The 167-acre Barnum Point County Park opened to the public in late August. (Whidbey Camano Land Trust)

The 167-acre Barnum Point County Park opened to the public in late August. (Whidbey Camano Land Trust)

Camano Island’s newest park offers expanded waterfront access

The 167-acre Barnum Point County Park offers 2.5 miles of trails through forest and meadows.

CAMANO ISLAND — The forest was 30 minutes from becoming lots for shoreline homes in 2015, above the striking bluffs at Barnum Point.

With no time to spare, the Whidbey Camano Land Trust swooped in with an emergency loan to secure the 35-acre property.

Now, that area is part of a 167-acre Island County park, which opened to the public in late August.

The park’s mile of beach access is a win for Camano Island, where 83 percent of the waterfront is privately owned.

There are also 2.5 miles of groomed trails through forest and meadows in the park.

The trust has worked with the county to acquire portions of the park since 2012. Most of the area was owned by the Barnum family, said Ryan Elting, conservation director at the trust.

They started with 27 acres.

“It was an oddly shaped, awkward parcel,” Elting said.

While technically open to the public, the land didn’t really function as a park. Existing trails wandered onto neighboring properties.

After repaying the emergency loan that got them the 35 acres in 2015, Elting said they went to work on the next piece of land.

In 2016, the trust raised more than $750,000 in two months with over 600 private donations and many grants. That allowed them to purchase 37 acres on the east side of what is now the park.

The final pieces came together in 2018, when two Barnum siblings sold land to the county. In total, the park cost about $9 million.

Over the past few months, the county has been working to turn the 167 acres into a park. They cleared trails, built a parking lot and posted signs.

Six houses sat on the land. The trust worked with Nickel Bros to barge one home off the eastern shoreline to Vancouver Island. Bellingham company ReUse Works recycled 95 percent of the other houses, keeping hundreds of tons of materials out of landfills.

Today, there’s hardly a trace of the houses.

“It really feels like the wild Pacific Northwest coastline,” Elting said.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
As omicron surges, frustrations and challenges mount in correction facilities

More than 10% of those in state prisons are infected. “We’re kind of in this Twilight Zone cycle,” one prisoner said.

The Washington National Guard arrived Friday at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett to help with a surge of COVID-19 cases at the hospital. (Providence) 20220121
State offers free home tests; National Guard arrives in Everett

Supply is limited at a new online portal, but Washingtonians can now order five free rapid COVID tests.

vote
Ballots sent for special election on public schools’ funding

Levies to pay for staff, programs, computers and capital projects are on the Feb. 8 ballot across Snohomish County.

FILE - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson talks to reporters, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, during a news conference in Seattle. In a 5-4 decision Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, the Washington Supreme Court upheld an $18 million campaign finance penalty against the Consumer Brands Association, formerly known as the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Ferguson sued the group in 2013, alleging that it spent $11 million to oppose a ballot initiative without registering as a political committee or disclosing the source of the money. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington justices uphold $18M fine in GMO-labeling case

Big grocers funneled dark money into a campaign against genetically modified labels on food packaging.

Closing this bedroom door during an apartment fire in Everett helped contain flames, smoke and carbon monoxide, firefighters say. (Everett Fire Department) 20220120
Crucial move during Everett fire: Closing the bedroom door

Two residents were rescued from a bedroom at the Riverdale Apartments. In all, three were injured.

Judge: Sex abuse of former Marysville student violated law

A woman sued the district last year, accusing a longtime art teacher of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

Police respond in downtown Everett after a man collapsed with a gunshot wound Nov. 27, 2021. He later died. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Everett police continue to investigate November killing

Jerome Burnett, 48, died at the hospital. A suspect fled, according to police.

Cassandra Lopez-Shaw
Snohomish County judge accused of ‘needlessly’ exposing staff to COVID

Adam Cornell argues the incident reinforces a need to suspend jury trials, as omicron wreaks havoc.

Most Read