American Camp Visitor Center on Summer Schedule
The American Camp visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through September 1. Grounds remain open daily from dawn to 11 p.m More »
English Camp Visitor Contact Station on Summer Schedule
The English Camp visitor contact station in the Royal Marine Barracks is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily through September 1. Grounds are open daily from dawn to 11 p.m.
Standing on the redoubt (earthen fortification) at American Camp one can gaze south across the prairie to South Beach and across the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains, and on a clear day to Mt. Rainier.
To the east is the 290-foot ridge of Mt Finlayson, half forest, half prairie. To the north across Griffin Bay is Orcas Island and Mt. Baker and the North Cascades. To the west, across the parade ground, is the housing development that borders the park’s western boundary.
From this perspective (except perhaps for the houses sprouting up on the grasslands, it is easy to think of San Juan Island NHP as frozen in time within the Strait of Georgia. However, the dynamic forces of geologic processes, weather, climatic change and fire continue to shape and change the appearance of the park and influence its plant and animal life.
Human-caused factors such as air, water, noise and light pollution, introduction of non-native species, and thoughtless destruction of fragile natural and cultural resources contribute to undesirable change. San Juan Island National Historical Park, like other National Parks, is a “living laboratory” where we can study and better understand the environmental processes and factors that have shaped and continue to shape park landscapes and ecosystems.
Inventory of resources and resource conditions provides the baseline data. Monitoring provides timely insight into natural and human-caused changes. Action may be taken to mediate or attempt to mediate adverse effects.
Did You Know?
Camas bulbs were so highly prized by Northwest Indians for their creamy potato/baked pear taste that groups sometimes fought over the best growing areas, and people traveled great distances to harvest the bulbs and prepare them into thin, dry cakes. To ensure future harvests, the Indians burned the prairie regularly.