Between the Arches

Newsletter for the Friends of Moran State Park

Words from Sandi – Sandi Talt, Friends Board President

Friends of Moran is excited to celebrate the Centennial of Moran State Park and the opening of the Summit Visitor Center! We have a number of “Walks and Talks” and four Music in the Park events planned for this summer. COVID has complicated some of our plans, but we have alternate plans in place to ensure this will be a year to remember! Thanks to Zoom, we have been able to attend board meetings and other planning sessions virtually and allows for members to participate wherever they may be. I have wintered in Arizona and able to carry on FOM business easily, and the best part of participating remotely—no mask! Like everyone, we have been impacted by COVID. We were unable to open our Summit Gift Shop last season, which is our chief way to fundraise. The Gift Shop couldn’t be open at all without the support of FOM’s volunteers, a great group that I thank wholeheartedly. Stop in at the summit to check our progress! We are opening this year on a limited basis until the Summit Visitor Center is completed mid- June. People often ask, “What does Friends of Moran do?” Profits primarily from our Summit Gift Shop and generous donations from members, park visitors, and various organizations allow us to assist in funding a number of projects: The Moran Fish Hatchery; a TOPO map outside of the new visitors’ center; a series of informative and fun “Walks and Talks”; Music in the Park Centennial events through a Kwiaht collaboration; interpretive specialists from AmeriCorps; and through OCIF’s help, we were able to help fund the milling of fallen trees to build the new Summit Visitor Center. All of our efforts are designed to educate and inform guests of the historic, cultural and natural environments of the Park and preserve its unique beauty for future generations.

Music in the Park – Melissa Rodriguez, Centennial Organizer

The summer of 2021, when life went back to “normal” (well, sort of…Maybe?). We at Friends of Moran, with the support of Kwiaht, are very excited to bring you a Music in the Park concert series, which also includes opportunities for the whole family to meet the Park Rangers, learn about the park’s wildlife and plants, and discover how sound impacts people and wildlife, too. Let’s get back to dancing, singing, gathering and smiling…..well, only if you’re in the same household, wearing a mask and socially distancing. Sharing is not caring anymore. However, we can share some great music, outdoors in our beautiful Moran State Park. All the concerts will be free, outdoors and at the Cascade Lake Shelter area starting at 5pm. Please join us and support these wonderful island musicians. We hope you join us for these special acoustic, educational and scenic treats!

  • Saturday, July 31 – Brograss Boys
  • Saturday, August 14 – Tow Away Zone and The Daves
  • Thursday, August 26 – Tom Rawson and Irthlingz
  • Saturday, September 4 – JP and the OK Rhythm Boys

Straight from Kate (Your Guide to Etiquette)- Kate Weatherford, Moran Ranger Office

Dear Kate: Is it ok to celebrate our anniversary with champagne in the Southend Campground picnic shelter? We’d like to celebrate our happiness with the whole campground! – Happily Marrieds

Dear Happily Marrieds: First, let me say, congratulations! Moran State Park is a wonderful place to celebrate an anniversary. Thank you for considering the park! All picnic shelters at Moran State Park are considered picnic sites where, under the state law, alcohol may be consumed by those 21 and older. The Southend picnic shelter is one of our smaller shelters. To protect the privacy of our reservation holders, the Southend loop is only available to visitors who have reserved a campsite at that loop. As the most popular loop in the park, reservations open nine months in advance, and summer weekends fill up fast. With limited parking close to the campground, I suggest reserving a campsite in that loop for access to the shelter. And keep your celebration to a limited number of guests. Please be respectful of other campers in the loop. Some may be glad to participate in the fun, but not everyone may be interested in such an event. Many campers come to nature for peace and quiet. You may also consider one of the park’s other picnic shelters for your anniversary celebration. The Cascade Lake day use shelter can be reserved online and can accommodate about 50 people at picnic tables; it also has a fireplace! This is our most popular space for receptions, birthday parties, and reunion celebrations. Cheers! – Kate

Dogs and Rules – Justin Krogstad, Ranger and Operations Manager

The natural majesty of Moran State Park is what makes it special — to be enjoyed by both our human visitors and their four-legged friends. It’s easy for our guests to feel the call of the wild out here. But before you let your pet off-leash to explore the park’s natural wonders, please note that it could result in a hefty fine! Unlike national parks, Washington state parks welcome leashed dogs in our campgrounds, day-use areas and trail systems. This dog-friendly policy has been well- received, and the vast majority of our guests follow the rules during their visit. But did you know that dog-related issues are the most common complaint brought to our rangers? Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Moran, or you’ve lived on the island your whole life, we require dogs to be leashed in all areas of our park, and this even includes your campsite. And it’s not just a park rule — i t’ s th e  l a w  !

