Hike It Baby image

Members of the hiking group, Whidbey Island Hike It Baby, visited the Del Fairfax Preserve near Oak Harbor in the fall of 2017. Photo courtesy of Sharlie Tassie.

Why It’s Important

This 50-acre preserve is open to the public and is maintained as wildlife habitat with healthy forest, wetland, and pasture land. There is a 1.2 mile trail that includes a forest section and a meadow loop. A bench is located part of the way around the loop, offering a nice place to rest and enjoy the magical meadow. Much of the property is high quality second growth Douglas fir forest, with a lush undergrowth of salal, swordfern, salmonberry, oceanspray, snowberry and wild rose.

Other native plants include Indian plum, red elderberry, huckleberry, serviceberry, and Oregon grape. Near the center of the property is a beautiful, 18-acre rolling hayfield edged on all sides by native forest and a small perennial wetland surrounded by alders with an understory of willow, sedges, spirea, and rushes.

Wanting it to remain unspoiled for future generations, Dr. George Fairfax of Oak Harbor donated the 50-acre property off Zylstra Road, which he and his father had purchased in 1973 for investment purposes. The chance for others to enjoy this spot of permanent wildlife habitat and open space on the north end of Whidbey Island was what compelled Dr. Fairfax to donate and protect this special place named in memory of his late wife Del.

Photo credit: Lorna Aites, April, 2019.

Trail Map: Click here