|A Parks Commission
status report, published in 1958, pointed out that "Because of the growing
popularity of pleasure boating in Puget Sound, the Commission is constantly
on the alert for additional areas that will serve boating enthusiasts."
With the advent of small gasoline and diesel engines, the postwar surge
in outboard engine development, and inexpensive fiberglass building systems,
more and more families were able to buy boats. Unlike their East Coast
counterparts, Washington sailors can use their boats yearround, as
the Sound does not freeze in winter and, for the most part, temperatures
remain moderate. The long "season" guarantees that investments in facilities
are worthwhile. Indeed, Washington leads most of the nation in per capita
park with marine facilities was Deception Pass, which was acquired in 1922.
Though the park at first had no mooring buoys or floats, it quickly became
obvious that, along with shorebased campsites and picnic tables, the
park needed places for boaters to tie up. Further north, in 1926, the Parks
Committee gave a permit to the Bellingham Yacht Club to build a breakwater
and floats in Larrabee State Park. In 1928, the Committee decided to charge
boaters a small fee for the use of moorages. In addition, many areas were
informally used by sailors as parks, even though they were not owned by
the Commission. Coon Cove, the present site of Squaxin Island State Park,
was one such spot, along with Matia Island in the San Juan group.
By 1949, the
Commission directed the staff to look for suitable marine parks, and the
staff responded by listing some 40 potential areas. Not all of these were
acquired, but the list gave the Commission a working knowledge of appropriate
locations for marine facilities. The Commission's saltwater marine parks
fall into two categories-those that have both land and water access, and
those that can only be reached by water. The Commission recognized early
in the marine park planning process that many areas of the Sound were suitable
for waterfront parks, but that land access for nonboaters just wasn't
always possible. Many of the small parks in the San Juan Islands fall into
this category. The large islands of the group have regular ferry service,
thus providing nonboaters with access to parks and other facilities
on the islands. However, it is not economical to provide public ferry service
to the countless small islands that complete the group. These small islands
are still ideal for boataccessonly parks, patronized by those
who, own or charter boats.
with saltwater frontage also have boating facilities. These parks, like
Penrose Point near Longbranch, can be reached by car or boat. Such facilities
cater to the needs of both car and boat users. The Commission provides
mooring buoys and, in some parks, floats for boat mooring. These saltwater
marine parks are extremely popular, and are heavily used. Thousands of
instate and outofstate boaters charter vessels each summer
and head for the most popular destination, the San Juan Islands. Marine
parks are scattered throughout Puget Sound and its a adjacent waters, and
boaters in any area of the Sound have access to many water parks.
In 1959, 318
acres of Sucia Island State Park were donated to the Parks Commission after
extensive fund raising by the Interclub Boating Association of Washington.