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.
In February 2018, Key Pen Parks closed on the purchase of a 1.17 waterfront real estate land parcel located on Taylor Bay on the Key Peninsula, Pierce County. The parcel was a missing link between two separate waterfront properties managed by Key Pen Parks. The addition of the 1.17 parcel grew this contiguous parcel to 40.2 acres and 1,650 feet of natural saltwater shoreline accessible to the public. The 1.17 parcel also included an 1,800 sq ft residence which was built in 1954 that was planned to be used as a caretaker residence. The primary outdoor recreation opportunity this acquisition provides is non-motorized boating access, especially for kayaking and paddle boarding. This acquisition also supports beachcombing, fishing, bird watching and other low-impact recreational and educational activities. Taylor Bay has been identified by The Puget Sound Partnership, The Regional Nearshore Partnership and The Puget Sound Action Team as a conservation priority; due to its proximity to the Nisqually Estuary it is important transitional habitat for juvenile salmonids. The South Puget Sound Recovery Plan identifies Taylor Bay as a “group priority for protection and restoration area” for preservation of pocket estuaries and salmon bearing freshwater tributaries. Acquisition of this parcel provided contiguous saltwater access for mammalian herbivores (deer, rabbit, Douglas squirrel, smaller rodents) that require dietary salt supplementation and mammalian predators and omnivores (bear, cougar, bobcat, coyote, river otter, raccoon) that forage along the shoreline. Key Pen Parks restored a set of stairs to allow public access to the low bank waterfront.