BIRCH BAY — When was the last time you moved a damp beach rock to elicit a child’s joyful shout as a nickel-sized black shore crab scurried for cover?
On Saturday, June 10, the local park stewardship group Friends of Birch Bay State Park hosts Beach Fest & Feast, a waterside celebration at the park’s BP Heron Center. The mission is to inspire residents and visitors with an appreciation for the natural and cultural heritage of the park.
Beach Fest, running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes informative beach walks guided by naturalists, educational displays, games and children’s activities. Of course, bring your shades and sunscreen for exploring a mile and a half of pebbly saltwater shoreline and splashy tidepools. Fly a kite on the salt air breezes. Hike trails that traverse the park’s 194 mostly wooded acres.
Birch Bay’s placid waters can be perfect for honing your paddleboard or kayaking skills. The Terrell Creek ecosystem adds nearly three miles of freshwater shoreline. Marshlands shelter varied colorful duck species, and herons nest in the forest. A public boat launch is at the south end of the park.
From noon to 2 p.m., sample treats like Ivar’s chowder and hot dogs courtesy of the Birch Bay Waterslides and Taylor Shellfish Farms. (A $5 donation is encouraged to support the Friends’ mission.)
June 10 happens to be a free parking day (no Discover Pass needed) at all Washington State Parks.
Expect future educational and musical activities at the park, and also hopefully an eco-friendly children’s playground. The Friends’ headquarters and BP Heron Center are at the southwest end of the park, along Birch Bay Drive.