Seabeck Nature Reserve on the Misery Point Peninsula will be open to the public

SEABECK – Great Peninsula Conservancy will celebrate the opening of the new Misery Point Preserve to the public on Saturday. The reserve is important for local wildlife and can now be visited on foot and by kayak.

The event will include a ribbon cutting and tour as well as music by Olympia violinist Cedar Wolf and a reading by poet Ching-In Chen. The event is from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The reserve is located at the tip of the peninsula from Seabeck’s Misery Point. Nathan Daniel, executive director of GPC, said the reserve is valuable because of some very healthy seagrass beds. The reason they are there, he said, is because there is a steep feeding cliff that provides nutrients to the beach in the area, which helps eelgrass thrive. The cliff is about 85 feet high and drops directly into Hood Canal where the beds are.

“Eelgrass provides habitat for salmon, but more importantly, the forage fish that salmon eat live in eelgrass beds,” Daniel said.

He said it’s important that the small creatures the salmon feed on have habitats like the one preserved at Misery Point.

The sand from the cliff falls, creating a saltwater lagoon which also provides habitat for young salmon.

Misery Point Reserve in Seabeck is open to the public, and a celebration and ribbon cutting will take place on Saturday.  Visitors can come on foot or by kayak.

The reserve is relatively small – just 20 acres – but the ecological significance is huge, Daniel said. People can access it by a trail from Misery Point Rd or by water in a kayak. It’s day-use only, so camping isn’t allowed, but it’s a nice place to stop and have a picnic and see some wildlife, Daniel said.

Those attending Saturday’s grand opening can park at the end of Misery Point Road NW, with additional parking at the Seabeck boat launch, accessible with a Discover Pass. Non-motorized boats like kayaks can land directly on the beach.

The Misery Point reserve was purchased in 2020 for $1.9 million. Since the pandemic, there has been no occasion to celebrate the purchase so far, Daniel said. It also helped to prepare the reserve for the guests by installing elements such as a path and benches.

The project was funded by grants, including a $1 million grant from the National Coastal Wetlands, a $600,000 grant from the state and $300,000 from the Integrated Preparedness and Protection Program. environment of the Navy.

The members, however, are the ones who make it all possible, Daniel said. They support the organization’s staff, who are applying for grants to acquire land. GPC is an independent, private, not-for-profit organization.

If the land had not been purchased by GPC, it could have been converted into four houses. The land is also home to a forest with centuries-old trees, Daniel said.

“We hope people like it and can hang out. It’s a beautiful site and a great view of the Olympic Mountains on a sunny day,” said Daniel.

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