Whatcom Land Trust (WLT) and the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee (CPARCSC) will sponsor a natural history exploration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 4 at Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve in Birch Bay. The activities are part of WLT and CPARCSC’s annual “What’s the Point?” event.
During morning low tide, naturalists familiar with seaweeds, birds, native plants and local geology will answer questions and lead guided tours along Point Whitehorn’s beach, a stretch of shoreline teeming with wildlife.
Marine life specialists will be providing information about plants and animals in the reserve’s intertidal zone. Guides will include Bob Lemon and Lyle Anderson of CPARCSC, who will highlight native plants, intertidal life, seaweeds and birds; Casey Cook of the Marine Life Center and Doug Stark of the Marine Resources Committee will lead tide-pool tours for children; seaweed expert Marie Hitchman; Victoria Souze of the Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network and Michael Kyte, a professional marine biologist who has been observing the Cherry Point Reach for 30 years.
Geologist Dave Tucker will lead beach tours at 10 and 11:30 a.m. The tide-pool tours will begin at 10:30 and 11:00 a.m.
The 54-acre Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve adjoins the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve, one of six aquatic reserves established by Washington State Department of Natural Resources to protect state-owned aquatic lands of significant natural value.
The land trust acquired Point Whitehorn in 2007 through complex land trades with B.C. Hydro and Trillium Corp., then later donated it to Whatcom County Parks and Recreation. WLT holds a conservation easement over the property, ensuring its protection indefinitely.
Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve extends from Birch Bay State Park south to the Lummi Nation, and from the beach into the Strait of Georgia about a half mile. It is the only aquatic reserve in Whatcom County and provides habitat for juvenile salmon, Dungeness crab, great blue heron, bald eagles, migrating seabirds and more.
Participants in “What’s the Point” activities are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the beach during the event. The trail at the Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve meanders through a forested wetland and is wheelchair accessible for three-quarters of a mile, including viewpoints at the top of the bluff overlooking the beach and the Strait of Georgia.
To reach Point Whitehorn, take I-5 exit 266 and drive west on Grandview Road for 8.5 miles. Follow the road as it curves left and becomes Koehn Road. Continue half a mile to the parking lot on the left.
Additional sponsors include the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Whatcom County Parks and Recreation, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and real estate broker Julie Carpenter.