Point Whitehorn nature reserve now open to public

Published on Thu, Nov 13, 2008 by Jack Kintner

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Point Whitehorn nature reserve now open to public

By Jack Kintner

The Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve opened last week as Whatcom County’s newest park.

The 54-acre site south of Birch Bay State Park includes over a mile of beach frontage on the south side of the point at the end of a three-quarters of a mile long trail.

The park was acquired by the Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department from the Whatcom Land Trust, who had traded another piece of property for it to the Trillium Corporation, former owners of an 1100-acre tract known as West Cherry Point that surrounds the new park.

Money to acquire and develop the property originally came from fines generated by the Washington State Department of Ecology on Olympic Pipeline when their underground gasoline pipeline ruptured in 1999, incinerating Whatcom Falls Park.

The land trust developed the trail. Pets are prohibited, explained county park system spokesperson Lynne Givler, “because it’s a nature preserve and a place to walk and observe nature, not a place to exercise your dog. We’ve also done that with the Stimpson Family Nature reserve on Lake Louise Road and Canyon Lake Community Forest off Mosquito Lake Road.”

The ban also includes horses, bicycles and motorized vehicles except those necessary for disabled people to be able to negotiate the trail, which is level and barrier-free from the parking lot to the edge of the bluff above the beach.

“The last part is pretty steep,” Givler said, “and though it has steps right at the end we’ll anticipating having to re-build them every so often as the storms that hit that part of the beach are impressive, easily capable of wiping them out.”

The parking lot and access to the preserve is on Koehn Road a quarter of a mile south of the fire station at the west end of Grandview Road.
The preserve is open from dawn to dusk.