Yellow Island remains closed due to COVID-19

  • Mon May 11th, 2020 12:32pm
  • Life

Submitted by The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy has made the difficult decision to continue COVID-19 closures at the Yellow Island Preserve in the San Juan Islands and the popular Bluff Trail at the Robert Y. Pratt Preserve at Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island. The National Parks Service plans to keep its portion of the Bluff Trail closed as well.

While many state recreational lands are opening, the conservancy is continuing closures at these private preserves to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors, and for the preservation of fragile lands. To protect visitors, staff and fragile lands, please don’t visit.

The Bluff Trail hosts sensitive and culturally significant plants such as camas, chocolate lily, and death camas. It’s impossible to maintain social distancing on the narrow trail without going off-trail onto the steep slope. Going off-trail damages the fragile soils and plants along the bluff and undermines the work of our staff, partners and many volunteers who all work to maintain the trail for safe use.

At Yellow Island, it’s difficult for staff to maintain social distancing with visitors.

In other conservancy-owned or managed lands in Washington, we are asking people to follow state guidelines. Stay close to home; don’t travel overnight to visit. If you’re sick, or have any symptoms of cold or flu, stay home. No camping. Visit only in your household group; no large parties. Maintain social distance – at least 6 feet from other users. Bring your own food and drink to keep the community safe. Be safe so you don’t impact local rescue or medical facilities.

Our offices in Washington remain closed. Some on-the-ground restoration and conservation work deemed “essential” under state guidelines is moving forward. Volunteer opportunities in the field remain on hold, although some at-home opportunities are available. Check to see updates.

We are deeply grateful for the community’s supports in these efforts.

Virtual field trips

•Visit the gem of the San Juans — Yellow Island, the most colorful of The Nature Conservancy’s preserves. Join the Conservancy’s Yellow Island Preserve Steward, Matt Axling, to learn about the history of the island and the beautiful wildflowers that cover it this time of year. The free tour is from 5-5:45 p.m., Tuesday, May 12. Pre-register at https://www.washingtonnature.org/volunteer-events/2020/5/12/nature-at-home-yellow-island.

• Birds of May — Teanaway and Central Cascades Forests also with Deb Essman. This is good prep for people who are planning to get out in Central Washington now that things are opening up. From 11-11:45 a.m., Tuesday, May 12 on Zoom and Facebook Live. For more information, visit https://www.washingtonnature.org/volunteer-events/2020/1/30/date-with-nature-intro-to-birding

• Moses Coulee, with Nature Conservancy staff and Dr. Michael Schroeder, a sage grouse expert. The Moses Coulee and Beezley Hills Preserve are situated on the spectacular Columbia Plateau, these large preserves are protecting open skies, dramatic geology and fascinating desert species in this region. From 5-6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19, only on Zoom. Preregistration required, visit https://www.washingtonnature.org/volunteer-events/2020/5/19/birds-of-may-moses-coulee

• Birds of Yellow Island, with Phil Green, who lived and worked on Yellow Island for 20 years. Phil brings an extensive and intimate knowledge of Yellow Island birds, having submitted over 4,000 bird checklists to eBird and over 400 audio recordings to the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds. From 5-6 p.m., Wednesday, May 27 only on Zoom Preregistration required, visit https://www.washingtonnature.org/volunteer-events/2020/5/27/birds-of-may-yellow-island

You can find all these events, plus more volunteer opportunities at wanature.org/volunteer-events.