Countyto renovate Semiahmoo park

Published on Thu, Jun 15, 2006
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County to renovate Semiahmoo park

Whatcom County Parks & Recreation plans to offer a 1,200-square-foot indoor meeting room with kitchen facilities at Semiahmoo County Park once renovations are completed this fall on the two-story structure at the base of Semiahmoo Spit, according to county parks operations manager Lynne Givler.

The building is one of three former cannery bunkhouses built by the Alaska Packers Association (APA) in 1900 and moved to the site when the Trillium Corporation built Semiahmoo Resort in the early 1980s, according to local historian Marge Reichhardt.

“The second floor has small dorm rooms and the main floor had a kind of living room in the front and a groundskeeper’s apartment in back,” said Givler.

Parks maintenance staff Michael Chiavario said that gutting the interior of the building’s first floor yielded a main room about 30 by 38 feet. “We’ll have a complete kitchen in the back and two unisex restrooms,” he said, “and we have brought the wiring and wastewater system up to current specifications.”

A stairway in the southeast corner of the main room will be retained although the second floor will be devoted to offices and storage and will not be open to the public.

Chiavario said that plans for the surrounding grounds include a deck on the north or beach side of the building leading to a number of boardwalks “to keep damage to the berm between the building and the adjacent beach to a minimum, since that’s almost all native midden.”

More staff hires planned
A restructured Whatcom County Parks administrative plan enacted at the beginning of the year will end up giving Semiahmoo County Park more staff presence, said Semiahmoo county park ranger Steve LeCocq earlier this week.

The plan divides the county into four regions, allowing staff or time to focus on their own areas. “Ben Van Buskirk is the lead ranger in the northwest region,” LeCocq said. The two will move around a bit but will still spend the bulk of their time at their primary assignments, Van Buskirk at Lighthouse Park at Point Roberts and LeCocq at Semiahmoo County Park.

The region also includes Maple Beach and Monument Park in Point Roberts and Bay Horizon Park, Sunset Equestrian Center and the street end beaches in Birch Bay.

Recreational opportunities
Semiahmoo County Park has the following on-going programs scheduled this summer. For more information, call program coordinator David Bean at 733-2900.

First Saturdays of the month (July 1, August 5, September 2):
• Birding the beaches of Semiahmoo with Paul Woodcock of the North Cascades Audubon Society. Meets at the museum at 9 a.m., returns at noon. Free.
• Birding by kayak with Elakah Expeditions and the North Cascades Audubon Society, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Call for cost.
• Volunteers needed for noxious weed eradication, 1-3 p.m.
Last Saturday of the month (June 24, July 29, August 26):
• Saturday evening paddle series with Elakah Expeditions and the North Cascades Audubon Society. A three hour paddle that ends in time for the beach fire series held the same days. Fee and registration required.
• Beach Fire series at sunset following Saturday evening paddles on Semiahmoo Spit; history and local fishing history; $2 apiece, drop-ins welcome.
Last Sunday of the month (June 25, July 30, August 27)
• Sunday morning paddle series around the Blaine and Drayton Harbor shoreline with Elakah Expeditions, 9 a.m. to noon, fee and registration required.
• Interpretive beach walk, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., explores natural and cultural history of the area. $2 apiece, drop-ins welcome.
Third Thursday of the month (July 20, August 17, September 21):
• Led by interns from the county’s master gardener program, this two-mile nature walk looks at native and introduced plants on the spit. Free, drop-ins welcome.
• Tuesday evening kayak series (weekly from June 20 through August 1)
• Two parallel outings from 5 to 9 p.m.

One concentrates on skill development and the other on exploring the cultural and natural history and marine ecology of the area. Fee and registration required.