There are many projects on the agenda for Friends and Moran State Park. Some projects are maintenance or improvements; some are a one time need while others are ongoing. All need volunteer help. Here are some of the current projects. Call us or email us for details, project time lines and how you can get involved
Fish Hatchery operations have taken place at Cascade Lake intermittently since the 1960’s.
In 2007 the park decided to convert the structure next to Moran Creek into the current hatchery. Friends of Moran raised a significant amount of funding for the conversion which included tanks, rearing troughs, plumbing components, viewing tank and more. The hatchery is now more accessible for viewing by park visitors, which provides FOM and state parks an opportunity to make our visitors aware of hatchery operations and why the hatchery and Kokanee are important to the park and lake ecology. Nearly 72,000 gallons of water travel from Moran Creek through the hatchery and into Cascade lake in a 24 hour period.
You can visit the Moran Creek Kokanee Hatchery at the Cascade Lake Day Use area and peak into the life of a Kokanee through the observation window on the front of the building. The Kokanee are still a little wary of human faces so they may dart for a shady corner in the tank when you first look in, but give them a minute to venture back. See if you can find any albino Kokanee. Albino Kokanee are a beautiful opalescent pearl color. This viewing tank gives you a sample of Kokanee, the other 80,000 fish are in the rearing troughs behind the viewing tank.
In November of 2009 we had a record number of Kokanee return to Moran Creek. It was estimated that the creek had between 300-400 Kokanee returning. The subsequent returns have not been nearly as successful but we are continuing to make improvements so that returns will be higher. We expect with higher returns eggs can be harvested and raised in the hatchery then released into Cascade Lake. This would be the sustainable bench mark we hope to reach with the help of Mike O’Connell with Long Live the Kings, one of the partners in the hatchery project.
Future interpretive panels and handouts are planned so visitors will better understand the hatchery process and appreciate this landlocked species of salmon.
Kokanee will be released into Cascade Lake by mid June depending upon water levels and fish growth. If you would like to volunteer with hatchery operations please email us. We have various needs through the year.
The hatchery would not be as successful if not for our dependable volunteers and the partnership between Friends of Moran, Long Life the Kings and the WDFS Whatcom Lake Hatchery.
The Summit Learning Center opened in May of 2012. Our learning center is staffed by volunteers and university interns. We are open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Inside you’ll find a self guided tour about the history of KVOS Television at the summit since the 1950′s. As you venture further in you’ll find a 70 gallon tank filled with Kokanee fish from our Moran Creek Hatchery. In the back room kids can visit our Newtarium and learn more about the Rough Skinned newts that call Summit Lake home. Kids will find the wingspan of a bald eagle compared to the raven and blue heron. Or take time to play a matching game and find the hidden deer prints. Take some time to borrow a clipboard with a treasure hunt. See how many natural treasures you can find around the summit. We have some great displays and information. We have some amazing naturalists on hand to answer questions. We can help you set out on a spectacular nature walk, treasure hunt or just tell you which island you are looking at.
The Jones family and KVOS leave behind quite a legacy at the summit. Friends of Moran hopes to honor and continue to improve in the rustic building along with information relative to the natural and human history at the summit.
Volunteers are crucial for a successful learning center. We operate seasonally on volunteer staff. If you are interested in donating to our project or have some talent to lend to our educational projects please inquire by email.
The Summit Gift Shop was opened in May of 2007 and raised a substantial amount of funds for park projects and educational outreach. The shop is staffed entirely on volunteer efforts. We were open every day in the summer from 11-4 pm. You will find locally made goods along with unique items directly connected to Moran State Park. Of course everyone loves a well fitting hat or t-shirt to take home, but you will also found our local art to be a valuable memory. We expect to continue building on our success by providing items you can’t find anywhere else. Where else would one find “brew with a view our Daily Constitution” a specially roasted coffee from Local Goods?
Keep the Gift Shop open for the summer requires a lot of volunteers, but not a lot of your time. If you have a few days between May and September we’d love to have you on our team. Watch for our annual volunteer meeting in April or stop by in October when we celebrate our volunteers.
Our tower maintenance usually occurs in August when the weather is most predictable and accommodating for outdoor work. You can volunteer to work on this project by emailing us or checking back for updates. Some years the stone tower requires only small maintenance projects and other years there is a major undertaking to keep the structural and historical integrity of the stone tower.
The project for this year is under assessment by state parks. We will have updated information in the very near future.
The stone tower was built by the CCC in 1936. In 2002 the historic tower was closed because it was in need of major repairs. Local contractor, Rolf Eriksen was chosen to lead the restoration. Repairs included but were not limited to the removal and resetting of about 1200 stones and replacing 107 stones. The Summit House atop the stone structure was completely rebuilt including the entry door and the wooden stair systems. Over 1000 compromised sections of re-bar were encapsulated and patched. 80% of all mortar joints were re pointed. The lightening arresting system including adding underground copper pipes filled with conductant was repaired and or replaced. The tower was bonded to steel tower grounding. All intermediate windows were rebuilt or replaced. Crucial to this project was replicating to the extent possible all historic hardware.
