Seattle Times: Meet the newest Washington state park: Kiket Island

The Seattle Times visits Kiket Island with Swinomish tribal Chairman Brian Cladoosby:

Meet Kiket Island: a 96-acre gem in Puget Sound, just northwest of La Conner. Washington’s newest state park is a largely undeveloped, pristine jewel of forests and more than two miles of unspoiled beaches.

The island, pronounced “kick-it,” was purchased last month with $14.3 million in state and federal grants and money from the Nature Conservancy, raised with help from the Trust for Public Land. It took two years of negotiations to swing the complicated deal, in which the island will be co-owned and co-managed by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community — the original owner of the island — and state parks.

The property — which will be open for limited public use as soon as an access plan is worked out — includes 84 acres of Kiket and Flagstaff islands and 12 acres on the Fidalgo Island mainland, with vast views toward Deception Pass and Whidbey Island.

The new park has yet to be named. And while it will be open to the public, access will be restricted to protect the island’s fragile environment from being loved to death. Although the access plan hasn’t been worked out, this much already has been agreed to as part of the purchase and ownership agreement:

There will be no overnight camping or public hunting, fishing or shellfish gathering at the park, and access will be only by hand-powered craft, docked at areas to be designated on the beach for that purpose. No powerboats or Jet Skis will be allowed to dock on the island, and with some exceptions, only nonmotorized and electric vehicles will be allowed.

“It feels so good to be back here,” said Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Tribe, stepping on the island last week for the first time in decades.