Double Whammy Workparties….

American Hiking Society Volunteers back at Odlin Park, Lopez Island

Here is Leader Sandy’s account of yesterday’s double work party on Patos Island, Both Keepers of the Patos Light and American Hiking Society Volunteers were on the island!


Thanks to you all! What a great work party!

From now on the blackberries had better beware! Gary B. annihilated them with his “saw on a stick,” Tom sliced them off with his unique blackberry tool and Laura and Duane got up close and personal with that invasive. Parvin and Terry hauled them off to oblivion after cleaning every one of the campsites (all 7 of them). OJ mowed up and down and all around until Laura wrested the mower away from him. Jennifer completed her transects (an accomplishment since they were in the brush). Gary F. and partner Jeannie joined with Linda to set up and prepare the lighthouse for the visitors and the volunteers.DSCF5814

We were very fortunate to be joined in our maintenance by the AHS volunteer vacation group and Nick on their last day in the San Juans. They worked on clearing the trail and cleaning the beach (alas no sea stars found).


All in all it was a beautiful day and a rewarding experience; thank you all so much for your time and efforts, so appreciated by the Parks personnel, the BLM and me. Good job!

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Our next work parties are scheduled for July 22nd, August 7th and September 16th. Let me know if you are interested.



Let’s Get That Flag Flying Again!

Site of the flagpole

Site of the flagpole

The flag of the United States used to fly proudly over US Coast Guard Station, Patos Island. We do not know when the flag and pole were taken down, but from old photographs we know where the pole was located. We think it would be a dandy idea to return the flag and pole the island. The plan is for our volunteers and Docents to raise the flag whenever we are on island and able to open to light house.

Can you help us achieve this  goal with your donations? All donations are tax deductible. Please send donations, designated for the “FlagFund”

Coast Guard Officer-in-Charge Dale Nelson climbed on the flagpole to take this wonderful picture of the lighthouse, late "50s.

Coast Guard Officer-in-Charge Dale Nelson climbed on the flagpole to take this wonderful picture of the lighthouse, late “50s.

, to Keepers of the Patos Light, PO Box 518, Lopez Island, WA 98261

Our Goal in 2013 and Beyond
Help fill this void
I will continue to add
this page to the newsletter and Blog until we reach
our goal.
“Patos” Bill Lavergne started the fund with a contribution of $500 and challenges other Patos Coast Guard Vets & families to donate and make this happen in
2014 with a contribution by year-end 2013
Patty & Jack Ware contribute $100 and challenge
everyone who loves Patos Lighthouse to contribute in
Keepers of the Patos Light wish you all a wonderful
Holiday season and may 2014 be your best year ever
Send donations to: KOPL, PO Box 518, Lopez Island, WA 98261
All money received for the Flagpole Fund will
be kept separate from our general operating
Be sure to designate on your check if
you are supporting the Flagpole.
Let’s get that flag flying
. Think how beautiful our
pictures will be with Mt. Baker in the back-
ground, our adorable lighthouse in the fore-
ground and our flag waving in the breeze.
When the flag is flying, you will know that our
docents are on board, ready to give tours and
tell you a story.

Sandy and Dennis Evans contribute $100 and challenge
kayak enthusiasts that enjoy Patos.
Linda & David Hudson contribute $100 and challenge
other Lopezians who love Patos.
Denise and Daniel Wilk contribute $100 and challenge
boaters in the Salish Sea that enjoy Patos and the Light-
Diane and Jim Briggs contribute $50 and challenge

bikers who love the San Juans to join the fu

Keepers of the Patos Light
Flagpole Fund
Our Goal in 2013 and Beyond
Help fill this void


Work Party and Closing the Lighthouse


Well, the summer has flown by and yesterday marked the final work party of the season and the closing of the lighthouse for the coming winter.

Before our group took off from Orcas in the pouring rain yesterday, we received a safety talk from Ranger, Steve Sabine, and Ranger Liz skillfully  transported us over to Patos Island. At the lighthouse, Team Leader, Sandy, checked us in and gave out work assignments for the day.

Miraculously, the rain had stopped (a common occurrence on Patos Island) and as some headed off for  trail maintenance and campsite cleaning, others stayed near the lighthouse for sidewalk clearing and the never-ending task blackberry removal.

I spent the day in the lighthouse, sorting, cleaning, and packing up for the winter.

All packed up

All packed up

At lunchtime as we gathered to share food, stories, and amazing views from the lighthouse, Tom spotted Humpback Whale, a rare sight for visitors to Patos Island.

After our day of work, we met Steve and Liz back at Minnie’s Beach for the trip back to Orcas Island. But not so fast! About 2/3rd the way back, the Sea Bass’s engine conked out and after futile attempts to restart her, a small State Parks boat was called over from Sucia Island to tow us in.

All’s well that ends well and we were all back in time to catch our ferries to Lopez and Anacortes.

