STATE PARK GEMS
LIME KILN POINT STATE PARK
Lime Kiln Point is a 36-acre day-use park set
on the west side of San Juan Island. The park is considered one of the
best places in the world to view whales from a land-based facility.
Orca whales are common in the waters off Lime Kiln. The park, which
features a richly diverse natural environment, also includes the remnants
of a history of human change. The shorelne is rocky and the uplands,
Access: There are no facilities for cruising boaters.
Comments: This is a day-use park only; no camping facilities.
-LIME KILN POINT STATE PARK
----This park is located on a high rocky point. It is a popular whale-watching location. Minke whales, orcas, porpoises, seals, sea lions and otters cruise the shoreline, as well as many boats whale-watching. The peak whale-watching season is May through September, with June and July being the most likely months to see whales.
---- Interpretive programs and lighthouse tours are available during the summer months. The park is surrounded by approximately 200 acres of county land that is open to the public. Whale-watching boats and guided kayak trips are available on San Juan Island and operate off of Lime Kiln Point. Fishing is excellent off San Juan Island for bottom fish and salmon, but is difficult from shore due to the presence of kelp beds.
-----In 1860, a lime producing operation began to operate in what is now part of the park. For 60 years, the area adjacent to the park was quarried for limestone. Kilns were built to fire the limestone to produce lime. Buildings were built, roads were cut and much of the island was logged to feed the fires of the kilns.
----The U.S. Coast Guard operated the area adjacent to the lime operation as a lighthouse preserve. In 1919, the Lime Kiln lighthouse and two adjacent lighthouse keepers' quarters were built. When electricity was run to the site in 1960, their was no need to have lighthouse keepers on site. In 1984, the Coast Guard turned the area over to Washington State Parks and the park was created. The Coast Guard still maintains the lighthouse as an active beacon for ships in the Haro Strait. The building is used for orca whale research, interpretation and lighthouse tours. One of the lime kilns was acquired by State Parks in 1996 and has been renovated and interpreted for the public.
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