This 5-acre island in Chuckanut Bay south of Bellingham offers an excellent opportunity for visitors to see the beauty of one of Puget Sound’s rocky islands. It’s home to nests of bald eagles and it is a great example of native coastal forest habitat such as Douglas fir (some well over 250 years old!), grand fir, madrone and western red cedar. The island’s tidal areas offer visitors a chance to see marine invertebrates such as barnacles, rock crabs, sea cucumbers, limpets, hermit crabs and blue mud shrimp. Surfbirds frequently perch on the rocky shores.

The island was gifted to the Nature Conservancy in 1976 and volunteers serve as stewards, protecting this very special place by cleaning up the shoreline and answering visitors’ questions. There is also an eradication program for non-native plants such as English ivy.

Volunteer with The Nature Conservancy and help take care of places like Chuckanut Island.

This preserve is open year-round during daylight hours and is only accessible by boat. Grab your life vests and enjoy a day on the boat exploring the unique beauty of the Cyrus Gates Preserve! It is a superb stop for boaters launching from the Larrabee State Park. Due to the island’s unspoiled environment, leave your canine companions at home, beach only on the northeast and west beaches and keep your ecological footprint minimal by staying on the foot trail.



  • Take Interstate 5 to Exit 231 onto Route 11 (also known as Chuckanut Drive.) Proceed North for 14.4 miles to Larrabee State Park, a public boat-launching site. Continue north by boat around Governor’s Point to the preserve.

Written by Noelle van deer Straaten, Volunteer.