Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve is a unique reserve created in the 70′s to protect the rural landscape of this area in the middle of Whidbey Island. Most of the land is privately owned, but the government purchased the development rights from the owners. This is to keep the landscape very much like it was in the 1800′s. Approval is needed for any new construction. You just have to look to Oak Harbor, the next significant town north of the reserve, to see what Ebey’s Landing could have become without the reserve.
This area of Whidbey Island seems to be the most tourist friendly. There is a a driving and bicycling tour route that takes you through the reserve area. There is not a dedicated bike path, but there is not a lot of traffic, so it is pretty safe to ride on the roads.
The second picture above is Ebey’s Landing, where settler’s came ashore and first settled.
The top photo is of a 3.5 mile trail that goes up from Ebey’s Landing to a bluff above Perego’s Lake, then down to the beach and back to the starting point. I had to lean to the right, the trail is so narrow and the bluff so steep.
A northern harrier seen from the trail.
View across the Strait of Juan de Fuca towards the Port Townsend area. The mountains always have a blue haze in this area of Washington.
The farmland directly inland from Ebey’s Landing. There has never been trees in this prairie area, so no trees needed to be cleared to farm.
There are three campgrounds in the reserve. Fort Ebey was built in World War II as a coastal defense fort. It has a reservation campground. Fort Casey was built at the turn of the century to guard Puget Sound. It is next to the Keystone ferry landing for the ferry coming from Port Townsend. It is a first come, first served campground (yea!). Rhododendron County Park Campground is a small, no hookup campground under a grove of tall trees.
The Ebey family donated land on the bluff for a cemetary. Both early settlers and recent residents are buried there. The grave site with the heron caught my attention.
Of course, Deception Pass is the main draw on Whidbey Island. It is so crowded now, I’m going to visit it in the fall.