The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is cataloging sites of particular cultural and historical interest along 3,000 miles of waterfront.
The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is cataloging sites of particular cultural and historical interest along 3,000 miles of waterfront. It’s an excellent list of places to explore now that you can enjoy the out-of-doors.

The weather this weekend is going to be so nice I want to make out with it. But rather than trying to figure out how one would go about kissing the weather, exactly, maybe let’s instead do something nice down by the water.

You remember the water, right? After a year indoors, it may seem like a distant memory, but there was once a time when humans would gather on beaches, or boats, or piers. Dig deep into your psyche and conjure the hazy recollection of wearing a cute little swimsuit or paddling a canoe, hauling a fish up out of the water, or taking a comfy cruise around Puget Sound.

Now at last it’s time to go back to the water, just like at the end of The Little Mermaid when Prince Eric realizes that Ariel's sacrificed enough already and arranges for King Triton to give him a fishtail so he can join her in the ocean. And as it happens, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is just about to embark on a massive, 3,000-mile-long project to enhance the entire waterfront of Washington, from Canada down to Greys Harbor. They’ve already started gathering up some recommendations for enjoying Seattle’s coast, and they’re looking for your suggestions.

Congress created the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area in 2019 with the sort of highfalutin language about “celebrating, maintaining and sharing” culturally significant areas; but if you would rather dive into the ocean than dive into wonky government documents, all you really need to know about it is that it’s a colossal project to make the waterfront — every inch of three thousand miles over it in Washington — really really really nice.

The endeavor is being overseen by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, which generally keeps itself busy making sure pleasant old things stay pleasant — they help preserve the Stimson-Green Mansion here in Seattle, for example, and in 2019 they warded thousands of dollars in grants to the Masonic Temple in Ellensburg, the Fox Theater in Centralia, a schooler in Port Townsend, a farmhouse, an oyster building — you get the idea.

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Now they’re in the earliest of planning stages for this brand-new maritime heritage area. As part of that work, the organization is cataloging sites of particular cultural and historical interest along 3,000 miles of waterfront, including all of Seattle’s, which is fantastic for two reasons: First, it’s an excellent list of places to explore now that you can enjoy the out-of-doors; and second, because you can submit the places of interest to you.

For example! If you’re looking for something nice to do this weekend, check out the interactive map, which suggests a trip to the charming Center for Wooden Boats, the historic Virginia V, or the Klondike Gold Rush park.

But more importantly, the map is accepting suggestions. The WTHP is asking coastal communities — that’s us — to identify places that you value along the waterfront, from old boats to nice picnic areas to seafood markets. Did I add a pin for Howell Park, the gay nude beach? Of course I did; let’s see if it gets approved. See you at the beach!