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.
The Whatcom County Parks & Recreation Department will use this grant to buy 13.2 acres for a waterfront park in Birch Bay, in western Whatcom County. The land is in the central business and shoreline area of the community and includes 400 feet of waterfront. The community has long sought a waterfront park in this area to provide beach access, restrooms, parking, and activity areas. The waterfront and tidelands are the major attraction in Birch Bay; however, public access is limited to a few small parcels, road ends, and Birch Bay State Park, which is on the south end of the bay. Whatcom County will contribute more than $1.2 million in Conservation Futures and a grant from the state Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account.