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Lummi Island

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File:Aerial view of Lummi Island.jpg
Aerial view of Lummi Island.
File:View from Lummi Island.jpg
View from Lummi Island.

Lummi Island lies at the southwest corner of Whatcom County, Washington, USA, between the mainland part of the county and offshore San Juan County. The Lummi Indian Reservation is situated on a peninsula east of the island, but does not include Lummi Island. The island has a land area of 23.97 km² (9.255 sq mi) and had a population of 822 as of the 2000 census. The population nearly doubles in summer when property owners from both Canada and the U.S. arrive for summer fun and relaxation.

The island is accessible by a 22 car ferry, the Whatcom Chief run by Whatcom County Public Works.[1] It is a 6 minute passage from Gooseberry Point on the mainland to the island. On the island there is one general store, two restaurants, several bed and breakfasts, a small library, post office, fire station, one church, a Boys & Girls club, a Salvation Army camp, and a vintage 1919 elementary school. The Beach Store Cafe is a popular local hangout with a small bar and serves seafood and traditional cafe fare. The Willows Inn serves more expensive fare with seasonal treats from island farms and fishers. The historic Lummi Island Congregational Church sits next to its quiet, wooded cemetery. Lummi Island is best known for its unique reefnet salmon fishery, eclectic population of artists, picturesque seascapes and rural setting. Its narrow, scenic and winding roads are popular with bicyclers. A trail to Lummi Mountain takes hikers through the Baker Preserve to stunning high views of the San Juan and Gulf Islands. The trail is maintained by the Lummi Island Heritage Trust.

Public education for island residents is provided by the Ferndale School District. It operates one elementary school (K-6) on the island, Beach Elementary School. Middle and high school students attend schools on the mainland.


The island was originally called Sa nam a o ("High Mountain")[2] and Skallaham by the native people. In 1792 Spanish explorers dubbed it Isla de Pacheco, and it was later known as McLoughlin Island. In 1853, the U.S. National Geodetic Survey charted the island as Lummi, naming it after the tribe. It is believed the name comes from luminara, referring to the bonfires the Spanish saw upon arrival and whence the tribe also took their name,[3] though there are also theories that it is derived from a native word or phrase.[2] The Island post office came into existence in 1882. At that time mail was addressed to "Beach Washington" which was the name of the town. Today Island mail is addressed to "Lummi Island Washington", though the Beach School and Beach Store Cafe retain the Beach community name.


The island hosts a weekly farmers' market in the spring and summer, a chili festival in mid-July, and a Christmas party for island children.

Lummi Island is also home to a large number of artists who conduct studio tours on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the first weekend of December.


The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Lummi Island has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.[4]


  1. ^ Lummi Island Ferry, Whatcom County Public Works, retrieved 2010-12-21 
  2. ^ a b Island Vacation Rentals: Lummi Island History
  3. ^ Friends of Island Library: A Very Brief History of Lummi Island and the Islanders, 1998
  4. ^ Climate Summary for Lummi Island

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