Nearly as Northwest as you can get in the continental US, a row of solemn, steadfast seastacks frame the wild Pacific Ocean. This unique stretch along Shi Shi Beach is called Point of the Arches. It’s located at the edge of the Olympic National Park and is consistently rated one of the most picturesque viewpoints around.
Today this unique, natural gem is managed by the National Park Service, but its history and legacy are a testament to the partnerships that steward and preserve special places worldwide. In the late 1970s, a generous donation from Portland heiress and sculptor Marie Louise Feldenheimer enabled The Nature Conservancy to purchase the land that boasts Point of the Arches. The Conservancy in turn sold the property to the Olympic National Park, with the proceeds helping to establish our Land Preservation Fund, which remains our key tool for protecting nature throughout the US and around the world.
Mary Louise Feldenheimer partnered with the Conservancy to protect important land in Oregon, too. Her contributions allowed the Conservancy to purchase forest land on Tillamook Head in memory of her brother, carrying forward her vision to restore the forest to that which Lewis and Clark witnessed in their early American travels. Upon her donation, she remarked, “Now it will have a thousand years of rest.”
Outdoor enthusiasts visit Point of the Arches for hiking, beachcombing, and camping; and photographers seek this area out for stunning vistas and remarkable sunsets. Coastal critters are abundant in tidepools, it’s not uncommon to spot eagles, and your own eagle eye just might catch sight of a whale spout offshore. The hiking trail starts on the Makah Indian Reservation, and if you visit, be sure to find out which passes you’ll need to experience this natural wonder.
Banner photo by Andy Porter.