Tucker to lead tours of Point Whitehorn Beach June 6

Western Today staff

Dave Tucker, a former research associate in the geology department at Western Washington University, will lead guided tours along Point Whitehorn Beach at Cherry Point June 6, telling the landscape backstory of moving glaciers and changing sea levels, including the important ecological role of formations like the area’s feeder bluffs.

The tours, at 1 and 3 p.m., are part of a special "What's the Point?" event being put on by Whatcom Land Trust and the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, at Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve.

A negative tide will allow for intertidal zone exploration in an extraordinary stretch of shoreline teeming with wildlife.

In addition to Tucker's tours, naturalists with North Cascades Audubon Society, Koma Kulshan Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society and more will be stationed along the wooded wetland trail. Marine life specialists will be on the beach providing information about plants and animals in the reserve’s intertidal zone. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn from professional marine biologist Michael Kyte, who has observed and documented beach and marine conditions along the Cherry Point shoreline for over 30 years.

Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve is one of six aquatic reserves established by Washington State Department of Natural Resources in an effort to protect state-owned aquatic lands of significant natural value. It extends north to Birch Bay State Park, south to the Lummi Nation, and from the beach into the Strait of Georgia about 1/2 mile. It is the only aquatic reserve in Whatcom County, providing habitat for juvenile salmon, Dungeness crab, great blue heron, bald eagles, migrating seabirds and more.

The 54-acre Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve lies within the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. Whatcom Land Trust acquired Point Whitehorn in 2007 through a complex land trade with B.C. Hydro and Trillium Corp., then later sold it to Whatcom County Parks & Recreation. The Land Trust holds a conservation easement over the property, ensuring its protection forever.

Participants 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 ¾ mile, including viewpoints at the top of the bluff overlooking the beach and the Strait of Georgia. Directions: 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 1/2 mile to the parking lot on the left.

Friday, May 22, 2015 - 11:00am