Deception Pass State Park opened up last week. I am certain the visitors have experienced that Deception Pass is the busiest park in the state. In part, this is due to the iconic bridge that spans Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island. During this shutdown, the staff at the park had some notable challenges. The park suffered vandalism to some of our historic properties, damage to some of our equipment, picnic tables being thrown into Cranberry Lake, and people accessing the park with the intent to engage in nefarious activity. With the being said, many people were very respectful of the staff with the distancing recommendation and taking care of this historic property. Things will likely be very different in 2020 both in visitation experience and staff engagement. Our staff will likely need to minimize face to face interaction in large groups and be respectful of individual choices on what is a comfortable distance for contact with the intent of trying to meet the minimum recommendation of six feet. This will change how the park engages in park interpretation. The interpretation staff (Joy Kacoroski, Kelsey Maloy, and Connor Hall) have been working very hard to come up with plans that we can introduce to the park. One area that will be a notable challenge is the Rosario Tidepool. How this has been visited in the past will likely change. We are trying to develop a plan that provides safe distancing at the interpretation table and provide guidance through the tidepool that will reduce capacity. This will be a notable challenge but we are developing this plan with the sole intent to protect the resources of this valued place within the park.
The staff at Deception Pass State Park are excited to get the season started. We anticipate a great level of excitement from the day users over the coming weeks. Additionally, we cannot wait to see all the families enjoying the camping experience in the park, paddle boarding at Bowman Bay, fishing on Cranberry and Pass Lake, and hiking the 40 miles of trails. I would encourage all visitors to bring a garbage bag and a litter-picker, if you have one, to help clean up the trails and parking lots. For those of you that have not visited the park recently, there are a couple of closures that one should be aware of. The playground at Bowman Bay had to be closed due to some of the failing structure. This will remain closed throughout the season. Additionally, the Bowman Bay Pier suffered some notable damage during one of our winter storms. The pier is closed indefinitely and has been posted no access.
Thank you for your understanding and patience during this upcoming season. The staff at Deception Pass will do our best to serve you at the highest level.
Washington State Park & Recreation Commission
Area Manager – Deception Pass State Park Area