Posey Island State Park


Every day 7:00 AM - Dusk


Posey Island sits just outside of Roche Harbor off the northwest corner of San Juan Island. The view of Posey from Roche Harbor is blocked by larger Pearl Island to which Posey was once connected by a sand spit. Years ago when early surveyors were mapping this area, they asked the locals what they called the little island. Since it was a favorite springtime event to walk the spit from Pearl to Posey to gather Easter lilies, the name Posey (like a posy, a small bunch of flowers) was chosen. Wildflowers continue to bloom on Posey during the spring and early summer defending the legitimacy of this name.

Today with access limited to boats, little Posey Island is a bit of an unexpected oasis near the edge of the big waters of Haro Strait separating the Washington "Territory" from British Columbia. Tucked into the small circle of trees that center the inland are a number of reserved campsites available only to those who arrive by human or wind-powered craft (Posey is part of the Cascadia Marine Trail). During the day, motor boats and sometimes sizeable kayak groups will often stop for a rest or a short walk-around. Except for these occasional summertime interruptions, campers will usually have Posey all to themselves. The one acre island provides little exploring but it’s a wonderful place to step out of the higher energy island adventures and relax, and in summer it’s not unusual for Posey to enjoy long spells of blue-sky rainless days. If you’ve ever wanted to sit back and read Robinson Crusoe on a deserted island, this may be the time (however unlike Robinson Crusoe, you’ll have to bring your own water and carry away your trash).

Famed as a sunset viewpoint, Posey Island is also an ideal spot to casually wait for orca pods to drift by. Birds, various species of whales, and other sea mammals frequently pass by Posey to enjoy either the deep waters that approach its northern shores or the shallow water to the south. This shallow water is a consideration even for paddlers taking the 1 ½ mile journey from Roche Harbor. When leaving the harbor you’ll pass by Pearl Island either on the west or east. Whichever way you go, you’ll want to be mindful of the shoals that on exceptionally low summer tides may result in very shallow water between you and Posey Island.

For a short daytime boating picnic or a quiet overnight paddle camp, consider Posey Island State Park. If you find any flowers blooming, maybe you should just enjoy looking at them so there will always be "posies" on Posey Island.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 7/22/2009


Posey Island is located only one mile northwest of Roche Harbor marina. Paddlers from Roche Harbor can choose to make the 1.5 mile paddle to Posey by passing Pearl Island on either the east or west side. Larger boats may want to use the boat channel on the west side of Pearl Island. Watch out for the shallows!


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