Common Pet-related violations in State Parks:

Dogs off leash. Washington state law for pets in all state parks requires the physical control of your dog on a leash no longer than 8 feet. In addition to a leash, carrying your pet is also allowed. There are no exceptions for remote electronic collars, most service/comfort animals, or this frequently heard misunderstanding: “My dog is nice and well-trained to verbal command.” While we absolutely love to hear that your dog is obedient and friendly, it still needs to be under physical control. And keep this in mind: Some people are just plain afraid of dogs, even if your Fido is the sweetest thing on four legs. Out of respect for fellow park visitors, please keep your dog on a leash!

Barking and biting. The law states: “No person shall allow his/her pet or domestic animal to bite or in any way molest or annoy other park visitors. No person shall permit his/her pet or domestic animal to bark or otherwise disturb the peace and tranquility of the park.” These infractions happen mostly in the campground setting, and negatively affects our guests’ experience.

Poop. Yep, it’s a problem! Dog/pet poop left on the ground is our most common litter item now found in our park. You are required to pick up after your pet. But that’s only half the job. Pick it up, bag it and put in the trash containers.

Please note: Each of these pet-related laws carries a $99 citation. Here is a full list of state laws (Washington Administrative Code 52-32-060) regarding pets in parks. As you might expect, our rangers here at Moran State Park strive to keep you (AND your pets) safe during your visit. We sincerely appreciate your help maintaining the park’s natural beauty and guest appeal. If you have any questions regarding our  park rules or laws, please see the Park Rules posters? at our info boards located at the campgrounds, or feel free to contact me directly at Thank you! – Ranger Krogstad

The Fawns are Here! – Shona Aitken, Wolf Hollow Rehab Center

This is the time of year when our local Black-tailed Deer give birth to their fawns. You might come across a tiny, spotted fawn curled up in the grass in your yard or tucked under the bushes next to the trail when you’re hiking in the woods. It will probably be all on its own with no Mom in sight, but that’s perfectly normal. For the first couple of weeks a fawn’s legs are too weak and wobbly to follow Mom through the woods, so its best chance of survival is to lie still and quiet, camouflaged by its spotted coat. Mom may leave her youngster for 6-8 hours before returning to feed it and perhaps move it to a different spot nearby. If you find a fawn, the best thing to do is quietly move away and leave it in peace so Mom can return later. Please don’t get too close, touch the fawn or try to move it. The exception to this is if you find a fawn lying in the middle of the road. This usually happens when a fawn is slowly following Mom across the hard surface and a car suddenly appears. Mom leaps off into the bushes and the fawn instinctively drops to the ground and freezes. If the fawn is unhurt, the best course of action is to slide your hand under its belly, gently carry it a few feet off the side of the road and leave it in a safe, sheltered spot. Mom is probably nearby, waiting for you to leave so she can return for her baby. For their first few weeks of life fawns are extremely vulnerable, not only to natural predators like eagles, but also to our dogs, so this is an especially good time to keep your dog close and not let it run off through the woods. If you are concerned that a fawn may be injured or separated from Mom, please give us a call. We’d be happy to help you work out what’s going on. Wolf Hollow 360-378-5000.

Within Moran State Park please report any injured or orphaned wildlife to the Rangers – 360-376-2326.

Meet our Awesome AmeriCorps!

