South Whidbey Island State Park

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South Whidbey State Park
Washington State Park
Giant cedar in South Whidbey State Park.JPG
A 500-year-old western red cedar in South Whidbey State Park
Country United States
State Washington
County Island
Elevation 135 ft (41 m) [1]
Coordinates 48°03′24″N 122°35′39″W / 48.05667°N 122.59417°W / 48.05667; -122.59417Coordinates: 48°03′24″N 122°35′39″W / 48.05667°N 122.59417°W / 48.05667; -122.59417 [1]
Area 347 acres (140 ha)
Established 1974
Management Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
Location in the state of Washington
Website: South Whidbey State Park

South Whidbey State Park is a Washington state park in Island County. It consists of 347 acres (140 ha) of old-growth forest and tidelands with 4,500 feet (1,400 m) of shoreline on Admiralty Inlet. The park contains many mature specimens of western red cedar, Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, and western hemlock, some of the largest on Whidbey island, including one "Giant Cedar" over 500 years old.[2]


When the park was created in 1974 it consisted of approximately 87 acres of shoreline along Puget Sound. In 1977 local citizens filed a lawsuit against the Washington Department of Natural Resources, which managed the park, when they learned that the state agency planned to grant logging contracts on an adjacent 267 acre parcel of land known as "Classic U," which contained one of the few remaining stands of old-growth conifers on the island.[3] Activists pursued legal solutions to prevent logging of the parcel, forming a nonprofit foundation called Save the Trees and seeking a temporary injunction on logging from the state government. Many also practiced civil disobedience—laying down in front of bulldozers to prevent the destruction of ancient trees.[3]

After many years of negotiation and litigation, 255 acres of the Classic U parcel were officially added to the state park system by action of the legislature. In 1992, the parcel was officially purchased from the DNR and added to South Whidbey State Park.[3]

In 2006 an additional 7.3 acre parcel was added to South Whidbey State Park, bringing the total acreage to 347. This land, known as the "Ryan addition" in honor of local conservationists Al and Maureen Ryan, who were instrumental in the battle to preserve the Classic U groves from logging,[4] was purchased with funds contributed by the state Parks and Recreation Commission, the Island County Commission, and private donors in an effort organized by the non-profit Whidbey Camano Land Trust.[3][5]

In 2015 the campground and overnight use of the park closed indefinitely due to dangerous conditions from “advanced levels of heart rot in the stems of large old-growth trees.”[6]


Beach at South Whidbey State Park
Beach at South Whidbey State Park

Park activities include picnicking, hiking on 3.5 miles (5.6 km) of trails, camping, crabbing, clamming, fishing, swimming, beachcombing, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing.[7]


  1. ^ a b "South Whidbey Island State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ Romano, Craig (2008). "South Whidbey State Park". Washington Trails Association. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Guss, Elizabeth; Richardson, Mary; O'Mahony, Janice C. (2014-06-10). Whidbey Island: Reflections on People and the Land. The History Press. ISBN 9781626192775. 
  4. ^ "New trails named for Whidbey Island conservationists". South Whidbey Record. 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2015-07-05. 
  5. ^ "County contributes to Whidbey Island land purchase". The Seattle Times. 2006-10-10. Retrieved 2015-07-05. 
  6. ^ "State to close South Whidbey State Park campgrounds - South Whidbey Record". Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  7. ^ "South Whidbey State Park". Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Retrieved February 3, 2015. 

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