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
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.
- 370 acres; 342 units removed from development