Cypress Island campsites get a makeover to protect native habitat

Kayakers paddle to Cypress Island NRCA. Photo Jason Goldstein, DNR.
Kayakers paddle to Cypress Island NRCA. Photo Jason Goldstein, DNR.

The delicate balance between enjoying and protecting pristine wilderness has been restored at Cypress Island Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA).

This beautiful island is the largest relatively undeveloped island in the San Juan Islands. NRCAs protect outstanding examples of native ecosystems, and habitat for endangered, threatened and sensitive plants and animals. Low-impact recreation is allowed, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize conservation efforts.

WCC workers install a low-profile, split-rail fence to define camping area and protect unique habitats. Photo: Chris Robertson, DNR.
Workers install a low-profile, split-rail fence to define camping area and protect unique habitats. Photo: Chris Robertson, DNR.

One of the most popular attractions on the island is the Cypress Head campsite, which is only accessible by kayak or motorboat. All ten campsites boast stunning views and, as a result, are heavily used during the camping season (Memorial Day to Labor Day). In response, DNR is installing a low-profile, split-rail fence to help define the camping area and protect the surrounding bluffs and other habitats. Each site will be outfitted with updated fire rings and raised tent pads to help designate tent locations and alleviate tent-related impacts such as crushed plants, lichens and mosses.

View of Cypress Head Campsite after conservation renovations. Photo: Chris Robertson, DNR.
View of Cypress Head Campsite after conservation renovations. Photo: Chris Robertson, DNR.

DNR would like to thank the Puget SoundCorp crews that are lending a hand on this important project. The program pays a small stipend and provides an opportunity for young adults (18 to 25) to enrich themselves by providing meaningful work and service experience…not to mention one of the greatest work environments around!

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