San Juan Historical Society and its museum shares and interprets the story of the peoples of San Juan Island.

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Salmon Bank of San Juan Island

May 4, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Hours of operation will be on May 4, 5, 11, and 12, from Noon until 3:00 p.m.

San Juan Island National Historical Park is pleased to participate in this year’s History Lives Here events with two weekends of public programs about the Salmon Bank of San Juan Island. Park rangers will staff a booth full of information regarding the supreme fishing local known as the Salmon Bank, located just offshore from South Beach.

The Salmon Bank is an underwater shelf extending off the southern part of San Juan Island into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. When salmon migrate from the sea into the island channels, the shelf forces them up toward the surface, making them easier to catch.

Humans have been fishing for salmon on this stretch of water for thousands of years beginning with the Coastal Salish people who first inhabited the area. European settlers began fishing at the Bank in the mid-1800s, adopting methods from the Coast Salish. By the early 20th century, commercial fisheries dominated salmon fishing along the banks and contributed much to commerce, and trade in the islands, but also inflicted tremendous pressure on the salmon population. By the 1920s, the heyday of commercial fishing at the Bank had ended. Today, limited seasons for sport and commercial fishing are usually allowed.

The Bank is a unique and beautiful place. Having contributed so much to the history of the San Juans, the Bank continues to hold a special place in the hearts and minds of islanders, and visitors alike. Come join Rangers and volunteers from the San Juan Island National Historical Park at the Banks as they bring to life this unique piece of history in the Pacific Northwest. Staff from The Whale Museum (TWM) will be available on May 12 at this event to talk about the relationship and connection between salmon and the Southern Resident Killer Whales. TWM staff will also have items available for touching and viewing, such as whale teeth, baleen, and bones.


May 4, 2019
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm