Orcas Island Nature Play Area


GreenWorks was hired by San Juan County to design a playground on Orcas Island—a 57-square-mile island beloved by locals and tourists alike for its lush natural resources and vibrant cultural attractions. Set in the heart of the community, the new nature-inspired play area will serve as the only playground in the 17 parks that make up the San Juan County’s park system.

An energetic and involved group of residents were instrumental in bringing the play area to fruition, both in long-term advocacy, as well as involvement in the design process. The group was inspired by Portland Parks & Recreation’s Westmoreland Nature Play Area and sought out GreenWorks to bring their vision to life. A local design review committee worked closely with the design team to identify a preferred alternative.

The theme of the play area is “island hopping,” which is evident in the park’s materials: several massive boulders represent islands, large log climbers give a nod to driftwood, and sand play mimics the island shores. An enthusiastic group of local craftspeople and artists have donated their time, talents, and materials in the construction of this project. The play area is set to open in the summer of 2019.