Work Parties 2014

Here’s the schedule for spring/summer/fall work parties on Patos Island. Transportation to and from the island is provided by Washington State Parks/Sucia Island.

Inquire and/or sign up@

Here are the dates:

April 22nd

May 20th

June 20th (a Friday)

July 22nd

August 7th (the camp-out/sleepover will be between August 6th and 11th birthday party on the 10th).

September 16 

October 14th (to put the Island & lighthouse to bed for the season)

Volunteer Crew and Steve, ready to head out to Patos Island!

Volunteer Crew and Steve, ready to head out to Patos Island!

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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Where Would We Be Without State Parks?

Volunteer Crew and Steve, ready to head out to Patos Island!

Volunteer Crew and Steve, ready to head out to Patos Island!

Well, frankly, standing on the shore of Orcas Island looking at Patos island in the distance!

We rely almost totally on the staff and boats of Sucia Island State parks to take our volunteers out to Patos Island for both work parties and Docenting the lighthouse. Over the past three years or so, our arrangement has been totally symbiotic with our volunteers providing services that State Parks employees  don’t have the staff and time to provide. As Steve Sabine, head Ranger so aptly puts it:

To Whom It May Concern,

Keepers of the Patos Light have been providing volunteer services at Patos Island State Park  since 2010. They have logged over 1600 hours since then, with the majority of the hours done in 2012. Keepers of the Patos Light is instrumental in the Park’s interpretive program, conducting Lighthouse tours for well over 1000 visitors last year. The visitors always talk highly of the volunteers and are grateful that they are there to open the lighthouse.

Patos Island State Park is a remote island, with access only by private boat. There are not many volunteers who are willing to spend an extended period to provide programs to visitors. Keepers of the Patos Light provided volunteers who stay multiple nights on the Island to provide this service. They also provided trail maintenance, security, and serviced our restrooms. Park staff can only service the Island once or twice a week, due to staff shortages, and Keepers of the Patos Light helped fill in the gaps.

I am grateful to have Keepers of the Patos Light volunteer at Patos Island State Park. They are a complement to the Park operation.

Sincerely,     Steve Sabine


San Juan Marine Area North


Thanks back to all of our wonderful State Parks friends from Keepers of the Patos Light!