On Saturday April 23rd, North Olympic Land Trust will host a community celebration to officially mark the opening of the Lyre Conservation Area to the public for non-motorized day-use.
The conservation area, acquired by the Land Trust in late 2014, 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, excellent habitat for salmon and a variety of migratory and resident birds and wildlife.
“Access to the Strait is one of the great things about living on the North Olympic Peninsula! 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. “Across Clallam County, public access to the Strait is limited. For years, we’ve been a community request to create more public access. The Land Trust is really excited to provide this access while also permanently conserving this beautiful waterfront property in its current natural state.”
The Lyre Conservation Area was acquired by the Land Trust thanks to a collaboration with the North Olympic Peninsula Lead Entity for Salmon Recovery, the Puget Sound Partnership, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and the Makah Tribe. The State of Washington’s Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, Marine Shoreline Protection Fund and its Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program provided the funding.
In addition, local funding and in-kind support for the long-term stewardship of the property was provided by Land Trust donors, the prior landowners – who were deeply committed to this project, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Makah Tribe.
The Lyre Conservation Area marks the largest land protection project in the Land Trust’s 26-year history. Over the past year, hundreds of volunteer hours have created new parking areas, removed debris, and installed information kiosks. A crew from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe replaced a bridge and removed a dilapidated home. Also, over 1,700 native trees and shrubs have been planted in partnership with the Clallam Conservation District. An additional tree planting occurred in December with local timber company, Green Crow, and students from Franklin Elementary School in Port Angeles.
The Lyre Conservation Area is also the first accomplishment of the Shoreline Conservation Collaborative, a coalition of 14 land trusts and conservation organizations, committing to significantly increase the pace and quality of efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound. Organized through the Washington Association of Land Trusts, over the next 10 years the Collaborative has set an ambitious goal to permanently protect 150 shoreline properties in Puget Sound, and restore an additional 30 shoreline properties.
Saturday’s festivities begin at 12:30pm and continue through 4:00pm. Activities will include opportunities to explore the land and learn from local experts about area birds, habitat restoration, the cultural history of the surrounding property and more. A “Grand Opening Ceremony” will be at 2:00pm on the waterfront (arrive early to give yourself enough time to shuttle (see below) and walk the 3/4 of a mile to the water).
Scheduled and invited speakers include: Representative Steve Tharinger, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s Vice Chair, Russell Hepher, the executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, Sheida Sahandy, the director of Washington State’s Recreation and Conservation Office, Kaleen Cottingham, and a representative from the Makah Tribe.
Due to limited parking at the Lyre Conservation Area, parking and a continuous shuttle will be provided by All Point Charters from the Crescent School in Joyce 20 miles west of Port Angeles on Hwy 112 and four miles from the Lyre Conservation Area. The shuttle will run continuous from 12:30 – 4pm from the school to the Lyre Conservation Area. Parking will not be available at the Lyre Conservation Area during the afternoon on April 23rd.
Guests are encouraged to come prepared for the weather and to walk 1 ½ (round-trip) miles on easy terrain. For those with restricted mobility, there will be limited availability for a second shuttle all the way to the waterfront.
From Port Angeles, drive about 3 miles west on Hwy 101 and turn right onto Hwy 112. Drive west approximately 10 miles. In the community of Joyce, look for the Crescent School on the south side of Hwy 112, at the junction with the Joyce-Piedmont Road.
About North Olympic Land Trust
North Olympic Land Trust is dedicated to the conservation of open spaces, local food, local resources, healthy watersheds and recreational opportunities. Its long-term goal is to conserve lands that sustain the ecological and economic vitality of the communities of Clallam County. Founded by community members in 1990, the Land Trust has conserved over 3,200 acres of land across the North Olympic Peninsula working with willing landowners to conserve our areas farms, fish and forests. To learn more about their work and the Lyre Grand Opening visit northolympiclandtrust.org.