Penrose Point State Park hosts ShellFest 2017

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Washington State Parks Foundation invite the public to help celebrate the state’s shellfish heritage at Penrose Point State Park in Pierce County.

ShellFest 2017 takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at Penrose Point State Park, 321 158th Ave. KPS, Lakebay.

Now in its sixth year, ShellFest showcases the cultural, economic, environmental and recreational importance of shellfish as part of the Washington Shellfish Initiative.

“Shellfish represent a vital resource for tribes and habitat health, and they provide a way to educate the next generation about the importance of clean water,” said Srey Ryser, ShellFest organizer for State Parks. “People who may not know anything about shellfish or may not have ever tasted them before come away from these events with a new-found respect—and possibly a newly discovered appetite—for shellfish.”

This year’s ShellFest at Penrose Point State Park will begin with a blessing by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, followed by exhibits, guided beach walks at low tide, a shellfish lunch and live music by the 133d Army National Guard Band and The Blue Grass Minstrels. This family-friendly event will also offer hands-on activities for children, intended to educate them about the importance of shellfish.

Taylor Shellfish Farms will provide a shellfish lunch from noon to 3:30 p.m. Lunch is free with a suggested donation of $7 per person or $20 per family to benefit the Washington State Parks Foundation.

Admission is free. A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to the event.

State Parks has been hosting ShellFest events at various shoreline parks in Western Washington for six years. Each year, the agency and the Foundation host two ShellFest events. This year, the second ShellFest will be June 24, at Camano Island State Park.

The April 30th ShellFest event coincides with the last day of clam and oyster season for the year at Penrose Point State Park. This will be a good clamming tide, with a low of -2.2 at 3:27 p.m. During this extreme low tide, much of the spit and point will be exposed. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff will be at ShellFest with crab and clam gauges to distribute to visitors.

Washington became the first state in the nation to establish a shellfish initiative to strengthen the health of shellfish resources and bolster their role in the state’s economy. The Washington Shellfish Initiative (WSI) was launched in 2011 under the leadership of former Governor Chris Gregoire.

In 2016, Gov. Jay Inslee launched Phase II of the initiative—a collaborative partnership with federal, tribal, industry and non-profit partners. Phase II aims to protect and enhance the unique shellfish resources that are instrumental in creating shellfish-farming jobs, cleaning Washington’s waters and continuing traditions of eating shellfish from our shores.

About Penrose Point State Park

Penrose Point State Park is a beautifully forested 165-acre marine and camping park on the shores of Puget Sound’s Key Peninsula. The park has more than 2 miles of saltwater shoreline on Mayo Cove and Carr Inlet and 2-1/2 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Boaters can moor overnight at the dock or tie up to one of the eight mooring buoys. Penrose Point’s beach offers swimming as well as opportunities for recreational shellfish harvesting. Impressive stands of old growth fir and cedar share space with ferns, rhododendrons, wildlife and birds.

About the Washington State Parks Foundation

The Washington State Parks Foundation mission is “to ensure a vibrant Washington State Parks system for generations to enjoy. We engage, expand, and sustain a broad base of supporters who give to, advocate for, and treasure our state parks.”

– WA State Parks Foundation

Photo by Morf Morford

Photo by Morf Morford