KIKET ISLAND - It is the park that almost didn’t happen, on a tiny island with a lot of history.
Meet Kiket Island – a 96-acre gem in Puget Sound, 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 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.
Although the park access plan hasn’t been worked out, this much already has been agreed to :
• There will be no overnight camping or public hunting, fishing or shellfish gathering at the park.
• Access will be only by hand-powered craft, docked at areas to be designated on the beach for that purpose.
• No powerboats or personal watercraft will be allowed to dock on the island.
• With some exceptions, only nonmotorized and electric vehicles will be allowed.
The island passed out of tribal ownership when it was sold to a Seattle mill and mine supply company in 1929.
The Seattle City Council next purchased the island, voting 40 years ago to buy Kiket for a $250 million nuclear power plant.
After public outrage, the plan was dropped in 1972, and the island was next acquired by private owners, Wallace Opdycke and Nancy Corbin.
The state had long wanted to acquire the island for a park, but never had a willing seller – until 2007, when Opdycke and Corbin contacted it.