By Shellie Moore, CRS, EcoBroker with Windermere Real Estate, Langley, WA
Let’s Go to the Beach!
Of course one of the best things about living on an island is that you are surrounded by beaches all around you. There isn’t much better than a day by the sea, with the salty expanse in front of your eyes and the sound of the waves and gulls in your ears.
“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.”—E. E. Cummings
Whidbey Island being 32 miles long from Possession Beach to Deception Pass Bridge, there are well over 100 miles of shorelines with over 50 public beaches and dozens of private community beach accesses that homeowners in certain neighborhoods share.
Wherever you access the water’s edge, you can walk the beach between the high tide mark and the low tide mark on all the publicly owned tidelands to your heart’s content, which is about half the shorelines in Island County. If the upland (land above the high tide mark) is owned by private citizens, their privacy should be respected, so passing over the tidelands is fine, but camping out in front of their home on public tidelands is not cool. On privately owned tidelands, though some passing over may be permissible, stopping to dig clams, start a bonfire, build a driftwood fort or having a picnic in front of their home is not permissible. Not to worry though, there are many beautiful stretches of beach to enjoy here. Where do you find them?
For starters, here is a link to an online map put up by the non-profit organization Island Beach Access: http://www.islandbeachaccess.org/tothebeach.php “Island Beach Access is an expanding network of people who are dedicated to identifying, mapping, signing, and preserving access to the public shorelines of Island County for the legal and rightful use of its citizens, for future generations.” They have monthly meetings and are doing good work.
Another great resource is the book called Getting to the Water’s Edge; a Field Guide to Island County Beaches. Island County Marine Resource Committee and Washington State University Shore Stewards partnered in publishing this 176 page, full color guide to shore access and local trail systems. It is awesome, describing all the public beach access spots on Whidbey and Camano Island, including if they have a boat launch, parking, hiking trails, camping sites, etc. You can pick this up at any of the local Island County bookstores.
I have begun a video series called Getting to the Water’s Edge, Live on YouTube to let you see footage of the major beaches you can visit in our area. Below is a link to installment #1 filmed right at the Clinton Ferry Dock; check it out. Whidbey Awaits!