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Out With Kids: Free guided low-tide walk at Point Whitehorn

Explore the forested uplands and beach of Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve during a special “What’s the Point?” guided low-tide walk sponsored this weekend by Whatcom Land Trust and the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee.

The free walk will be noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at Point Whitehorn, a county park on the coast west of Ferndale. Low tide at nearby Cherry Point is -1.5 feet at 2:34 p.m.

Point Whitehorn is a broad expanse of sand and cobblestones below steep cliffs, a coastline unlike any other in the area. It’s wild, remote and open, with a stunning view of the San Juan Islands. The shoreline teems with intertidal plants and animals, such as crabs, snails and anemones. Along the beach are boulders deposited during the last Ice Age – and some still show the bumps and grinds of glacial scarring. A 3/4-mile interpretive trail leads through a forested wetland to the beach.

“There are all kinds of plants and animals, and we’ll have the Komo Kulshan Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society and a couple people from the North Cascades Audubon Society, “ said Virginia Cleaveland, community engagement associate with the Land Trust.

“It’s a good mix of woodland species and — on the beach — all those kinds of intertidal creatures that are revealed during low tide,” she said. “It’s one of the most protected and undeveloped spans of land in Whatcom County.”

That’s even more impressive considering the area is surrounded by heavy industry, including oil refineries, Cleaveland said.

Naturalists will be stationed along the trail to answer questions and show flora and fauna of interest. At 1 and 3 p.m. are guided beach walks with local geologist and writer Dave Tucker. Other special activities focus on children and families, Cleaveland said.

Getting there: From Interstate 5 exit 266 take Grandview Road west past the oil refineries to the end of the road, then go left at Koehn Road. The park entrance is on the left, with free parking and a portable toilet.