The Park’s namesake: In 1860, a commercial lime mining operation began in what is now the northern end of the park. For nearly 90 years the area adjacent to the park was quarried for limestone. Kilns were built to fire the raw rock into lime. Buildings were constructed, roads were cut and much of the island was logged to feed the fires of the kiln operations at the park and amongst the islands. One of the lime kilns was acquired by State Parks in 1996 and has been reconstructed as an exhibit at the north end of the park.
In 1919, the Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse and two adjacent lighthouse keepers’ quarters were built by the U.S. Coast Guard. When electricity was installed in 1962, the need to have keepers on site full time became unnecessary. In 1984, the Coast Guard turned the area over for management to Washington State Parks and Lime Kiln Point State Park was created.
The Coast Guard still has legal ownership of the lighthouse as an active aid to navigation; however the building is maintained and managed by the Washington State Parks. During the summer months the lighthouse is a hub of activity, hosting several orca whale research projects, interpretive talks, sunset tours to the top and special events like weddings.
Lime Kiln is a key location for public education promoting the protection of the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). The frequent and regular sightings of orca whales from this unobtrusive land-based viewpoint, is awe inspiring to many park visitors. Close contact with the whales provokes people to change the way they view and live in the environment in deference to these magnificent creatures.
Over 200,000 visitors from 40+ countries converge in the park each year to view and learn about the SRKW. Lime Kiln’s unique location, diverse habitant and wildlife as well as its role in human history in this region, makes it a microcosm of the entire Salish Sea ecosystem.
We believe this park to be a critical educational habitat that must be protected as passionately as the whales themselves.
For more information on Lime Kiln Point State Park, visit the Washington State Parks website by clicking here – http://www.parks.wa.gov/540/Lime-Kiln-Point
photo: Erin Corra