Location: Central Whidbey Island
Overview: Old-growth forest, rare prairie lands, birds, and stunning views of the beach below are just a few features you can enjoy at this 79-acre Central Whidbey preserve. Open to the public, the preserve, which is located within Ebey’s National Historical Reserve, offers 2.3 miles of trails, including a loop trail for walking and nature enjoyment and a gravel trail along Engle Road, on which running is allowed.
The preserve is full of birds and wildlife, has an amazing old-growth forest, two rare prairie remnants, and overlooks more than one-half mile of shoreline on Admiralty Inlet, benefiting marine species like salmon that migrate along its shores.
What you may notice the most are the trees. The branches of the old-growth Douglas fir trees twist and turn, making their way under and around each other. At over 4-feet in diameter and more than 250 years-old, you can tell these trees have weathered many coastal storms. In addition to fir, the forest contains grand fir, western hemlock, Pacific yew, Sitka spruce, and red alder trees, most of them more than 150 years old. There are lots of snags, providing perfect nesting and feeding areas for all kinds of raptors, owls, and songbirds.
In addition, the preserve is home to two rare prairie remnants (less than 1% of Whidbey Island’s prairies remain) with a population of golden paintbrush, two of only a few sites in the world where this endangered prairie plant can be found.