Redwood Island, nestled between three of the largest islands in the Whatcom Sound and a wildlife preserve, has recently undergone a rapid transformation that resulted in a scummy stopover for sailors becoming a home for upper middle class families. Attracted by the scenery, the unique and eponymous redwood forests along the island's coasts, and the relative closeness to amenities, an influx of new residents has let the population of the areas above the town's central core to swell over 7,000. The only way off the island, other than personal watercraft, is by one of the dozens of vessels that make up the legendary fleet of the Whatcom Department of Ferry Services (WFS).
The Redwood Island terminal was rebuilt, with many hardships, during the town's renaissance in the early 2000s along with the rest of the waterfront and a new marina. The terminal is well served by the main arterial of the island, Central Avenue, and all three of the island's bus routes, operated by the Whatcom Transit Authority (WTA).
The northern end of Redwood Island's central core features several civic buildings, including the local post office, fire station, police station, and public market, as well as a fishing pier and the dock for the tourist steamboat MV Salish Sailor that stops weekly on its way to and from various islands and the mainland port of Tahoma. The public market, which once served as the local town hall and courthouse, attracts vendors ranging from farmers living on the southeastern tip of the island, to fishermen operating out of the nearby marina, as well as imports from as far as the Baker Valley. This area of the town is served by WTA Route 946, which loops around the central core with a small spur line to the marina.
The southern end of the central core is home to three major landmarks: the Island's 154-foot-high (47m) limestone castle-like Water Tower and adjacent City Civic Center as well as Redwood Stadium, home of the humble Redwood Timbers Football Club.
The club has yet to escape the rough-and-tumble local leagues even after an injection of Middle Eastern oil money from a wealth sheikh who fell in love with the island on a vacation and promptly bought out the team and its crippling debts. The Timbers, named for the former logging industry that was more welcomed by long-time residents than the drunken sailors of the past and tourists in Hawaiian shirts of the present, are well-supported and boast an average attendance of over a thousand per match, nearly 15% of the island's residents.
The Redwood Marina is one of the newest and most sought-after of any marinas available in the Greater Whatcom region, despite being able to house only over two dozen permanent boats in its slips. A nearby boat launch at the end of Marina Way and ample trailer parking spaces provide residents with ways to wait out the long waiting list for the marina whilst still on the water.
A new staircase embedded into the faux-granite retaining wall provides access to both the marina front office and a bus stop for WTA Route 946 for residents living in the nearby Marina View housing area or attending services at the Redwood Religious Assembly.
A parting shot of the central core of Redwood Island, looking west along the only road connection to the housing areas above the retaining wall.
One such housing area is the aforementioned upper-middle class and upper class-oriented Marina View, paved with brick streets and lined with brick pedestrian paths that connect to a bus stop along Central Avenue, served by WTA Route 947 that runs every 15 minutes on Central Avenue to coincide with ferry arrivals/departures from/to Westgate Island and Newport on the mainland.
Almost all of the homes on Redwood Island are insulated from traffic noise along thoroughfares such as Evergreen Boulevard by sets of low walls or hedges, providing a sense of security from hostile animals such as the fear-inducing squirrel and raccoon.
The only secondary school that serves the island, the aptly-named Redwood Secondary School, is at the northern end of Evergreen Boulevard at a roundabout along the older northern brick seawall, yet to be replaced by the stone used in the newer retaining wall around the central core. The secondary school is notable for its one-of-a-kind class on marine biology that takes monthly scuba diving trips near the eastern coast of the island.
Central Avenue, despite being the only road linking the central core with the rest of the island, was only extended and widened to a roundabout at the edge of the island's designated urban growth area and instead shifts traffic to an older two-lane road that winds through the forests on the island's eastern shore instead of being a direct, limited-access connection to farmland in the southeast.
A final overview of the island from the south, followed by...
A mosaic, from untamed wilderness coast to bustling waterfront shopping district!