It seems like you can see forever from Devil's Head.
The tip of Pierce County’s Key Peninsula has sweeping views of Puget Sound, its wooded islands, its nearby snow-capped mountains.
It’s travel poster stuff. And now, it’s in public hands.
But don’t put on your hiking boots just yet; it will be some time before it’s publicly accessible. The undeveloped 94-acre swath at the toe of the Key Peninsula was acquired Tuesday by Pierce County with the help of a coalition of conservation partners, including the Cascade Land Conservancy.
“The purchase of the Devil’s Head property is welcome and long-sought news,” said Danna Webster, vice president of the Key Peninsula Business Association.
“This park may become the crowning glory for our Key Pen parklands,” she added.
Eventually, the property will include hiking trails, some picnic tables, beach access and a viewpoint with stunning vistas, but there are no firm plans for improvements, said Ryan Mello, Pierce County conservation director for the Cascade Land Conservancy.
It’s also destined to become an important link in both the planned Head-to-Toe trail stretching 20 miles along the Key Peninsula and the Cascadia Marine Trail, a water route used by kayakers, day sailors and other boaters from the Canadian border to Olympia, Mello said.
The $3.4 million land purchase closed Tuesday after protracted and delicate negotiations.
“It was a long slog through three years of twists and turns” that included final dealings with a landowner in bankruptcy, property in foreclosure and a lender who wanted the best price possible, Mello said.
He likened the tip of land to a mini-Point Defiance and said preserving it is important to Puget Sound as a whole and crucial to the salmon that come to forage and live within the Nisqually Reach and its shores.
Pierce County property owners and state taxpayers funded the purchase through the county’s Conservation Futures Program, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
The money did not come from general funds and can be used only for acquisition of public lands and environmental protection, said state and county officials.
Other parties involved included the Nisqually Tribe of Indians, the Greater Peninsula Conservancy, the Key Peninsula Parks District and the Washington Water Trails Association.