Alden Point Lighthouse
STATE PARK GEMS
PATOS ISLAND STATE PARK
Information: Patos Island State Park is a 207-acre marine park with 20,000 feet of saltwater shoreline. The island is owned by the federal government and is administered by the BLM.
Access: Accessable only by boat. The park is located five miles northwest of Orcas Island. The nearest launch sites are at Point Roberts Marina (13 miles north), Blaine Harbor (11 miles northeast), and Squallicum Harbor in Bellingham (24 miles east). There are two mooring buoys in Active Cove.
---- State Parks operates a small campground facility at Active Cove near the west side of the island, maintains a 1.5 mile loop trail and has two offshore mooring bouys.
Comments: There are strong currents in Active Cove and the anchorage is exposed to westerly winds from Georgia Strait. Boats commonly drag anchor and may go aground; holding a boat off the shore during conditions of high surf may be dangerous.
PATOS ISLAND STATE PARK
----Archaeological sites indicate Native Americans used the island for thousands of years as a shellfish harvesting site. Europeans first discovered the island during the late 1700s when the Spanish Elisa Expedition surveyed the area. The island was named Patos Island which is Spanish for duck. Alcid sea birds, sometimes referred to as "ducks," are abundant in the area. There is also a rock formation in the small east cove near Toe Pint is shaped like a duck's head, and this may also account for the name.
Anchored in Active Cove; Crab Lunch Ashore with Friends; Walking the Trails
Enjoying Active Cove; the Little Things; and the Big View
----In the 1890s, a lighthouse station was established at Alden Point and the existing lighthouse was finished in 1918. The lighthouse station was occupied and operated by Lighthouse Service and the U.S. Coast Guard staff and their families until the late 1960s. Civilian employees then Washington State Parks staff lived and operated the site until it was finally automated in the 1970s. Numerous buildings were contructed at the station over the years, but all facilities except the lighthouse have been razed and burned by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The last remaining support building, a 1950s duplex residence, was burned on Nov. 18, 2005. The BLM intends to re-establish native flora to the site.
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