The Kukutali Preserve is Open!
This is Kiket Island in northern Skagit Bay with its tiny companion Flagstaff Island on the right. Flagstaff is connected to Kiket by a tombolo or sandspit. The two islands plus a few acres on the Fidalgo mainland now comprise the Kukutali Preserve. It is owned jointly by the Swinomish Tribal Community and Washington State Parks . For the last three years, visitors were allowed in small guided groups by reservation only. I visited the island three times in 2011 and 2012. As of yesterday, the Preserve is now fully open to the public. Today, I made my first unescorted visit. I was delighted with what I found. A small parking lot sits just off Snee Oosh Road. New landscaping featuring native plants, shrubs and trees has been added here. Kukutali means "place of the cattail mat" in the Lushootseed language. It was the traditional name for the island. Historically, this was a place of seasonal food gathering by the Swinomish people. The name refers to t