The Cyrus Gates Memorial Preserve offers visitors an up-close encounter with the richness and beauty of Puget Sound’s rocky islands and shorelines. The preserve is accessible only by boat and is an excellent stop off for boaters launching from Larrabee State park.
South of Bellingham in Northwest Washington
Why the Conservancy Selected this Site
This island was a gift to the Conservancy in 1976. It is home to a bald eagle nest and is a healthy example of native coastal forest habitat.
What the Conservancy is Doing
Dedicated volunteers have served as stewards here for many years, cleaning up the shoreline, answering questions from visitors, and protecting this special place from inappropriate uses such as camping and fires. The island is also being managed to eradicate non-native plants such as English ivy.
Cyrus Gate Memorial Preserve Map
Click image to enlarge.
Open year-round, the island is accessible by private boat only. Please beach boats on northeast and west beaches only. Please stay on the foot trail that circles the island. The preserve is open daylight hours only.
What to See: Plants
The Cyrus Gates Memorial Preserve offers a protected forest island habitat of Douglas-fir trees – some well over 250 years old – along with grand fir, madrone, and western red cedar. The understory is dominated by salal, ocean spray and snowberry. Western starflower blossoms appear each April.
What to See: Animals
The tidal areas of the island are home to many marine invertebrates including barnacles, rock crabs, sea cucumbers, limpets, hermit crabs, and blue mud shrimp. Surfbirds, which winter in flocks of two dozen or more in Chuckanut Bay, frequently perch on the island's rocky shore. Bald eagles also nest regularly on the island.
From Bellingham: Take Interstate 5 to Exit 231 onto Route 11 (also known as Chuckanut Drive.) Proceed south for 14.4 miles to Larrabee State Park, a public boat-launching site. Continue north by boat around Governor's Point to the preserve.