Friends of Moran brought in Deanna and Rachel for two ten and a half month AmeriCorps positions at Moran State Park to help Friends develop interpretive, educational programs for park visitors. AmeriCorps is a government program that places young adults with organizations that need their skills and energy. It’s a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and to also help serve local community needs. Both Rachel and Deanna are serving as interpretive naturalists for the park while helping with the summer Walk & Talks program and social media management. They will also work at the new Summit Visitor Center when it opens. Here’s what they have to say about their experiences working at the park and with Friends of Moran:

“It has been such an interesting winter and spring living and working here on Orcas Island. I moved here from Columbus, Ohio, and the San Juans are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. My favorite part about working with Friends of Moran is being able to learn from a nonprofit doing work I believe in. I studied parks and recreation for my bachelor’s degree and am pursuing a master’s in environmental policy and nonprofit studies, so FOM’s mission is one that aligns perfectly with my education and previous experiences. Having this job during the pandemic has been challenging in some ways, but it has given me the opportunity to learn new technologies and ways of communicating with people virtually. Deanna and I have some new ideas for Junior Ranger programs this summer which we’re both excited about, and we hope to see you and your future junior rangers there!” -Rachel

“Being able to live and work in Moran has been such a fun and unique experience, one I am sure to remember fondly for the rest of my life! As someone from Maine who had never been west of Pennsylvania before this, getting to know Washington and Orcas Island has been so wonderful. I graduated from Wheaton College (MA) this past spring with a bachelor’s in biology and environmental studies, and I plan on continuing my education after this experience. I began this job with an interest in helping park visitors grow their passion for the natural world and will leave with many new experiences and skills. Creating programs in the virtual world has been an exciting challenge, and I’ve enjoyed being a part of the innovative changes to environmental education. Rachel and I are both so excited for the Summit Visitor’s Center to open. We would love for you to stop by and talk with us soon!” -Deanna

Park Update – Chris Guidotti, Area Manager

Pandemic Impacts

This has certainly been a challenging year for all of us. For State Parks it was quite a roller coaster. When Covid first hit, we closed parks and laid off some of the seasonal staff we had just hired. Since almost 80% of our budget comes from revenue we collect, the park closures left us with a big budget deficit and we were preparing for staff layoffs. When the Governor began to allow outdoor activities to resume in May, State Parks across Washington were inundated with people. Some areas saw 200 percent increases in visitation. While we did not see increases as dramatic as that in the San Juan Islands—due to overnight lodging restrictions and reduced ferry service—we were also impacted. The increased crowds and strict covid protocols presented our staff with immense challenges.

Staff Kudos

I have to say that I am so proud of the staff here at Moran and throughout the area. They rose to the challenges and handled the increased pressures with dignity and grace. What a team! While the increased attendance came with challenges, it also came with good news on the budget front. By July we projected that we would make up the budget deficit and by October we projected that there might be enough revenue to move forward with hiring some new staff that the legislature had authorized in their supplemental budget. At Moran we were lucky enough to get two new full-time positions, a Ranger 1 and a Maintenance Mechanic. We also received two new seasonal park aides. What a turnaround! The backlog of building, facility and equipment maintenance is daunting, but we are hopeful that we may at least be able to keep from falling farther behind.

Making Room

In addition to the new staff, there are a couple of other changes we are making at the park this year. The first is that we are going to close our group camp area at Mountain Lake and convert it to day-use parking. Parking in the Mountain Lake area is chronically overcapacity. This change was recommended by consultants hired to make recommendations for how to improve the park over the next 10 years. Since the group camp was closed due to Covid, we decided to make the change now. These decisions are always difficult because while they provide new opportunities for some visitors, they take away opportunities for others. Another change that was recommended by the consultants is to allow public access to the Camp Moran Environmental Learning Center (ELC) beach and dock near the intersection of Olga Road and the South End Camp Area road. The Cascade Lake Day Use Area is another one of the areas in the park that is consistently overcapacity. This change should reduce some of the congestion in the day-use area and open a new portion of the shoreline to the public. Groups that rented Camp Moran in the past had exclusive use of the beach area. They will still have access to the beach from the ELC but will need to share with the public.

We have a great team out here in the Islands and are looking forward to a busy summer providing our visitors with quality recreational experience while protecting the natural, cultural, and historic recourses entrusted to our care. — Chris

The Other-Worldly Ghost Pipe – Kristy Bredin, Herbalist

A plant that has inspired poems (Barbara Kingsolver), wonder, and intrigue for anyone who has stumbled upon it in the forest, Ghost Pipe’s (Monotropa uniflora, Indian Pipe, Ghost Flower) is a powerful plant teacher and medicine to herbalists who know it. With brain-like mazes of roots and ghostly white stalks sometimes with tints of purple and pink, Ghost Pipe seems to thrive in the midst of disturbance, growing in the middle of many old dirt roads and trails, determinedly pushing through any duff, dead logs, or fallen branches in its way.

