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Oak Harbor toured by feet

Naturalist Melissa Duffy instructs Meet Feet tour-takers on the natural wonders of Oak Harbor’s Smith Park. - Whidbey News-Times
Naturalist Melissa Duffy instructs Meet Feet tour-takers on the natural wonders of Oak Harbor’s Smith Park.
— image credit: Whidbey News-Times

The Whidbey hiking group Meet Feet took a walk-and-talk tour along the proposed Oak Harbor Heritage Trail on Saturday afternoon, Nov 8.

The group was accompanied by Melissa Duffy, a naturalist educator active in the Harbor Pride organization which works to preserve the area’s native oak trees.

“The Garry oaks are the only oak native to the Pacific Northwest,” Duffy told the group. ”Some of the trees along this route are close to 300 years old.” Many historians believe that it was these huge oak trees growing around a natural harbor that gave Oak Harbor its name.

The group also met with Scott Hubbard, lab coordinator at the Oak Harbor’s waste treatment facility, who spoke about stormwater management and other wastewater issues. One of the challenges in creating an urban trail is finding ways to incorporate water infiltration systems, greenbelts, existing trails and even public access over sewer lines.

On the way to Smith Park, included in the proposed trail route, the group paused to admire some of the stately heritage oaks in the surrounding neighborhood. Long term Meet Feet member Ann Campbell summed it up: “You know the great thing about walking is, you just see some things you will never see when you only drive through town to get to the store.”

If you’d like to find out more about efforts to preserve the oak trees and the Heritage Trail email peoplenplants@gmail.com.

For more information about Meet Feet Saturday afternoon walks email woods@whidbeywalks.com.

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