Jones Island Marine Park is truly one of the gems of the San Juan Islands. We were thrilled to motor up and find the dock wide open on Thursday morning so we gleefully put in our moorage registration for the maximum stay of three night.
This popular 188 acre island is accessible only by boat and is dedicated to campers, kayakers and boaters. It even has ADA access and camping sites – how’s that for cool!!! Like many of the state parks in the San Juans the island has composting toilets and drinking water but you do have to pack out all your garbage.
We love the four miles of hiking trails that ring the edges of the island and take you wandering through the interior forest. Jones has a wild, natural feel and our hike on Friday was definitely a walk on the wild side as low pressure front had moved into the islands.
Following the coastline, the wind was howling on the south and west sides of the island and the water white capping. A perfect day to be tied up to the dock and this was great way to spend the morning, wandering the island.
Luckily, the wind today wasn’t nearly as ferocious as the big storm in 1990 that tore through the San Juans and left Jones Island littered with thousands of downed trees. The park service had to close the island during the 1991 season to do major cleanup and restoration of the outbuildings, campsites, dock and trails. 90 to 100 mph winds did heavy damage on the north end of the island and the trees were strewn like toothpicks.
There was much controversy about how much of the timber to remove and for the most part, the trees have been left where they fell, to become part of natures natural renewal process. On past visited we have seen numerous pileated woodpeckers doing their thing on the old, rotted timber.
Today, the ghostly remains of the storm are still evident as you hike through the forest which is littered with the downed, moss covered trees. The canopy of the forest has returned and the deer, raccoons and many species of birds that call Jones Island home seem to be thriving.
Back at the Beach House, we hunkered in for a rainy afternoon. Choose one of many boat projects to tinker at or make some banana bread? Hmm, banana bread won hands down!!!
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