Nature abounds on this manmade island

Sunset

Starting this month, western Washingtonians have a happyalternative to the state's cold, rocky beaches, just a five-minuteferry ride away from Everett. Think Gilligan's Island, but with anexit.

Part of manmade Jetty Island's charm lies in what it doesn'thave. No phones. No cars or roads or parking lots. No shops. Noteven a soda machine, so pack a picnic. Nor does it have expansivespace: It's just 2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide.

But it does serve as a sanctuary for 45 species of birds and forhundreds of people per day. You can spot killdeer taking refuge inthe beach grass and ospreys nesting atop pilings (with their own"reality show"―check out the website listed above right).Guided treks, offered daily, include mudflat safaris, wildflowerwalks, lagoon walks, and bird walks. You might learn about diggerbees' egg-laying habits or robins' drinking habits (elderberriesget them drunk). "People want to hit the beach and play, but theycome away with something more," says chief naturalist Kraig Hansen.―Vanessa McGrady

INFO: Ferry rides are free (Wed-Sun Jul 6-Sep 4; depart from 10th St. at W. Marine ViewDr.; www.everettwa.org/parksor 425/257- 8304).

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