News Flash

News Releases

Posted on: December 13, 2021

Tillicum Excursion closes at Blake Island Marine State Park

Long-term contract with concessionaire Argosy Cruises comes to an end

OLYMPIA – Dec. 13, 2021 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announced that Tillicum Excursion at Blake Island Marine State Park will close. Argosy Cruises, the concessionaire that operated Tillicum Excursion (formerly known as Tillicum Village) made the difficult decision to opt out of their long-standing contract with Parks due to challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are sad to end Tillicum Excursion as we always saw huge opportunity in our operation on Blake Island,” said Molly Schlobohm, chief operating officer for Argosy Cruises. “We were really just scratching the surface on what could be offered out on the island but unfortunately, COVID-19 and the loss of revenue needed to continue operating on the island has forced us to scale back and simply focus on our core business of boat tours, charters and transportation.”

Parks intends to keep the concession closed during 2022 to assess the needs of the buildings and actively plan for the future. Parks staff are interested in seeking input from potential partners or concessionaires as they develop concepts for the future of structures and programming on the island. Interested parties should contact parks development division manager Todd Tatum at todd.tatum@parks.wa.gov for more information. 

“Tillicum Excursion offered a unique opportunity for many Washingtonians and visitors to explore the beauty of Blake Island and the rich history of the area,” said Tatum. “We hope to continue to offer programming and enriching experiences and want to do this in a way that respects the past, present and future of the island.”

Blake Island remains open to the public. The 472-acre marine camping park includes five miles of saltwater beach shoreline and approximately 655 acres of saltwater bedland. The park is currently only accessible by private boat. To learn more about Blake Island, visit the Parks website

From 1962-2009, Argosy Cruises provided transportation to Tillicum Village on Blake Island. In 2009, Argosy Cruises took over the concession from the former operator making them the sole provider. Over the years, Argosy Cruises invested significant funds to improve the experience including the development of a new programming and the expansion of other experiences on the island, including guided nature walks and a walk-up café that catered to boaters visiting the state park. Parks and Argosy Cruises are working together with a local historian to ensure all art and regalia are preserved in an appropriate space.

News media contacts:
Amanda McCarthy, Interim Communications Director
media@parks.wa.gov 

Todd Tatum, Parks Development Division Manager
todd.tatum@parks.wa.gov 

__________________________________________________________________

About Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. 

About Argosy Cruises
For more than 70 years, Argosy Cruises has been part of the Northwest fabric. Founded as the Spring Street Water Taxi and then through the years operating as Seattle Harbor Tours and now as Argosy Cruises, our family-owned and Seattle-operated company has become the Northwest's premier cruise company.

News release number: 21-074

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in News Releases

State Parks Commission to meet in Pullman

Posted on: September 13, 2022

State Parks expands Beacon Rock

Posted on: June 15, 2022

State Parks Commission to meet in Kalama

Posted on: November 30, 2021

State parks launches new online store

Posted on: November 29, 2021

Sno-Park fees to increase this season

Posted on: October 5, 2021

State Parks Commission to meet in Richland

Posted on: September 3, 2021

Next Discover Pass free day is Aug. 25

Posted on: August 12, 2021

State Parks launches gift cards

Posted on: June 2, 2021

Sno-Park fees to increase this fall

Posted on: March 18, 2021

State Parks Commission to meet next week

Posted on: January 20, 2021

State Parks Commission to meet next week

Posted on: November 10, 2020

Sno-Park permits go on sale Nov. 1

Posted on: October 8, 2020

Next State Parks free day is Oct. 10

Posted on: September 28, 2020

State Parks announces free days for 2021

Posted on: September 22, 2020

State Parks Commission to meet next week

Posted on: September 10, 2020

State Parks prohibits campfires statewide

Posted on: September 8, 2020

Next State Parks free day is Aug. 25

Posted on: August 18, 2020

State parks seek volunteers for 2020

Posted on: December 11, 2019

State Parks announces winter schedule

Posted on: October 21, 2019

Sno-Park permits go on sale Nov. 1

Posted on: October 8, 2019

Sept. 28 is next State Parks free day

Posted on: September 9, 2019

Riverside State Park adds cabins

Posted on: August 20, 2019

State Parks announces free day March 19

Posted on: February 25, 2019

Help improve safety on Willapa Hills Trail

Posted on: November 21, 2018

2019 State Parks Calendar on sale now

Posted on: November 15, 2018

Sno-Park permits go on sale Nov. 1

Posted on: October 30, 2018

State Parks announces 2019 free days

Posted on: October 17, 2018

State Parks announces winter schedule

Posted on: October 8, 2018

History comes alive at Sacajawea State Park

Posted on: September 12, 2018

Celebrate autumn at Lake Sylvia State Park

Posted on: September 4, 2018