Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the “Best of Bainbridge” special section. The Readers Choice Awards publication was included in the Aug. 26 edition of the Bainbridge Review.
For more than 50 years the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District has provided recreational and cultural programs to Islanders of all ages. The Island’s park inventory includes 1,500 acres, more than 90 percent of which is protected open space.
The park district works in partnership with nonprofit agencies such as the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation to keep the parks running well.
The Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District offers its users a wide variety of places to recreate, get together with friends and have fun. From local heritage properties to past military sites to scenic treasures to neighborhood play areas, there are more than 1,600 acres of parks and 32 miles of trails just waiting to be discovered.
Last year, islanders voted to approve the purchase of the 23-acre Sakai property, a former strawberry farm that will eventually be developed into a central park for the island.
Fay Bainbridge Park is a 17-acre marine camping park with 1,420 feet of saltwater shoreline on the northeast corner of Bainbridge Island. The park offers sweeping views of Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains and features sandy beaches. On clear days, Mount Rainier and Mount Baker are visible from a sandy beach. The new and improved campground at Fay Bainbridge is open for the season, the campground has 15 tent sites. For picnicking, there are two shelters, both with water and electricity. There are also 10 to 12 unsheltered picnic tables. Both shelters are available by reservation by calling 206-842-2306, ext. 118.
Fay Bainbridge and nearby Fort Ward parks are both designations of the Washington Watertrails Association Cascadia Marine Trail, and camping is available at specified beach campsites. Fort Ward Park has a boat launch available.
Another great park on Bainbridge Island is Battle Point Park, 11299 Arrow Point Drive NE, in the central part of the island.
The park totals 90.3 acres, is a former naval radio station, and is largely open space with two ponds, jogging trail, two soccer fields, three softball fields, horse area, a picnic shelter, two tennis courts, play areas, two basketball courts, a large children’s play structure and garden plots. For more go to www.biparks.org/index.htm.
The Bloedel Reserve is the island’s most famous park, more accurately, a 150-acre public garden. Co-owner of the MacMillan Bloedel Timber Company, Prentice Bloedel, with his wife Virginia resided in what is now the Bloedel Reserve from 1951 until 1986.
The Bloedels spent many of their years on the property transforming it into a magical oasis that would become a internationally renowned public garden. Its 150 acres seamlessly blend natural woodlands and a variety of landscaped gardens, including a Japanese Garden, a Moss Garden, and Reflection Pool, all surrounding the Bloedel’s former estate home.