Tatoosh Island, Cape Flattery

Tatoosh Island, Cape Flattery

by | Feb 26, 2019

Tatoosh Island is the largest of a small group of islands about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) offshore (northwest) from Cape Flattery, Washington. The island’s name comes from a Makah chieftain. The islands are part of the Makah Reservation and historically were used for summer fish camps. Currently, there is no resident population on the islands, and access requires written permission from the Makah Tribe.

The Cape Flattery Light was built on Tatoosh Island in 1854 to mark the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The lighthouse is 65 feet (20 m) tall and the light was at a height of 165 feet (50 m) above sea level. A fog signal building with a 12 inch (300 mm) steam whistle was added in 1872. In 2008, the lighthouse was decommissioned when a skeletal tower of 30 feet (9 m) was built with a solar-powered LED light. The U.S. Coast Guard removed old generators and fuel tanks in 2009 and returned the island to the Makah Tribe.

Tatoosh Island is home to a diverse community of marine algae and animals. Because of its isolation, climate, and location in the ecologically productive northeastern Pacific, it is an ideal site for scientific research. Beginning in 1967, the University of Washington has conducted studies of marine ecology to examine how different species interact and are linked together. This work has shown how environmental changes and species extinctions affect the entire food web. Read more here and here. Explore more of Tatoosh Island here:

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