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Island Center Forest

The sun shining through evergreen trees with a dirt path running through it

2024 Island Center Forest Health Work

Project Overview -  April 3, 2024 meeting

During the summer or fall of 2024 King County Parks will conduct forest thinning projects on approximately 45 acres to improve forest health and improve habitat. Tree planting to increase forest diversity will occur in 2025. A virtual public meeting was held on April 3, 2024. A recording of meeting is available.  

Project Details 

  • Cut and remove, or thin, mid-age Douglas-fir over 36 acres. These stands of trees are very dense homogenous Douglas-fir, leading to stressed and dying trees. Thinning will retain the biggest and best trees and allow them to have more light and water to continue growing. Similar projects took place at Island Center Forest in 2008 and 2014 west of Cemetery trailhead and along Grinder trail.  
  • Remove red alder removal over 9 acres. Red alder are short-lived species and the alder in this area of the forest are nearing the end of their lifespan. To improve forest diversity and improve habitat this aged red alder will be removed and replanted with a mix of longer-lived conifers and some hardwoods. A similar project took place in 2014 east of the borrow pit along Middle Fork Trail at ICF.

Trails adjacent to and within the project boundaries will be closed during the 4 to 6 weeks of the project.

About the Park

Located in the center of Vashon Island, Island Center Forest is a Forest Stewardship Council® (license code FSC-C008225) certified working forest and natural area managed to demonstrate sustainable forest management while protecting and restoring the health of the site's habitat. Enjoy a picnic at the Forest Cathedral picnic shelter designed and built by islanders using local island wood.

Ten miles of multi-use trails lead visitors through 440 acres of consisting of forested stands, meadows, the Mukai Pond and the Meadowlake wetlands which form the headwaters of Judd Creek. Island Center Forest is habitat to a variety of wildlife, including more than 70 bird species.

Coinciding with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s designated hunting season in October, 220 acres of Island Center Forest are open for seasonal deer hunting and closed to other visitors, making this the only public land on Vashon Island where deer hunting has been allowed.

Park activities and facilities


Dog walking


Horseback riding

Mountain biking

Nature observation

Picnic shelter



10612 Southwest 188th Street, Vashon, WA 98070

Nearby Bus Stops

118, 119 on Vashon Hwy SW


There is a parking lot at Southwest 188th Street that can accommodate horse trailers. Parking is limited to cars only at the Cemetery Trailhead on 115th Avenue Southwest.


There are four trailheads:

Mukai Trailhead: At the end of 115th Avenue Southwest

Westside Trailhead: Off of Westside Highway West, north of the Vashon Recycling and Transfer Station

Cemetery Trailhead: At the end of 115th Avenue Southwest

188th Trailhead: At the end of Southwest 188th Street

2023 Deer Hunt

The annual limited deer-hunting season at King County Parks’ Island Center Forest is set for October 14-31, 2023. The park will be closed to all other users. 
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) oversees the deer hunt at Island Center Forest to better control the growing deer population on Vashon-Maury Island, where the deer have no natural predators. The hunting season during the second half of October coincides with WDFW’s designated modern firearm hunting season, when all firearms can be used, except rifles.  
Formerly owned and managed by Washington Department of Natural Resources, Island Center Forest is the only public land on Vashon Island where deer hunting has been allowed. The state transferred ownership of the forest to King County in 2004, and an agreement to continue a limited annual deer-hunting season was a part of the ownership transfer. 

The hunt is open to everyone with a big game deer license and tag for deer with the modern weaponry option. One deer (antlerless or buck) is allowed. The WDFW issues a special permit through a limited lottery for a second (antlerless only) deer with the modern weaponry tag.
For general questions, contact, 206- 206-477-4527 

Those interested in the second deer permit, please contact WDFW.