Frye Cove

Frye Cove

Frye Cove

Frye Cove is nestled in Eld Inlet near Steamboat Island. The beach hosts a spectacular view of Mount Rainier (when the sky is clear) and 1400 feet of saltwater access. You can access the beach through Frye Cove County Park, located at 4000 NW 61st Ave., Olympia, WA.

According to the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are healthy populations of Manila and littleneck clams at the south end of the beach. Oysters have been planted at the north end of the beach. The 67-acre park includes over 2 miles of walking trails, a new playground, a shelter and plenty of room for picnics.

The beach at Frye Cove Park is open to the public for recreational shellfis harvesting (with a valid license) of clams and oysters from January 1 through May 15. Once you’ve got your shellfsh harvesting license, make sure to check for shellfish beach closures before you go ou to harvest. (See important links below.)

Thurston County acquired Frye Cove County Park in 1973. The park is named after George W. Frye who owned the property on the shore north of Flapjack Point. Over the years the shoreline in Frye Cove was modified by the addition o concrete and rock bulkheads. Bulkheads modify the nearshore habitat by restricting the natural erosive processes that contribute to beach formation. The upper shoreline or nearshore habitat is essential for spawning forage fish such as surf smel and sand lance, as well as juvenile salmon and other marine wildlife.

In 2008 and 2009, the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) completed two restoration projects to improve nearshore habitat along the beach. In 2008, in partnership with Myron Saikewicz and Irene Boldt, SPSSEG replaced a concrete bulkhead with a “soft” shoreline armoring alternative. In 2009, SPSSEG removed 1,000 cubic yards of rip rap bulkhead along 450’ of a small pocket estuary and replaced it with a more natural armoring of large woody debris (LWD). The goal of the project was to improve nearshore habitat for marine wildlife and juvenile salmon, including Chinook, chum, coho and coastal cutthroat. To learn more about this project and others like it visit: http://spsseg.org.

As you walk along the beach, you may see a great blue heron looking for a staghorn sculpin or a graceful crab to eat, or you may notice green sea lettuce floating in the water or on the beach On the shore and buried underneath the sand is a rich nursery of Pacifc oysters and various types of clams including: manila, littleneck and butter clams.

There are many more marine organisms that call Frye Cove home. The South Sound Estuary Association hosts “Beach Naturalists” at Frye Cove County Park in the summer. These trained volunteers are on hand various weekends in the summer during low tides to answer your questions about the beach and the marine critters that call Frey Cove home. You can fin out more information about the dates and times at http://sseacenter.wordpress.com/events/beach-naturalist/.

Frye Cove County Park is not the only hidden gem in Thurston County that provides trails and beach access. You can learn about other publicly accessible beaches by going to: http://www.streamteam.info/localstreams/.