Yellow Island is an 11-acre nature preserve with more than 50 species of wildflowers. The Island was purchased by the Nature Conservancy in 1979 to preserve the unusual diversity of native plants. The earliest island inhabitants harvested plant foods such as the roots of the Camas flower, encouraging re-growth and expansion with intentional grass fires.
Lew and Elizabeth Dodd bought the island for in 1947 for $8,000 and started homesteading. First they lived in a tent, then built a house of salvaged driftwood.
Fast forward to 1980: the Nature Conservancy bought the island for $200,000 from the Dodd family and set up 'visiting hours' for the public a few years later. Fewer than 2,000 people come to the island each year, arriving by private boat or kayak. About 350 a month come in April and May, when spring flowers are at their height.
Visiting rules for the Island are very specific: no pets, no picnics, no camping or overnight moorage, no smoking, no water, no public bathrooms. Walking is encouraged, but only on the established trails. Some beaches close for seal rearing, so boaters need to be aware. The preserve is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., hours which are strictly enforced so that the wildlife gets a break from people.
Island wildlife includes a variety of birds like crows, white-crowned sparrows, orange-crowned warblers, chestnut-backed chickadees, olive-sided flycatchers, Harlequin ducks, and black oystercatchers. Mink and river otter are the only mammals commonly seen on the island.
Click the following links to read about some of the other San Juan Islands. Jump to Lopez Island Washington, Orcas Island Washington, Cypress Island, Sentinel Island, Crane Island, Canoe Island, Lummi Island Washington, Saturna Island, Guemes Island, Pender Island, Sinclair Island, or Strawberry Island.
Return to San Juan Islands from Yellow Island.