, between Great Britain and the United States.

Military forces from both nations jointly (and peacefully) occupied the island from 1860 to 1872 following a crisis over a slain pig in 1859.

For more about San Juan Island National Historical Park see www.nps.gov/saj.

Wildlife: It’s a very busy wildlife world this month. While there may be action in your backyard, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s refuges (wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas) are even busier.

To combine wildlife watching and education, check out these two festivals:

Olympic Bird Fest (April 5 to 7), Sequim. Events include birding cruises, owl prowls, wildlife photography workshops and educational programs of the Dungeness River Audubon Center. Go to www.olympicbirdfest.org.

Othello Sandhill Crane Festival (April 5 to 7). Celebrate the spectacular spring migration and feeding at a major resting stopover.

Details of scheduled crane viewing and other wildlife tours, talks and events, are at www.othellosandhillcranefestival.org.

It must be spring: Stevens Pass Ski Area spring sale has begun. Season passes purchased now are good for the rest of this season and all of next. The passes are on sale through May 5.

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-9964 or www.songandword.com.

More in Life

Sheet-pan suppers: Make an entire meal on one sheet pan

Entire cookbooks are devoted to the trend, along with the inevitable blogs.

Rose Johnson, 80, is a member of the Everett Area Newcomers Club, which meets and dines once a month at Sno-Isle Tech’s student-run Le Bistro Restaurant. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Old-timers can join the Everett Area Newcomers Club

Everett group welcomes women for friendship and fun at multiple meet-ups.

From Jasper to Banff: A Canadian adventure in an RV

Jennifer Bardsley plans to take her family on two-week roadtrip through Canada in a tent trailer.

Pureed soup is a smooth way to get your vegetables in winter

Coconut curry carrot soup is a fulfilling way to start a meal or to serve alongside a sandwich.

Skippers share sea stories at Marysville speaker series

The Bellingham couple will talk about charter cruises on the historic wooden vessel they rebuilt.

Hearty chickpea, pasta soup warms up wintry nights

Serve this ancient Roman dish with a warm cauliflower salad, which also is from Italy.

Expo in Stanwood can help you get ready for the country

The Country Living Expo and Cattlemen’s Winterschool is set for Jan. 27 at the high school.

Anxiety, or chronic worry, is a growing problem

Paul Schoenfeld shares four approaches to help keep your anxiety from getting out of control.

Find many of our region’s winter birds in the Skagit Valley

If you love birding, also check out these bird-related festivals, lectures and other events.

Most Read