All About Harstine Island
- by Jodie Vinson
The 15-mile long island is covered in woodlands and sparsely populated along its circumference with waterfront homes, vacation rentals, and a gated community at Harstene Pointe to the north. The waters of Case Inlet lie between it and the Key Peninsula to the east, while Pickering Passage borders the island's northwest shores. To the South, the quiet passages of Peale and Dana separate it from the mainland. The island is known for its untouched wildlife with frequent sightings of eagles and various seashore birds, deer, raccoon and red fox. Its peaceful perimeter is enhanced by views of the surrounding Sound and Olympic Mountains. The island was named by the Wilkes expedition for Lt. Henry cemetery, whose frequent name changes account for various spellings of the island still in use today.
Harstene Island was first settled in the late 1800's. An old cemetery, overgrown with giant cedar trees, near the south end of Jarrell's Cove pays tribute to early inhabitants. Until the bridge was erected in 1969, a small 4-car ferry serviced the island's resident farmers and foresters. Due to a summer sunbelt condition caused by the areas proximity to the Olympic Mountains, the island is ideal for growing trees. A local christmas tree farm supplied trees for tacoma during the 50's and 60's.
Case Inlet Shoreline Association