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.
Responding to the critical need of “our only town without public access to Puget Sound”, the Port District of South Whidbey Island recently acquired a long-term commercial property with 180 front feet of sandy no-bank waterfront for creation of the Clinton Beach park, following IAC Waiver of Retroactivity approval. The 0.63-ac site will complement and complete the Port’s existing fishing pier, dock, and parking facilities in Clinton. It is served by the free Island Transit bus system and also adjoins the WSDOT Clinton Ferry Terminal. The property was being actively marketed prior to this grant cycle, and the Port was compelled to acquisition upon notice of another offer. To further demonstrate its commitment, the Port will first remove the existing building with separate funds. The combined Port and IAC funds will then be used to establish the site as the long-sought community water access resource offering a wide array of waterfront recreational opportunities. Clinton Beach features will include a sandy beach, a small parking area with ADA accessibility, restrooms, viewpoint and picnic areas, information kiosks, landscaping, and interpretive signage. With less impact than existing site uses, minimal permit requirements are anticipated. The Port has funding readily available to serve as the IAC match. The project was initiated by public demand and has widespread support from the community and local and county government agencies.