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)

Years of land trust efforts come together in Camano Island’s newest park

Site offers public waterfront access in area where most is private

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 more than 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.

Throughout 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.

More in News

A stylized dragon with its mouth operated by Kurt White makes its way down Washington Street as part of the Olympic Theatre Arts entry in Saturday’s Sequim Irrigation Festival Grand Parade. The event returned to an in-person activity with more than 90 entries and thousands of spectators lining the parade route. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Irrigation Festival Grand parade

Awards issued to floats in the Sequim Irrigation Festival Grand Parade on… Continue reading

Two on Peninsula die from COVID-19

Cases rising in both counties’ classrooms

Linda Martin, center, from Port Townsend, stands beside her husband Mike Cornforth on the corner of Kearney and state Highway 20 in Port Townsend. Martin, with PT Indivisible, collaborated with Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and Women’s March to stage a rally on Saturday to protest the possible U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn the 50-year-old Roe v Wade decision guaranteeing the right to abortion. About 250 people from as far away as Seattle and Sequim took part in the rally. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Abortion rights supporters rally nationwide

Protests organized on Peninsula

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict, left, reads off the names of Washington law enforcment officers killed in the line of duty as Port Angeles Police Chief Brian Smith looks on during a ceremony of Friday honoring law enforcement personnel as part of National Police Week. The ceremoney, held at the Liberty Bell replica at Veterans Park in Port Angeles, included music from the Port Angeles High School choir, a flag ceremony, a gun salute and ringing of the bell.
Memorial bell ringing in Port Angeles

Above: Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict, left, reads off the names of… Continue reading

Avian flu found on Peninsula

All flock owners warned to protect fowl

No shooting zones defined in county code

Jefferson County’s Shooting in the County Code No. 8.50… Continue reading

Most Read