KEEP IT WILD – Little Cranberry Lake

January 31, 2024

Background: The City of Anacortes plans to construct a boat launch at Little Cranberry Lake. The purpose of the boat launch/ramp is to reduce erosion near the dam caused by people launching canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. Little Cranberry Lake is small at 24.5 acres. Engineers from the Department of Ecology inspected the dam in 2022 and found erosion on the upstream slope of the dam. Their report recommends the area be backfilled with soil.

  • Little Cranberry Lake is habitat, a haven for animals like river otters and birds including swans, ducks and great blue herons.
  • There are islands in the lake with sensitive plants
  • Public boat launches are available at Heart Lake, Lake Erie, Washington Park, Seafarers Memorial Park, Campbell Lake Water Access Site, Burrows Bay Boat launch.
  • A boat launch on this small lake could attract more use and erosion along the shoreline of the dam
  • Many people want to see this jewel of a lake stay wild, with no new development
  • Toxic algae have been found in the lake the last 2 summers. Improved access and more use impacts water quality and increases the risk of aquatic invasive. Currently, there is no active management to prevent the introduction of invasive plants and animals such as invasive snails and bivalves
  • The Anacortes Community Forest Lands (ACFL) Plan of 2021 has a GOAL: Identify areas of environmental, historic, cultural and/or biological significance, encourage their preservation, and regulate development which could cause significant deterioration of these qualities.
  • Anacortes Community Forest Lands POLICY: Whistle Lake, Heart Lake and Little Cranberry Lake watersheds should be managed to maintain their pristine and/or fragile environment and to preserve watersheds, wildlife habitats, wetlands, aesthetic values, and recreational uses with priority for residents.
  • The Anacortes Community Forest Lands are CRITICAL AREAS having the designation as Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas.
  • A boat launch or ramp is an inappropriate solution to address the “erosion near the dam” and the boat launch or ramp subverts the Anacortes Community Forest Lands Plan to preserve Little Cranberry Lake.

Take Action by sending comments to Bob Vaux, Assistant Director, Anacortes Parks and Recreation and/or
Contact your Anacortes City Council Members:

TJ Frantini
Christine Cleland-McGrath
Carolyn Moulton
Anthony Young
Bruce McDougall
Amanda Hubik
Ryan Walters

Every few days on our local trails, I hear from people who live in more populated areas to the south of us, and they tell me the same story. They are witnessing increased damage from overuse and abuse of their favorite natural areas. Can we keep the same thing from happening to the Anacortes Community Forest Lands? Yes, but the management of the ACFL will have to have the courage to say “No” to a multitude of interest groups and they will have to listen to our wild neighbors whose homes are at risk of being spoiled. Building any kind of structure on Little Cranberry Lake represents a step in the wrong direction. The idea may have merit, but the location is not appropriate. Little Cranberry Lake can be even healthier than it is. Lets keep it as wild as possible“. – Bob Jepperson

It’s one of the crown jewels in our Forest Lands and deserves great care and forethought. It’s one of the few small lakes that is relatively undisturbed and a haven for wildlife and people alike. As stewards, we need to give careful thought to each change made, as these will have ripples of unintended consequences far into the future.” – Peggy Woods

Barred Owl photo by: Peggy Woods
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