In late 2014, North Olympic Land Trust acquired 280 acres just east of the Lyre River on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Beginning on Saturday, December 26th, the Land Trust will open the Lyre Conservation Area to the public for non-motorized day-use.
“Just 20 miles west of Port Angeles, the Lyre Conservation Area is an ideal spot for recreational activities like bird and wildlife viewing, surfing, picnicking, and beach walking.” said Tom Sanford, Land Trust executive director. This property features the estuary at the mouth of the Lyre River, streams, tide-flats, kelp beds and a ½ mile of Strait of Juan de Fuca shoreline. It also includes a large diverse upland forest, and excellent habitat for salmon and a variety of migratory and resident birds and wildlife.
“The Land Trust is so excited to open this property for responsible public enjoyment for generations to come,” said Karen Westwood, the Land Trust’s Board President.
The Lyre Conservation Area marks the largest land protection project in the Land Trust’s 25-year history. Over the past year, hundreds of volunteer hours have created new parking areas, removed debris, and installed information kiosks. In addition, a crew from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe has replaced a bridge and removed a dilapidated home. Currently, the home has been demolished and fenced off, however debris will still need to be removed in the coming months. At that time, the Conservation Area will be closed for a couple of days while the debris is hauled out.
Visitors to the Lyre can park at the end of Reynold Road. From the parking areas, there is then a one mile walk down to the beach along a gentle former access road. The walk takes visitors through a recently cut forest and then through an 80 year old stand before dropping down to the Strait-front area.
In early December, students from Franklin Elementary School’s Multi-Age Community helped plant trees in a portion of the property that had been harvested prior to Land Trust ownership. In addition, later this spring over 1,700 native trees and shrubs will be planted on the property through the Clallam Conservation District.
The Land Trust was able to acquire this property through efforts with local partners including the North Olympic Peninsula Lead Entity for Salmon Recovery, the Puget Sound Partnership, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and the Makah Tribe. Funding was provided by the State of Washington’s Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, Marine Shoreline Protection Fund, and its Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program. In addition, local funding and in-kind support for the restoration and long-term stewardship of the property was provided by Land Trust donors, the prior landowner, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Makah Tribe.
While the property is now open, an official Grand Opening Celebration is planned for April 23rd.