Misery Point Project
Featured photo: Aerial of Misery Point by Anthony Gibbons.
Likely named after the smallpox epidemic that devastated Native American tribes in the 19th century, Misery Point embodies a long history of land use. While the name remembers a tragic past, today this magnificent saltwater lagoon on the western side of Seabeck Bay is a peaceful oasis for the wildlife and nearby residents that call it home. The local community includes several generations of families that spent decades on this Hood Canal shoreline: crabbing, harvesting shellfish, and creating recreational opportunities at what became the nearby Scenic Beach State Park. GPC hopes to have public access opportunities on the property in the future, including a kayak stop on the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails.
Despite the development opportunities on this shoreline, the forested point has remained largely untouched for years. Feeder bluffs forge pristine habitat, as do the wetlands and the lagoon’s barrier beach. The eelgrass laden shoreline is an ideal home for forage fish, including surf smelt, sandlance, and herring, which endangered salmon feed upon as they make their seaward journey. With plentiful native flora, Misery Point is home to extensive shellfish, marine life, and birds. The endangered marbled murrelet has even been spotted fishing nearby.
Great Peninsula Conservancy is currently working with the landowners to purchase the property. In Spring 2020 the Washington State Department of Ecology was awarded $5 million in grants through the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. GPC received a $1 million subgrant and will be the Department of Ecology’s implementing partner to acquire the Misery Point property. GPC is applying for matching state funds to secure the 20.7-acre property by 2021, which is valued at nearly $1.7 million.