A ‘Tiny Paradise’

These beautiful islands are surrounded by water, yet it can be tough to get to a beach. That’s partly because steep bluffs stand guard over much of Whidbey and Camano shorelines.

Glendale, facing Possession Sound on southeast Whidbey, is an exception. Described as a “tiny paradise” by an island historian, Glendale occupies a rare flat spot at the mouth of Glendale Creek, one of Whidbey’s two salmon-bearing streams.  The stretch of shoreline is frequented by orca whales.

First settled in 1890, Glendale had a busy past, serving as a Mosquito Fleet port, Whidbey’s first car dealership, the terminus of a logging railroad, and the site of a hotel and fish camp. However, much of the evidence of Glendale’s commercial past was erased by a massive slide that roared down the creek in April 2009.

Glendale has now ushered in a new era.

In partnership with Island County, the Land Trust acquired three private properties totaling about six acres in 2014, with 420 feet of low-bank beach and tidelines including the mouth of Glendale Creek. Nearby forested uplands were also protected.

The three properties came on the market simultaneously, prompting the Land Trust to take emergency action to acquire and preserve this rare stretch of accessible Whidbey beach, with wonderful views, for public enjoyment.

With funding secured by the Land Trust, Island County purchased a conservation easement to remove the residential development rights and ensure public access to the properties. The Land Trust owns and manages the land. The remains of the old hotel, a vacant house, and an old creosote pier were all removed, and replaced by a small parking lot surrounded by native plantings, and a picnic area with easy public shoreline access.

Island County residents now have another beach within easy reach – a “tiny paradise.”