Overnight camping at Cypress Island NRCA closes for the season
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Overnight camping at Cypress Island NRCA closes for the season 
 


*** Check out
DNR’s opening and closure page for current recreation information about Cypress Island NRCA, including Cypress Head and Pelican Beach Campgrounds.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                                                                         
September 30, 2009

Overnight camping at Cypress Island NRCA closes for the season
Popular area for kayakers, boaters still open year-round for day use

OLYMPIA –  Starting October 1, Cypress Island Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) will be closed to overnight camping at Cypress Head and Pelican Beach campgrounds—the only places to camp in the NRCA. The campgrounds will reopen for seasonal overnight camping on Memorial Day weekend next year.

A popular destination for kayakers and boaters, Cypress Island NRCA is still open for day-use activities all year long. Cypress Island NRCA, located in the San Juan Islands, offers primitive camping, lakes, and miles of trails. The NRCA is managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Natural Area Program.

DNR’s decision to make overnight camping seasonal instead of year-round was driven by budget and by the desire to protect the island’s unique ecosystem during the winter months.

This year, DNR was forced to reduce services to many of its recreation areas due to budget cuts. Limiting overnight camping to the summer season and doing less maintenance at Cypress Island will save DNR’s Recreation Program $56,000 each year.

“Cypress Island is an expensive area to maintain because everything needs to be brought in—or out—by boat,” said Candace Johnson, Assistant Region Manager, for DNR’s Northwest Region.
 
For more information about access to Cypress Island, contact Candace Johnson at 360-854-2803 or candace.johnson@dnr.wa.gov  

Cypress Island and Natural Resources Conservation Areas
Cypress Island is the last largely undeveloped island in the San Juan group. DNR manages more than 5,000 acres of the 5,500-acre island, which includes forests, wetlands, grassy knolls, and marine areas currently protected under NRCA designation.  Strawberry Island is also part of the Cypress Island NRCA and is open for day-use only.

The southern two-thirds of Cypress Island is the only protected low-elevation forest growing on serpentine soils in Washington, which provide the ideal habitat for some unusual plant communities. The island’s steep topography offers vistas of the San Juan Islands, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, mainland Washington, and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. The submerged marine lands and beaches surrounding Cypress Island are a state aquatic reserve. 

The primary purpose of the NRCA program is to protect outstanding examples of native ecosystems, habitat for endangered, threatened, and sensitive plants and animals, and scenic landscapes.  NRCAs are open to the public for low-impact recreation and environmental education where such uses do not adversely affect the resource values the area was intended to provide.

Media Contact: Toni Droscher, Recreation Program communications manager, 360-902-1523 or toni.droscher@dnr.wa.gov.

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