Education meets recreation at Kilchis Point Reserve. Native plant gardens, a walking path, and abundant interpretive signs comprise a self-guided outdoor museum just a block from the south end of Bay City.
It’s obvious those who have contributed their time to developing, improving, and tending Kilchis Point Reserve have done so with pride and care. The parking lot could be pavement, or even gravel, yet is laid with cobblestone pavers, embellished with an ornamental circle. The cobblestones continue in a bricklike pattern with decorative edges for the entire walkway around the Trailhead Loop. The entrance sign could be housed in a simple wood frame, but is set in stone well-suited to the natural ambiance. And the Welcome sign encourages self-propelled activities of all types and even states “Let your dog explore.”
When planning a visit, be prepared for odeur de Tillamook (many dairy farms just south) and some road noise, at least at the entry seating area. Although picnic tables are available, Kilchis Point Reserve is best suited for walking, exploring, and learning.
A part of the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, the Kilchis Point Reserve websites describe additional trail and structure development planned for 2015. Well cared for paths, ongoing improvements, changing seasons, and a large dose of nature make this a place worth visiting more than once.
Picnic tables and benches arranged not far from the parking lot rest amongst a native plant garden. Plaques bearing plant labels sit adjacent to their associated flora. Even this close to the entrance, the croak of frogs and fuzzy, crawling caterpillars hint of the wildlife hidden farther into the Reserve.
Interpretive signs describing the region’s Native Americans, early settlers, and surrounding plant, animal, and bird life are spaced at intervals along the Trailhead Loop, which continues from the seating area and eventually circles back to the parking lot. The Kilchis Point Reserve map puts this loop at 1/3 of a mile.
A pair of benches, amongst trees and another circle of cobblestone pavers, allows resting after about 200 steps. At this point you can take a connecting path to tackle a longer 1/2 mile loop, complete the Trailhead Loop walking about twice as far as you have to this point (with no benches), or take the shortest route and return the way you came.