Discovering Our Island History

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By Mike, August 22, 2015 2:48 PM

The public is invited to attend a presentation by the 2015 Burke Museum Roche Harbor Homestead Field School participants on Monday, August 24th, from 10:00 to 11:00 AM at the San Juan Island Library meeting room.

For the past week, 12 visiting archeology students have been investigating and cataloging the historic Smith homestead in an area previously known as Sam’s Woods in the vicinity of English Camp inside the Roche Harbor watershed. The purpose of the Field School is to provide actual hands-on experiences in exploration and cataloging techniques for students wishing to further their careers in archeology. The students will present their findings on the history of this homestead site.

The Field School was a community collaboration led by Dr. Amanda Taylor of Pacific Lutheran University and Archaeologist Jack Johnson with the Burke Museum, assisted by local resident Phoebe Daniels. Sponsors included Roche Harbor Resort, Roche Harbor Water Systems, and Saltchuk who now own the homestead property and value its conservation.

Know Your Island Walk, Sat. Aug. 22

By Mike, August 19, 2015 10:44 AM

Know Your Island Walk, Sat. Aug. 22, 2015, 1-4pm:  Westcott Bay Trail:  Meet Lee Taylor, superintendent of San Juan Island National Historical Park, and learn about this recent addition to the park.  Meet and park at English Camp in the main parking lot.  Distance; 3 mi. Round Trip.  Rating; moderate on wooded path.  No dogs.  Plan to rest at the Westcott Bay house for refreshments and celebrating trails.

Mount Grant matching gift

By Mike, July 29, 2015 3:34 PM

The San Juan Preservation Trust is attempting to raise $2,700,000 to purchase Mount Grant for public use and enjoyment. The Land Bank has already contributed $1,500,000 toward this purchase. The extraordinary property is open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians every day from dawn to dusk. In addition, the road to the top is open to vehicles every Sunday through July and August from 9 am to 7 pm, so that those who can’t or don’t care to walk it may still enjoy the fabulous views in all directions.

You can contribute to this purchase. Every gift through July and August up to $500,000 will be matched (doubled!) by an anonymous donor. Check it out at


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By Mike, July 20, 2015 6:45 PM

Meet Mike Buettell, volunteer trail builder and mountain climber extraordinaire, to walk new trails in the Roche Harbor system.  Explore Tim’s Trail to the new Pollywog Pond, the Bent Cedar Trail and Sophie’s Romp.  Meet and park at the intersection of Roche Harbor and West Valley Roads. Distance; 3.5 mi.  Rating: Moderate on gentle trails with 200′ elevation gain.  Dogs on leashes okay.

New Trail Signs on Mitchell Hill

By Mike, July 1, 2015 10:15 PM

Mitchell Hill has traditionally been the place where even experienced hikers got lost — and calling 911 on your cell phone, if it worked at all, might connect you with Victoria. After the National Park Service acquired the land a few years ago, superintendent Lee Taylor determined to install unobtrusive signs to end this problem. On Wednesday of this week, after a lot of planning and public input — and approval of the signpost locations by a Park Service anthropologist — a group of volunteers helped Park staff install the new signs. Some 30 people from Spring Street International School, the San Juan Island Trails Committee, and the general public worked from 10 until 1 and then shared a meal laid out on long tables set up under the trees.

Signs now indicate two loop trails. One, marked with green arrow signs, is shorter and easier. The longer, steeper loop is indicated with blue arrow signs. Intersections are marked — if you come to an unmarked intersection, just bear on straight ahead. And every directional sign includes an arrow pointing back to the Horse Trail Road parking area. There are posted maps at most entrances to the property, though not one as yet at the main entrance and parking area on Horse Trail Road. But there is a map box there with printed maps provided by the Trails Committee (and paid for by Roche Harbor Resort).  You may also download a printable version  here. With one exception, all the trails are open to hikers, bicyclists, and horse riders. The general rule is: Bikers yield to everyone, and everyone yields to horses. But the pattern so far has seemed to be that everyone defers to everyone else. Only the Cedar Grove Trail, beginning near the entrance, is now limited to hikers only


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By Mike, June 10, 2015 8:44 PM

From Trees to Tap: The Workings of a Working Watershed. Meet caretaker Will Hamilton and water systems manager Chad Hoffman for an educational tour of the Briggs Lake area (known as the Roche Harbor Watershed) which is a private forest providing water, wood, wildlife and recreation which is enjoyed by many islanders. Learn what makes this watershed and water treatment plant property so unique. Take the watershed tour, a distance of 1.25mi. and then walk .75 mi. or drive to a tour of the water treatment plant where liquid refreshments will be served. Terrain: grassy trails, level to downhill (no uphill). Rating: gentle. Dogs on leashes okay. Rain or shine. Meet and park at corner of Roche Harbor and West Valley Roads. Limited parking; please carpool if possible.

Poetry Walks

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By Mike, April 3, 2015 12:18 PM

In celebration of its 25th Anniversary, as well as National Poetry Month, The Land Bank, with help from its partners, SJI Library, SJI National Historical Park, SJI Trails Committee, Lime Kiln Point State Park, and Friends of Lime Kiln Society (F.O.L.K.S.), have placed nature-inspired poems, submitted and selected by Islanders, along trails winding through some of San Juan Island’s most inspiring natural settings – Limekiln and Deadman Bay Preserves, Lime Kiln Point State Park, and American Camp.
The Poetry Trails are yours to explore during regular Park and Preserve hours throughout the month of April.  Included in our month long celebration is a series of three Saturday guided poetry walks.  Poetry Walks Flyer

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