Tacoma DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve

The 3.5-acre property was acquired by PenMet Parks from the Tacoma DeMolay in 2010. The property has served as an organizational camp since 1959, and even some camp-related activity back to 1947. A sandspit extending northeast from the northwest corner of Fox Island is the easiest way to identify this site. There is road access and several small buildings on the property.

Approach: Sand/cobble beach

Location: Northwest corner of Fox Island

Hazards: None

Sites: 1 large grassy area for camping

Water: Not necessarily available. The park host is there in summer but if the park is closed no water will be available.

Sanitation: Port-a-potty by parking lot/maintenance shed

Overflow: None

Fires: None allowed

Fees: $8 per boat

Special Considerations: The use of the preserve is intended to allow low impact activity with special care given to protecting the sandspit vegetation. Off-leash dogs running on the sandspit and the sandspit vegetation (prohibited) is a serious concern expressed by the biologists consulted. PenMet will be observing the effects of usage and will adjust the rules and attendance limitations as may be necessary to continue protection of the property and adherence to good neighbor standards. Remember, the use of the nature preserve for the future is dependent on how the site holds up with use and how the rules are followed.

Natural History: Large veins of high quality clay deposits makes Fox Island one of the few places in the world where “claybabies” are found. Over time tidal waters swirl around the clay banks and create one-of-a-kind shapes that eventually pop off, float away, and scatter by winter storm wave action all around Fox Island. When dislodged from the clay source they become burnished by other beach rocks to become perfectly smooth on both sides. According to an ancient legend, an Indian maiden used to play there in the sand and shape the mud into imaginative forms. Each Fox Island claybaby is unique. For the more science minded, they are also known as “concretions” which are defined as “a rounded mass of mineral matter found in sedimentary rock”.

Reservations: For reservation information, contact PenMet Parks at 253-858-3400, then press option 6 from the menu.

Latitude: W 122° 40.003′
Longitude: N 47° 16.654′

Additional Resources: NOAA chart 18448, Guide Book PDF, PenMet Parks Info