Park on Winter Schedule
The American Camp Visitor Center is closed Thanksgiving Day, re-opening Friday. Winter hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday. The English Camp Visitor Center is closed for the winter. Grounds at both units are open from dawn to 11 p.m. daily. More »
Golden paintbrush—once a thriving symbol of native northwest grasslands—is in the planning stages of being reestablished at American Camp. Of the 42 paintbrush species in the Pacific Northwest, this is the only one with yellow bracts, which glow when it blooms from April through June.
Once abundant in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, it's currently listed by the US. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as endangered, and is found in fewer than 11 populations in Washington and Canada, largely due to habitat destruction and fire suppression.
In an effort to recreate a self-maintaining population, the National Park Service and USFWS (and other agencies and landowners) are collecting local seeds, overseeing propagation at Fourth Corner Nurseries in Bellingham and planting on False Bay Drive and private properties around San Juan Island. About 300 plugs are scheduled to be planted on the American Camp prairie in fall 2009 to establish two separate populations at American Camp. The eventual goal is to have at least two and hopefully three populations of 1000 individuals each of golden paintbrush.
Protection status: Washington State Endangered species and Federally Threatened species. State and globally ranked as critically imperiled.
Park status: Reintroducing to park
To volunteer to collect seed, report sightings or help with planting, contact Todd Trapp, Biologist, San Juan Island National Historical Park, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.