Fortunately, we had capital funding approved last year to make some minimal developments at the Kukutali Preserve. These projects are fully underway right now.
- Interpretive signage: a cooperative project with the Swinomish tribe and park staff created seven beautiful and educational signs that will be placed in strategic locations on the Preserve. These tell the story of the earlier use and history of the island, and the heritage that the Preserve protects.
- Directional signage: the temporary trail signs and maps are being replaced by permanent signs and maps to help guide visitors around the islands trails and waypoints.
- Restrooms: solid vault toilets have been installed for visitor comfort. One is at the parking lot, and the other in the background of the meadow at the west end of the island. These are accessible for those with a disability, and blend into the surroundings.
- Benches: two resting places are being built along the trails at strategic locations.
- Picnic shelter: a shelter is under construction near where the former house sat in the meadow at the west end. Two tables fit underneath, offering a small gathering place for those who wish to picnic in a more formal manner on the island.
State Park region construction staff are busy building these facilities over the next couple of weeks; a tribal representative is monitoring the ground disturbance to ensure archaeological resources are left intact. The entire project has been an excellent example of cooperation between the Swinomish tribe and State Parks as they planned these projects together.
Kiket Tombolo Restoration Postponed Due to Lack of State Capital Budget
The tombolo restoration work at Kiket Island has been postponed because of the lack of a state capital budget this biennium.
Plans call for the removal of the hundred feet of causeway leading out from Snee-Oosh Road onto Kiket Island itself, allowing a natural beach to be restored here instead. The beach would be walkable at all but the highest of tides. Kiket Island would become an island but would still be fully accessible by foot, with the caveat that you need to consider the tides in your hike, especially in the winter months.
The restoration had been scheduled for next week.
BUT: the project is partially funded with capital beach restoration money. The capital budget, needed by July 1, is reportedly finished but not released by the legislature as they work through unrelated issues. The work on the restoration project cannot move ahead without that funding. The beach work can only be done in the early fall; if the budget is not released in the next few days, we will miss that window and have to wait until late next summer.
Even worse, several State Park staff will be losing their jobs at the end of September because there is no capital budget to pay them. We hope that this is resolved before then, but if not, they will be unemployed and looking for work. And hundreds of park projects like this will be canceled for the next two years, or until the budget is finally passed.