Ghost Pipe is a saprophyte, a “parasitic” plant (often mistaken for a mushroom) that contains no chlorophyll and therefore cannot make its own food. With roots that mimic tree roots, it shares in the nutrients that move between the trees of the forest through the mycelial web in which they are all connected. (Some herbalists think it also shares in the information that is passed through the network.) One might view this as trickery or self-serving parasitic behavior, but it is thought that, much like its medicine for humans, the Ghost Pipe roots serve as a peaceful haven for mycelium amidst the large amounts of information passing through mycelial network. Ghost pipe is directly linked to the health of the forest—it grows in healthy boreal forests from continent to continent throughout the northern hemisphere and can grow for centuries in one place. Some years, depending on rainfall amount and timing, many plants will return to life in a vibrant flush, usually producing flowering stalks in late June or July. Scientists helping to restore a woodland in Massachusetts that had been decimated by logging, ploughing, haying, and grazing were surprised to find that Ghost Pipe was already coming up amidst their early reforestation efforts. A small miracle, considering that its seeds consist of only ten cells and are solely dependent on specific fungi to nourish and help them get established. In this way, Ghost Pipe brings hope that even places most impacted by human activities can evolve again into healthy, diverse forests.

A medicine for intense physical pain, emotional pain, and overwhelming experiences, Ghost pipe helps us to step outside of these experiences and work through them from a calm, detached place. Ghost Pipe was used by the Salish externally for wounds that would not heal, as well as for colds, fevers, pain, and toothache. Just as it works with the nervous system of the forest, Ghost Pipe was historically used in nervous system conditions as an “antispasmodic, sedative for convulsions, epilepsy, spasms, restlessness, and nervous irritability and as an opium substitute for pain.” (Foster and Hobbs) With its deep connection to the spirit of the forest and medicine for our consciousness, Ghost pipe is a teacher of interconnectedness and community, of the great cycle of life and death. It is a powerful medicine for our times, a time of great transition and shifting consciousness: it helps us move through the overwhelming problems that we face.

When new to identifying plants in the wild, it’s important to get a couple of good field guides, such as Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and Mackinnon and the Peterson’s field guides. Be aware of toxic and poisonous plants in our area. Always be 100% sure of the identification of wild plants you intend to use for food and medicine and that you know how to safely prepare them. It’s also important to honor land permissions and consider your impact when harvesting herbs in the wild. Please explore and observe these plants during your time in Moran State Park but refrain from harvesting them there. If harvesting in another location, be sure you have permission to harvest. Never harvest more than 10% of a plant population in an area to encourage sustainable re-growth. Look for more plants articles from Kristy and Madrona Murphy on our website during the summer. To learn more, please attend Kristy’s Walk and Talk: Medicinal Plants of Moran State Park Sunday, August 1st, 6 – 7pm at the Cascade Shelter.

References: Sean Donohue, http:///greenmanramblings.blogspot/com; Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon, Plants of the Pacific Northwest; Steven Foster and Christopher Hobbs, Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs Ryan Drum, “Three Herbs: Yarrow, Queen Anne’s Lace, and Indian Pipe” Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life

Summit Gift Shop Open – and Moving! – Kelly Puccio and Rachel Baker

While the summit of Mount Constitution is known for its iconic stone watchtower, it’s also popular for another reason: the gift shop! Friends of Moran was unable to open the gift shop at all in 2020, but we anticipate being in full swing by summer. While the gift shop is currently in its traditional building, we are looking forward to opening the Summit Visitor Center this summer and moving our shop into the new building across the parking lot in mid-June. The gift shop is known for its diverse selection of goods celebrating Moran, Orcas Island, and the Pacific Northwest. We carry shirts, hats, mugs, magnets, stickers, books, walking sticks, posters, and kids’ toys, among many other items. We hope you stop by sometime and say “Hi!” What’s new?

  • New merchandise like stickers celebrating Moran’s centennial!
  • The gift shop is now “card only” (no cash), with a $5 minimum on purchases.
  • Only one person or group is allowed in the shop at a time to accommodate social distancing.
  • Masks are required for in-store shopping.

Newsletter Quiz:

Who knows this historic tool? Robert Moran used this! What did it do?

Email your answers (along with your name or “anonymous”) to – first correct answer will be mentioned in the next Newsletter!

Thank you!

Your support makes all of this possible!