During restoration, interpretive panels were installed and the interpretive cabinets were put into place, with the expectation that a third cabinet will hold interpretive panels that illustrate the cultural and environmental history at the summit and in the park.
To finish off the months of work, the floors were sealed with epoxy to prevent water intrusion, the electrical service was rebuilt and the entire structure was given a light exterior cleaning.
It is important to continue maintenance of our historic stone tower which faces harsh elements year after year. We couldn’t do it without your support. Friends is dedicated to the preservation of the historic tower, you can help with your time your talent or your tax deductible donation to Friends.
In 2009 we created an educational outreach program called Creatures of the Forest. The program consisted of three weeks of classes, four days each week for one hour. Our initial intent was to reach the local kids aged 4 to 10 years. We contacted several of the schools both public and private in addition to the homeschooling groups in area and aimed to get kids into the park. We believe kids need to be immersed into the environment.
Small groups of kids came each day, so that each child attended a total of 3 classes: birds, mammals, and biodiversity. The naturalist held classes at the day use shelter by Cascade Lake at Moran State Park. There were a few programs that were split between the park and the class room. Over all we considered it a huge success and ran the program from Winter of 2009 through the spring of 2010. We are already looking forward to the next round of kids in the park.
We strive to continue our educational outreach through the Summit Learning Center. We hope to provide positive educational experiences for our community and our visitors. Our creative possibilities and excitement are limited only by funding and volunteers. So join us!
On the second Sunday of each month we help organize volunteers to help the park in an outdoor area. We meet at the Park office at 10 am and from there the rangers will direct volunteers to the project at hand. Our first Second Sunday park project was helping clean up after the tree removal. Our Second Sunday projects continue through the year, but are sometimes rescheduled if we don’t have any volunteer help. You can learn more about upcoming projects on our homepage or follow us on Facebook.
The fishing derby has taken place for 14 years now, in honor of Bill Yarlott. It celebrates the beginning of fishing season and a rite of passage for kids. The derby is named after Bill because he was instrumental in getting Cascade Lake stocked when fish numbers began to decline. He was also influential in getting the hatchery up and running. Bill makes some fine tasting chili and has enjoyed watching youngsters over the years catch Kokanee, Cutthroat and Rainbow trout from Cascade Lake. Phillip Mill has volunteered to lead the event each year. Kids are encouraged to come to the lake early in the morning and present their catch by 11 am to be recorded for prizes. Every year, all the kids win a prize. The event is co-sponsored by Orcas Outfitters and King Marine, who generously donate prizes year after year.
Every year just about Earth Day many hardworking individuals gather, and at the direction of park rangers, clean up nature’s windy winter weather playground. Campsites are prepared for the busy season and trails are maintained, cleared of fallen trees and repaired as necessary. It may be one of our most labor intensive projects, but it’s the most rewarding for the efforts volunteers provide to park staff. Join us next year, celebrate Moran State Park, Earth Day and a free lunch. If it snows again we’ll have roaring fire and hot coffee to warm your hands.
The Steve Braun Memorial Triathlon is in its 15th year. Our triathlon is a fun and heartfelt island park event. The event is scheduled on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. We had nearly 100 participants last year and look forward to continuing the tradition of a triathlon in the most unique manner and Pacific Northwest location! Start training now. You can find registration and course information on the home page.
Interpretation and education have always been the vision of Friends. On your visit to the historic Stone Tower you’ll find porcelain panels which elegantly pay tribute to Robert Moran and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The panels provide information that was not previously available. They describe the generosity and foresight of Robert Moran who donated the original 3600 acres of land to Washington State Parks. The panels also illustrate the impact of the CCC in Moran State Park history and how they enhanced the great gift from Robert Moran. The interpretive panel project cost more than $20,000 and took approximately three years to research and complete. Knowing that potentially 800,000 visitors per year come to know more about the history behind Moran State Park and the Stone Tower makes it a legacy Friends will always be proud of. We are in the process of researching and raising funds for a third set of panels which will illustrate the cultural and environmental history at the summit and in the park.
The bike challenge started in 2007 as a funding event for the Kokanee Fish Hatchery now located in the park building across from Cascade Lake Day Use Area. The ride is a fun family event to celebrate the coming of fall and a ride up Mt. Constitution Rd with less traffic than our summer season. We have snack/refreshment tables at three main trail heads, Cascade Falls, Mountain Lake and the Summit. Riders are encouraged to go as far as they’d like. Some have taken the opportunity to see if they can make it all the way to the top, and they have indeed! You’ll even find the park rangers taking part to enjoy a challenging but awesome ride up to the Summit.
Art in the Park is one of our past events that served the community well. With local artists, various vendors, good food and entertainment, it was a beautiful way to spend the afternoon. The event was a great way to raise funds for the park and support local artists. Continue to check the web page because great events always resurface.