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Kayaking to Puget Sound's Best Kept Secret
Ten years ago, a small island one half mile long and one quarter mile wide was purchased by the State of Washington. This little oasis in the South Puget Sound had been privately owned and protected from major development for generations before becoming one of the newest state parks in Western Washington - Hope Island State Park.
At that time, nearby Squaxin Island had a state park on its southern tip. This strip of beach had a few campsites, picnic tables, and a small dock for small pleasure boats. When Hope Island was purchased, this smaller park was returned to the Squaxin Island Tribe, as the whole of Squaxin Island is a Native American Reservation.
Since then, Hope Island has remained one of Washington State Parks' best kept secrets.
Marine charts and maps still show the now-closed park on Squaxin Island and no park is indicated for Hope Island.
Yet, this park became part of a 140 mile National Recreation Trail known as the Cascadia Marine Trail in 1995. The trail was first established by the state in 1993 through the work of the volunteers of the Washington Water Trails Association.
We decided to take two days to visit Hope Island and paddle around Squaxin Island and see what these wooded and somewhat wild islands have to offer a kayaker.
Click here to read more about the trip, including a paddle with seals and the sight of ancient cedars.
*Note: Squaxin Island is private property. Do not land there without permission from the Squaxin Island Tribe.
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Kayaking Puget Sound & the San Juan Islands by Rob Casey. This book features 60 trips with information on routes, stand up paddling, details on the region's marine trails, finding launch sites, a 'Routes At-a-glance' chart to choose a route for your level of fitness, skills, and available time and more. Order now...
Paddling Washington: 100 Flatwater and Whitewater Routes in Washington State and the Inland Northwest by Rich Landers, Dan Hensen and Doug North. Detailed maps and instructions on safety, appendices on equipment, map sources and a useful route comparison chart. This book covers water routes in western and eastern Washington, British Columbia, North Idaho, and Montana. Order now...
Paddle Routes of Western Washington: 50 Flatwater Trips for Canoe and Kayak by Verne Huser. This Mountaineers Book details trip descriptions with information on locations, distance, time to allow, best season, potential hazards and shuttle details. River landmarks and launching sites are found in the maps. Order now...
Kayak Routes of the Pacific Northwest Coast: From Northern Oregon to British Columbia's North Coast, 2nd Edition by Peter McGee and John Dowd. This guidebook provides detailed information on more than 30 kayak routes featuring required skill levels, length of trip, hazards, weather, currents, ferry and air travel, rentals and tours. Eighteen regions are explored from Oregon to British Columbia. Order now...
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