Washington is famous for its gorgeous and abundant waterways, from the Salish Sea to the Nisqually River, but many communities lack open public beaches and waterfronts where everyone can enjoy picnicking, swimming, paddling, boating, and angling. Water Access projects fund public shoreline access, boat launches, and fishing docks to create more opportunities for water recreation.
Island County will use this grant to buy 13 acres of rare, low-bank waterfront on Barnum Point, a third-mile of beach, and 17 acres of tidelands for a county park on Camano Island. The land provides the only low-bank water access along Barnum Point, and will improve dramatically the public’s access to more than two-thirds mile of adjacent public beach which is below high bluffs and basically inaccessible. This request is part of a larger project to expand the 27-acre Barnum Point County Park to 129 acres, protecting nearly all of Barnum Point, an iconic waterfront landscape on Camano Island and allowing public use on more than 2.5 miles of forested trails with spectacular views. The county park expansion has outstanding public support, especially because 83 percent of the island’s shoreline is privately-owned and much of the publicly-owned shoreline is inaccessible high bank. The park will provide diverse recreational opportunities, including swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, photography, biking, picnicking, beachcombing, and nature-viewing. Island County will contribute more than $2.1 million from Conservation Futures, a federal grant, a grant from the state Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, and donations of cash.