A great big thank-you to participants, Sandy E, Patty, Mike, Tom, Duane, Rhea, Sandy B, and as always, Sucia State Park Rangers, Steve and Liz. (and our rescuers from Sucia!)

That’s it for this posting…enjoy the pictures of our amazing closing day!IMG_9633

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Our Fabulous Triple Birthday!

Yesterday, August 18th, marked an amazing day in the long history of the Patos Lighthouse:  we celebrated a triple birthday! First, we celebrated the 120th year since the lighthouse was built in 1893,  second, the 100th year since the formation of Washington State Parks, and last but not least, the 81st birthday of Patos Bill.

Patos Bill LaVergne was stationed at Patos Lighthouse in the early 1950s.  He was there at t he same time as Clarence “Tee” Titterington and his wife Elaine with whom we are also in regular contact. Patos Bill always and stories and reminiscences for us and how we do enjoy these glimpses into the past!

In addition to all of the birthday excitement, we were presented with an amazing Traveling Library Box, hand-crafted and donated by Lopez Island resident and Patos Island fan, Ross Pomerenk. The traveling library box, which will be on display in the lighthouse during the summer season, is a recreation of the book boxes that used to travel from lighthouse to lighthouse in days gone by. They were stocked with reference, educational and fiction books, and we imagined with what anticipation must have been received. We had some children in the crowd place the vintage books I have been collecting on the waiting shelves.

Ross and his beautiful Traveling Library Box!

Ross and his beautiful Traveling Library Box!

At 12:30 we gathered outside for a photo op, a flyover arranged by Lime Kiln’s Erin Cora and her friend from Teren Photography.  We held up our letter/number signs and waved like mad as he flew over and recorded our wonderful day for posterity.

Happy Birthday, Little Lighthouse!

Happy Birthday, Little Lighthouse!

I close with more pictures of our day. Thank-you for everyone who could be there and to those who were with us in spirit.

In the news….

We are sure enjoying these stories,,,,video this time!

Summer Docent Program A Shining Success!

Last summer, between Memorial Day and September 15th, we were able to open our lighthouse 62 days and we greeted 1240 happy visitors. How? The Keepers of the Patos Light Docent Program!

Docents Kyra and Rose welcome lighthouse visitors

In April, Carla and I held an initial docent training program at the Lopez  Island Library. This was followed by several on-site camp-outs on Patos Island. As a result we now have seven new docents for a total of 12 active participants in our program.

Becoming a lighthouse docent is not hard, but it does require some training. Docents are trained in safety issues, lighthouse history, Patos flora and fauna and records keeping and reporting.  Accommodations consist of camping out in peaceful campsite “7” overlooking beautiful Active Cove. Transportation to Patos Island is provided by thewonderful rangers of Washington State Parks.

Docents leaving for Patos Island

Keeping the Lighthouse Open is a gratifying and heartwarming experience. One visitor said that being about to see inside the lighthouse was, “One of the highlights of my life!”

Docents Russell and Madrona explain a map of the area

For more information about lighthouse summer open days or for information about training to become a Keepers of the Patos Light Docent, please email us at:

From the Islands Weekly Newspaper

Summer youth success with Lopez Island Conservation Corps

September 17, 2012 · Updated 1:43 PM


Lopez Island Conservation Corps Program Leaders Amanda Wedow and Charlie Behnke are proud to announce that “LICC has just completed their most successful and productive summer youth season on record, with 13 youth participants working an estimated six miles of trail and logging more than 700 youth service hours!”

The youth spent nine weeks working hard, learning and exploring public lands in San Juan County.

This season LICC was contracted by Bureau of Land Management and Friends of the LIFE trail to perform extensive trail building, maintenance, and environmental education on south Lopez BLM sites, Patos Island and the LIFE trail.

BLM’s Recreation Manager Nick Teague was pleased to see the crews work.

“I am just blown away by the amount and quality of work the LICC crew has accomplished this season; y’all are a priceless asset to these public lands and the community,” he said.

LICC received special funding from BLM this season to integrate more environmental education and skill-building opportunities into the program. Time was set aside each crew day for lessons including sustainable trail design, Leave No Trace/Tread Lightly ethics, tool maintenance and sharpening, using a compass, knot tying, natural history of local flora and fauna, geology, hydrology, and more.

“It’s great to see the program growing and developing in new ways,” Behnke said. “I am especially excited about the educational portion. In the future I hope to incorporate a diversity of local experts to share their knowledge and skills with these youth.”

This year has been a momentous year for LICC, said Wedow.

“We obtained 501(c)3 nonprofit status making us eligible for many more grants and tax deductible donations (wink-wink), we helped to establish San Juan Island Conservation Corps who had a terrific first season, a van was donated to LICC by the Loyd family, the second annual Procession of the Species Celebration last April was a magnificent success, and then to have such a strong season; go LICC go,” she added.

Keep your eyes out for LICC monthly projects and learning opportunities throughout fall, winter and spring.  For more information contact or visit