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Originally published Thursday, October 26, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Walkabout

English Boom Historical County Park

Location: Camano Island, Island County. Walk length: Over a quarter-mile round trip. Level of difficulty: Short, level paved path runs from...

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Location: Camano Island, Island County.

Walk length: Over a quarter-mile round trip.

Level of difficulty: Short, level paved path runs from the parking-lot shelter out to the beach; a gravel-turning-quickly-to-dirt trail heads east through the marsh with boards bridging tidal channels (trail often mucky).

Setting: This achingly peaceful spot on Skagit Bay was the site of a bustling timber industry in 1922-1945. During the 1920s and 1930s, the English Lumber Co. logged the forests to the east of Stanwood and Mount Vernon. The logs were then transported by rail to the water, and corralled together into log booms in Skagit Bay. Tugboats then hauled the floating logs to sawmills all around Puget Sound. The pilings rising out of the water were pounded into the tidelands around 1922, and are all that remain of the settlement of piers and shacks now immortalized in photos at the historical kiosk at the trailhead.

Highlights: This six-acre park with 900 feet of water frontage is part of a wildlife habitat area, and is backed by an upland forest that rises up at the southern edge of the salt marsh. This combination of habitats makes it a perfect place for eagles, kingfishers, great blue herons and falcons to hunt (bird-watching groups frequently plan field trips to this spot). The northern exposure of the park protects it from the direct force of winter storms out of the south, although thick jumbles of driftwood in the marsh attest to years of offerings from the sea. On a clear day, you can see Mount Baker and Mount Pilchuck. Future trail plans include ecological interpretive signs and short bridges across the tidal channels.

Facilities: None.

Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws in effect.

Directions: From Interstate 5, about 18 miles north of Everett, take Exit 212, and head six miles west on Highway 532 to Stanwood. Continue west, and after crossing over Davis Slough onto Camano Island, turn right on Good Road, which eventually curves left and becomes Utsalady Road. After 1.8 miles, just after the small airfield, turn right on Moore Road, and follow it to the end.

For more information: 360-679-7373 or www.whidbey.com/camparks/coparks.html.

— Cathy McDonald, special to The Seattle Times

Cathy McDonald, a Renton-based freelance writer, is a regular contributor to Northwest Weekend.

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