"}
Outdoors

An Earth Day Birthday

Washington State Parks turn 100

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Baking cakes and putting candles in them is always nice. And handing out presents is awesome. But, as far as I’m concerned, nothing says “Happy Birthday” quite like throwing a kick-ass party.

Last month, our very own Washington State Park System—the fourth oldest state park system in the nation—turned 100.  If you’re interested in helping our State Parks mark their Centennial season, dust off your tent, get your boats/bikes/hiking boots spruced up and zip on over to any of the 121 individual parks scattered far and wide across our incomparably diverse, scenic wonderland of a state. A veritable festival of adventure and exploration awaits.

For starters, here in Whatcom County we have been gifted with a most extraordinarily well-endowed triune of awe-inspiring, state-owned parcels of open space—space that not only allows for copious amounts of world-class relaxing and recreating, but also serves to better and more meaningfully inform us about the unique blend of natural, cultural and historical resources that together, help shape the landscape, and the character, of this region.

In Blaine, literally straddling the United States/Canada border on the tranquil shores of Semiahmoo Bay, we have Peace Arch State Park, a 20-acre day-use area centered around the 67-foot Peace Arch monument. Just a quick hop, skip and jump—or brisk kayak paddle around Semiahmoo Spit—from there awaits the sublime shorefront resplendence of Birch Bay State Park, a 194-acre camping park crisscrossed with trails, dotted with a bevy of tent and trailer sites, camp fire rings, picnic tables and 8,225 feet of saltwater shoreline tailor-made for shellfishing, bird watching and as much barefoot splash dancing as your lower extremities can handle.

Meanwhile, just a quick cruise down State Route 11 south from Bellingham, you’ll find the lush coastal forests of Larrabee State Park (Washington State’s first state park, established in 1915), a 2,683-acre park with 8,100 feet of beach-laden saltwater shoreline, two freshwater lakes (Fragrance Lake and Lost Lake), an expansive, non-motorized, multiple-use trail system and the cloud-raking hump of Eocene sandstone, Chuckanut Ridge. 

For those adventure-seeking souls willing to travel a little farther afoot, on Whidbey Island you can lose yourself in Deception Pass State Park (a 4,134-acre marine/camping park harboring more trails, beaches and boat launches than you can shake a stick at), Joseph Whidbey State Park (a scenically situated, 112-acre day use area perched along the shores of the Strait of Juan De Fuca), Fort Ebey State Park (a 645-acre seaside gem featuring one of the most beloved, low-elevation mountain bike trail systems north of Seattle), Fort Casey State Park (a 467-acre marine camping park containing the fascinating ruins of a once-strategic, seacoast fortification that helped create a “Triangle of Fire”) and South Whidbey State Park (featuring 347 acres of jaw-dropping, coastal old-growth forest). 

Last, but hardly least, gleaming like bright, shaggy pearls among the labyrinthine channel waters around San Juan Island (Lime Kiln Point State Park) and Orcas Island (Moran State Park) awaits the true treasure trove of the entire Washington State Park System—a rarified grouping of marine parks accessible exclusively by boat. 

Along with shoving off toward the 564-acre “crown jewel” of the Marine Parks—Sucia Island State Park—you can aim your seaworthy vessel of choice at Matia Island, Patos Island, Turn Island, James Island, Jones Island, Posey Island, Skull Island, Stuart Island, Doe Island, Clark Island, and Blind Island.  

Our state park system might be a 100 years old but, fortunately for all of us, it is still alive and kicking, an enduring legacy of public access, outdoor adventure and ecological preservation that can, and should be, celebrated the whole year through.

ICU
More Outdoors...
Recreation Roundup
An all-season outdoor expo

As I write these words from my perch on the sixth floor of the Herald Building, it’s early February and our corner of the world is blanketed in approximately six inches of still-accumulating snow. 

Despite the winter weather, Bellinghamsters are still out and about in full force. So far…

more »
Nordic Night
Putting the kick in cross-country

“It’s the perfect way to fly,” my old trail crew buddy Tryg said as he jammed his ski poles into the snow and pushed off into the night.

He was right. Even moving uphill on a pair of heirloom Madshus 210s he glided over the groomers so quickly and with such little apparent effort…

more »
Couples Therapy
The ins and outs of love

If you’re not in the right frame of mind to commemorate Valentine’s Day by gazing at your paramour across a candle-lit table, we’ve compiled a few alternate ways to spend time with your sweeties of choice in the coming days. They all involve going outside for an extended period of time, so…

more »
Events
Today
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Community Coffee and Tea

9:00am|East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

Ukulele for Everyone

4:00pm|Everson Library

Garden Design Class

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Handmade Pasta Class

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Kombucha and Kefir

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Frankie Gavin

6:30pm|Leopold Crystal Ballroom

Unsettlers

7:00pm|Village Books

Nothing simple about it

7:00pm

Mike Allen Quartet

7:00pm|Unity Spiritual Center

Panty Hoes

9:00pm|Rumors Cabaret

MBT Rovers Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Tomorrow
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Incognito

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Pasta Faves

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Between Two Worlds

7:30pm|Make.Shift Art Space

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Trove Village Books
Friday
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Interurban Trail

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Magnolia Street and Cornwall Avenue

Weird Washington

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Whatcom Humane Society Wine Social

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

PhotoLUSH 2017

6:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Always…Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

And I Remember

7:00pm|Village Books

King John

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

International Guitar Night

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

James Hunter Six

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Borealis Wind Quintet

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Cupid's Arrow Final Weekend

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

MBT Rovers Bellingham Technical College Northwood Steak and Crab Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Trove Village Books