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Kukutali Preserve

Kukutali Preserve

visited 19 June 2021

Kukutali Preserve is the product of a unique collaboration between Washington state government and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. In 1990, they agreed to jointly purchase and operate this property and develop it into a public park. Today it is a quiet place to go for a walk and enjoy the woods and ocean.

And today, walking through the island, there is no hint (other than a few historical marker signs) of the fate that almost befell this location: a nuclear power plant to serve the city of Seattle. Thankfully that idea was abandoned decades ago and we can enjoy this space more quietly now.

The island is also sometimes referred to as Kiket Island, a name bestowed by early European explorers who thought they were using local language, but that was not correct: Kiket derives from a Nez Perce word, but the Nez Perce are from what we now think of as eastern Washington and central Idaho, not this region.

Access to the park is via a parking lot located off Snee Oosh Road and then a short walk on a gravel road:

The road once continued onto the island, but has been closed to all traffic for a decade or so now. A recent environmental restoration returned the connection between Kiket Island and the mainland to a more natural state. That means it can flood at higher tides, so plan your visit carefully.

From the south side of the island, you can see Hope Island, which is another state park I visited later in the day.

What remains of the access road has become a comfortable hiking trail:

At the far end of the island is Flagstaff Island, a small rocky outcropping. This island is off-limits to ordinary visitors in an effort to preserve and restore its habitat. (Sadly, I did see some people who chose to ignore the signs and proceed onto the island. I don’t approve.)

In the background is Skagit Island State Park.

Walking back to the parking lot, I made some time to explore the north and south trails, which offer alternatives to the main (former road) trail:

For more information:

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