headwaters of Oriental Creek and Beaver Creek in the south Geneva foothills, the Oriental
Creek Preserve is a 370-acre site that combines two significant purchases
of platted land as well as a large forestry tract to the east. The two platted properties, which are separated by an
exposed power-line easement, represent 332 homes that might have
been built in the watershed. The 170 acres of adjoining forestry land
could have been logged and developed with 10 more homes.
The Preserve's diverse topography is undeveloped and generally covered with a wide mix of vegetation. The lower and flatter 40 acres is comprised of several extensive wetlands and a thick maple and evergreen forest, while the upper 330 acres is predominantly new growth consisting of alder and fir trees. The hillside in this region inclines steeply in places, and where the thin topsoil has been exposed by old logging roads or weather, sandstone outcroppings with treeless ridges afford dramatic views of Lake Whatcom and South Bellingham Bay.
To help to reduce the effects of the dense development along the property's lower border, some stream restoration and culvert removal has taken place, several foot bridges have been built, and trail work has been done on the lower portion of the Preserve. The City's mission to ensure the conservation of the watershed and the purity of the water through strategic land acquisitions, continues to reduce urban sprawl in sensitive areas such as Oriental Creek, while offering the public a place to observe nature at their door-step.