The coastal forests that reach down to touch the Salish Sea at Governors Point are a unique treasure. This special place provides nesting habitat for a vast array of birds, supports spawning fish that sustain salmon populations and harbors amazing intertidal life. For decades Whatcom Land Trust has sought for viable options to protect the bulk of Governors Point. In February of 2018, Randy Bishop purchased Governors Point for $5.7 million dollars, and the Land Trust finally found an owner not only willing but insistent and eager to conserve a substantial part of the property. After purchasing the property, Randy Bishop sought out the Land Trust. Rather than telling us what he might be willing to do, Bishop asked, “what does the Land Trust want on Governors Point.” The question started a conversation about a nature reserve with significant conservation and public access values.
Rather than the allowed 25 residences, Bishop will build 16 custom designed homes, one at a time. He describes his plans for “a limited number of architecturally rich, small footprint homes” clustered on the west side of the peninsula.
On September 13th, 2023 Randy Bishop and Whatcom Land Trust will sign a legally binding agreement donating 98 acres, over 3/4 of the peninsula to Whatcom Land Trust for a public access nature reserve.
The nature reserve will include a trail which will allow for public access to the prime beach on the east and west side of Governors Point. The east and west beaches will be accessible by self-propelled watercraft such as kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.
The 125 acres on Governors Point has been privately owned and of special interest to the Whatcom community for nearly 50 years. Located just south of Bellingham, this area provides some 9,500 feet of marine shoreline on Chuckanut, Pleasant and Samish Bay. It is one of the last remaining coastal forest habitats on the Salish Sea, and a haven for bald eagles, river otters, and beautiful Pacific madrone trees. Governors Point has always been aligned, strategic and aspirational to the Whatcom Land Trust’s Mission to preserve and protect wildlife habitat, scenic, agricultural and open space land for future generations.
Whatcom County has granted preliminary long plat approval to Bishop. The long plat will create the 16 residential building lots and the 98-acre nature reserve lot that will be donated to Whatcom Land Trust. The preliminary approval contains a long list of requirements, largely pertaining to road, power and water infrastructure, that must be met as a condition for final approval. Infrastructure work is well underway, but the date for completion and county final approval is uncertain and weather dependent. Thus, the date of the donation to WLT and our ability to obtain required permits and construct the trail is uncertain. Public access to the nature reserve is not likely to occur until late in 2023, at the earliest.
Public access to the nature reserve is not available at this time. We are working on it! To stay up-to-date on this project, sign up for our newsletter!
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