McMicken Island

On the eastern side of Hartstene Island is a small island that Wilkes failed to document in his narrative, though he might have noted it in a chart. The island was later named after the surveyor “McMicken.” McMicken Island is a jewel that cannot be missed when visiting South Puget Sound. During our visit in June of 2014 we enjoyed watching and listening to a bald eagle, along with kingfishers, pigeon guillemots, and other birds. After tying our boat to a buoy we hiked the trail around the 11-acre park. Several sand dollars were found on the beach and the remains of the eagle’s (or an owls’s?) dinner were spotted on the path. With the exception of the buildings on the island’s south side, all of the beach, including the tombolo, is public. At a low tide, the tombolo forms a land bridge to Harstene Island. One night we heard coyotes on Harstene and noticed a dead deer carcass on the tombolo at low tide. The Hartstene islanders seed the tidelands with oysters and we noticed many clam shells, along with what looks like a midden.


McMicken Island State Park is an 11.5 acre marine park with 1,661 feet of saltwater shoreline. It is situated in the beautiful South Puget Sound and features a pristine cove to set anchor. Visitors can enjoy the many hiking trails, viewing an active bald eagle nest and shellfish harvesting. The shellfish population is abundant and open to shellfish harvesters year round. The is a sand bar that appears at low tide and connects McMicken Island to Harstine Island. The park is open 6:30 a.m. to dusk year round for day use. Moorage buoys are available for overnight stays. The park has five moorage buoys. Moorage fees are charged year round from 1 p.m. to 8 a.m. The charge in 2014 was $12. Boats over 45 feet are not allowed to use the moorage buoys but anyone can anchor at no charge.

9 thoughts on “McMicken Island

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    Post by Randy Berry.

  3. In the book Gunkholing in South Puget Sound, Jo Bailey and Carl Nyberg relate the story of a Swedish sailor “Lundquist” who jumped ship and settled on McMicken Island. When filing a claim he was told that the island, which he wanted named after himself, did not exist. Lundquist then proposed to claim the island for the King of Sweden.

  4. Wilkes shows an island called Stui Island on an 1841 chart, which Richard W. Blumenthal in his book Maritime Place Names identifies as McMicken Island. Blumenthal explains that General Maurice McMicken was Surveyor General of the Territory and died in 1899 in Olympia. The Coast Salish name for the island was “falling on the ground” according to Puget Sound Geography. Original Manuscript from T.T.Waterman.

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