Frequently Asked Questions about Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve
WHAT IS EBEY'S LANDING NATIONAL HISTORICAL RESERVE?
Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve is a unique geographic area established more than 40 years ago to protect a rural community and its significant history. While there are federal, state, town and county lands within the Reserve, the majority (85%) is privately owned. Protection is accomplished through conservation easements, local land use regulation, and the cooperation of land owners.
WHAT IS A NATIONAL RESERVE?
National Reserves are areas containing nationally significant resources in which Federal, State and/or local agencies, along with the private sector, combine efforts to manage, protect, and interpret the valued resources. Collaboration is key.
WHAT IS THE TRUST BOARD?
The Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve coordinates management of the Reserve on behalf of four partners who have an interest in the Reserve: The National Park Service, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the town of Coupeville, and Island County. The Trust Board’s key responsibilities include coordinating the partnership, monitoring the NPS acquired scenic easements in the Reserve; providing outreach and education for the public, and advising the Reserve’s partners on matters affecting the Reserve.
WHAT IS AN EASEMENT?
Much of the Reserve’s landscape is protected with scenic easements, which are agreements that preserve the land’s scenic values. These agreements are recorded on the property deed and permenantly limits the use of the properties to farming, grazing or other similar conservation uses, rather than housing or industiral developments. Many key senic easements in the Reserve are agreements between the property owner and the National Park Service. The easements “run with the land” which means they are permanent, and transferred to subsequent owners if property is sold.
CAN I HAVE A WEDDING OR OTHER PRIVATE EVENT IN THE RESERVE?
Because there is more than one land owner in the Reserve, there is no single answer that applies to all locations. For example, the beach at Ebey's Landing and the bluff above it are a State park so that would require a permit through State Parks. Land further up the bluff trail is part of the Robert Y. Pratt Nature Preserve, which belongs to The Nature Conservancy so you would need to contact them for information. The farm fields in the Reserve are privately owned or leased and require permission from the individual owner. Areas owned by the National Park Service (for example, the Ferry House, Ebey House and NPS Sheep Barn), are preserved for public use so private events are not permitted. Please feel free to call the Trust Board if you need more information.
CAN I PLACE A MEMORIAL BENCH IN THE RESERVE?
Many people ask about placing benches in the Reserve to memorialize a loved one. While it is an honor that people are so connected to the Reserve, there are enough requests that memorials could impact the landscape we work to protect. For National Park lands, regulations prohibit the placement of personal memorials. Requests to place memorials on lands managed by Washington State Parks or The Nature Conservancy should be directed to those agencies. The non-profit Friends of Ebey’s can also offer ways to honor loved one’s connections to Ebey’s Reserve.
DOES MY FILM, EVENT OR ACTIVITY NEED A PERMIT?
The Reserve is a partnership with more than one land owner so there is no single answer that applies to all locations. Special uses on public lands, like commercial filming, plant collecting, or large gatherings, may be prohibited or require a permit. Contact the appropriate land manager or Trust Board Office (360. 678.6084) for guidance.
WHERE CAN I GET MY NATIONAL PARK PASSPORT STAMPED?
Trust Board Office (the Cottage at Sunnyside, 162 Cemetery Road), the Ebey House (open seasonally), Island County Historical Society and Museum, Coupeville Chamber of Commerce, Fort Casey State Park, and Fort Ebey State Park.
DOES THE RESERVE HAVE A JUNIOR RANGER PROGRAM?
YES! The Junior Ranger program is a free program for children age 7 to 14. Pick up an activity book and/or get “sworn in” at these locations: Trust Board Office (162 Cemetery Road), the Ebey House (open seasonally), Island County Historical Society and Museum, Coupeville Chamber of Commerce. Visit our Junior Ranger page to find out more!
The Reserve is a patchwork of different land owners and its opportunities are mostly self-guided. Rangers may be on duty at Washington State Parks, but not in most areas of the Reserve. The following tips will help you have a safe, enjoyable visit that respects resources.
Safety and Emergencies: If you have an emergency, call 911 for assistance and be prepared to describe your location. When exploring beaches, pay attention to rising tides and wind-driven waves that could affect beach access.
Parking: Parking throughout the Reserve is limited, especially at the trailheads and carpooling is recommended. There is no space to park or turn oversize vehicles at the trailheads. State Park areas require a Discover Pass. Vehicles obstructing roadways may be ticketed.
Hiking: Most trails in the Reserve are for pedestrian use - no bicycles, e-bikes, horses, or motorized vehicles of any kind are permitted. Stay on designated trails. This ensures that fragile areas, private property and farm fields are protected. The Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) has continuity breaks between Fort Ebey and Fort Casey State Parks. Consult maps or a State Park ranger for more information.
Please tread gently and stay on trails. Many trails receive high volume use. Avoid trampling sensative vegetation. Even sharp hiking staffs can cause damage, especially along erosion-prone bluffs. Leave plants, animals, driftwood and all other natural features undisturbed so that all can enjoy them, and habitat and landscape are not impaired. Leave it like you found it!
In all areas, dogs must be on-leash and under the control of the owner. This includes all trails and public beaches. There are fines for off-leash dogs. There is an off-leash dog area at Patmore County Park on Patmore Road.
Last updated: March 9, 2022