A Walk Back in Time

- Land Trusts at Work

The Whidbey Camano Land Trust has welcomed a new nature preserve: Possession Sound Preserve. These 54-acres include more than a half mile of peaceful beach, bluff and forage fish spawning ground.

The 54-acre Possession Sound Preserve is the Whidbey Camano Land Trust’s newest nature preserve. South of Clinton on Whidbey Island, it has more than a half mile of beach previously off limits to the public. Matlock, a retired biology professor and Land Trust board member, has visited the property many times. He joins a long list of people wowed by its natural beauty and vital role in the ecology of the Salish Sea.

“Among its features that are especially valuable are the natural, untouched half-mile stretch of classic Puget Sound feeder bluff and beach with its natural drift cell sediment transport,” Matlock explained. “This is especially important for forage fish spawning.”

Forage fish, including Pacific herring, smelt and sand lance, are critical food sources for salmon, which migrate along the preserve’s shoreline while traveling to and from the Skagit, Stillaguamish and Snohomish rivers. Salmon are the key food source for the region’s beloved orca whales. Adding even more benefit to the marine ecosystem, eelgrass beds line the preserve’s 2,820 feet of shoreline. Two seasonal streams meander through the mature upland forest and down into Possession Sound.

Permanent protection of the property also will safeguard the stability of the steep and actively eroding 180-foot bluff. The former owner of the property worked for more than 40 years to develop the property for homes, completing a rather precarious road to the beach. Now that same road will be used as a trail so the public can gain access.

Photo credit:  Whidbey Camano Land Trust