Whatcom Wildlife Area
The shores of Tennant Lake resound at different times
with the clatter of migratory birds, the whispers of
birdwatchers and the laughter of children discussing
the wonders of wetlands. This 624-acre site includes
a shallow lake surrounded by extensive wetlands, fields,
forest and riparian zone.
Mounted wildlife, displays and maps interpret the surrounding
flora, fauna and natural process at work at Tennant
Lake. Two “kid’s rooms” provide hands-on activities
for children of all ages. An on-site naturalist is available
to answer questions. The center is open year round,
but hours vary according to season. The Tennant Lake
Interpretive Center is operated under the joint management
of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
and the Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department.
The Whatcom Parks and Recreation Foundation and the
Friends of Tennant Lake provide program support. Year-round
programs are made possible through public and private
donations and fees generated by program participation.
Field trip opportunities and outreach programs are available.
Contact the Center (360-384-3064) or visit the Whatcom
Parks and Recreation Department website for complete
In the Interpretive Center mounted wildlife, displays
and maps interpret the surrounding flora, fauna and
natural processes at work at Tennant Lake. Interpretive
displays provide hands-on activities for children of
all ages. An on-site naturalist is available to answer
A 50-foot tower gives visitors an unobstructed view
of Tennant Lake and the surrounding wetlands. From the
tower Mt. Baker to the east creates a backdrop for nature
observation. A monitor at the base of the tower allows
those in wheelchairs to experience the sights from up
top. Pan, tilt, and zoom functions on the camera provide
the disabled visitor a range of viewing possibilities.
An elevated boardwalk provides visitors a unique perspective
of a spectacular wetland. The boardwalk meanders through
swamp and marsh habitats along the edge of the lake
providing views of birds, vegetation and aquatic animals.
The boardwalk is open from mid-January through early-October.
Adjacent to the Tennant Lake Interpretive Center is
the award winning Fragrance Garden. Visitors are encouraged
to touch, smell and enjoy the beauty of the over 200
plants. The raised beds are wheel chair accessible and
have a unique Braille system that provides plant identification
for the blind.
Boardwalk Loop Trail: Approximately
1-mile round trip, with beautiful views of Mt. Baker
and Tennant Lake. Watch for Beavers, Great Blue Herons,
and Frogs. The boardwalk loop trail is closed during
waterfowl hunting season (early October - end of January)
Hovander Homestead Trail: Approximately
½ mile one way, this trail leads over to Hovander
Homestead Park from the Tennant Lake Parking Lot.
Much of the trail borders a slough providing an opportunity
to observe Wood Ducks.
River Dike Access Trail: Approximately
½ miles one way, the River Dike Access hooks up with
the River Dike trail, a nice level walk surrounded
by deciduous trees and open fields; keep your eyes
open for woodpeckers.