Weeks Wetland Preserve
Old fence lines dot the landscape of the preserve.

There is minimal parking along the shoulder and there is a makeshift lot (basically the end of the road). Or one can park in Lopez Village and walk the short distance to the trailhead.

The Weeks family first homesteaded on Lopez Island in the 1850s. Five generations farmed most of the land that is Lopez Village.

The 24-acre Weeks Wetland property is a unique saltwater wetland on Fisherman Bay. A rustic trail provides access to an observation deck overlooking the wetland. Visitors can see migratory birds and wetland plants, learn about life in the wetlands from interpretive signs and watch boats enter and exit Fisherman Bay.

Distance: Half-mile

Destination: Platform overlooking Fisherman Bay

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain: None

Getting there: From the ferry terminal on Lopez Island, proceed south on Ferry Road. At the “T” intersection, go right on Lopez North Road, then left on Fisherman Bay Road. Fisherman Bay Road enters Lopez Village. At the end of the tiny strip mall, turn right on Weeks Point Way and find the wetland trailhead on the left.

The Trek: After parking, find the large sign for Weeks Wetland Preserve at the trailhead. Proceed to the left of the sign and hit a trail of wood chips bordered by thickets of Nootka roses and blackberry brambles.

The trail bends right as it emerges from the thicket and reaches the first of several signs. The first sign explains the many birds that inhabit the area, in particular the violet-green swallows that are the most abundant and widespread swallows found in the San Juans.

Nootka rose thickets provide food and shelter for the savannah sparrow and song sparrow. While the savannah sparrow frequents the area, the song sparrow is a year-round resident.

Continuing on, the trail bends left and enters a small stand of trees. Once through the trees, one gets the first view of Fisherman Bay in the distance. Boats bob on the bay’s waters.

Venture through a wetland transition area that supports a variety of plants and animals. The trail turns from an upland covered with grass, shrubs and trees to a saltmarsh wetland.

From upland to saltmarsh, pass by edges — places where tall trees meet shrubs, where shrubs meet fields and fields meet saltwater.

As the trail meanders along, pass the next sign explaining why wetland environments are important for preventing floods and improving water quality. Next, learn about the many plant species, such as checkermallow, pickleweed and saltmarsh dodder.

Cross over a strategically placed footbridge and continue on a path of mowed grass. At the end of the path, step up on an octagonal wooden platform. Encounter several more signs here.

Learn why these areas have been so attractive to people through the ages.

The Lummi and other Coast Salish people inhabited the region for more than 5,000 years. They camped seasonally here in search of salmon.

Early white settlers often drained the wetlands in order to cultivate hay and pasture livestock.

In the late 1800s, they blocked the mouth of the estuary with an earth berm, creating more dry land for farming. The earth berm has slowly eroded, but remnants of the old fence lines are still visible.

After taking all the sights, sounds and information, trek back to the rig.

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