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Port Townsend’s Kah Tai Lagoon, before it was filled in. Photo is dated March 9, 1963. The lagoon was filled in shortly after this photo was taken. From the collections of the Jefferson County Historical Society [2010.25.796]



View of section of town taken from Eisenbeis Addition in 1903. Shows Mount Baker, Lincoln School, and Kah Tai Lagoon with railroad trestle. Looking north toward town, you can see that the lagoon completely blocked access to the land on the other side, protecting qatáy on three sides by water. From the collections of the Jefferson County Historical Society [2005.75.16]




The official name Kai Tai Lagoon is from the Chemakum name qətáaluqo, which was adapted into the S’Klallam word qatáy (kah-tai). The lagoon and a series of ponds in the qatáy Valley (roughly following present-day San Juan Avenue) were used to haul Native canoes from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Port Townsend Bay in order to avoid the treacherous rip tides around Point Wilson. These wetlands were a valuable resource for the S’Klallam, who frequently hunted waterfowl along the shores and gathered tule grass for weaving. George Vancouver wrote about the lagoon in his 1792 journal.


When the population of Port Townsend began to grow in the late 19th century, the lagoon became a barrier to expansion and the town built a series of wooden bridges across it. In the early 1930s, the new Sims Way isolated the lagoon from Port Townsend Bay and effects of the tides. Needing more land for marine projects, the bay side was dredged and filled. Despite public outcry, by 1963 the Southern end of the lagoon was also filled. With no new development, the land began to recover, and grasses, trees and shrubs along the highway were replanted.


In 1976, City Council rezoned twelve acres of the southern portion for development. Safeway built a 40,000 sf store on the property. Haines Street Park and Ride occupies a corner of that property.


This park is what remains of the northeastern-most portion of qatáy wetland and tidal flats, connected to the larger qatáy Valley that continues north to North Beach.




čičməhán Trail Map...



Chetzemoka Park Four Points Fowler Building Hudson Beach/Big Heart Laurel Grove Cemetery Memorial Field North Beach Northwest Maritime Center Port Townsend Ferry Overlook Point Hudson Port Townsend Post Office Point Wilson qatay Lagoon qatay Prairie qatay Valley entinel Rock Swan School Union Wharf/Indian Island


Click the markers on the map above to visit the
trail site pages.


Trail Sign Locations:


  1. Chetzemoka Park
    900 Jackson St. (main entrance)
  2. Hudson Beach/Big Heart
    103 Hudson St.
  3. Point Hudson
    103 Hudson St.
  4. Northwest Maritime Center
    Water St. & Monroe St.
  5. Village at Memorial Field
    Washington St.
  6. Fowler Building
    226 Adams St.
  7. Union Wharf/Indian Island
    Wharf on end of Taylor St.
  8. Port Townsend Ferry Overlook
    1200 Block of Washington St.
  9. Port Townsend Post Office
    1322 Washington St.
  10. qatáy Lagoon

  11. Laurel Grove Cemetery
    24th St. & Discovery Rd.
  12. Swan School / Klallam language
    2345 Kuhn St.
  13. Sentinel Rock
    1948 Blaine St. (Golf Course)
  14. qatáy Prairie
    1948 Blaine St.
  15. Four Points
    Blaine St. & and VanBuren St.
  16. qatáy Valley
    Pacific Ave.& Milo St.
  17. North Beach
    End of Kuhn St.
  18. Point Wilson
    Fort Worden







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Port Townsend Post Office 


 Laurel Grove Cemetery




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